No Truth in Hollywood Endings

16 06 2008

The Lakers fell home in game 5, winning 103-98, and ensuring that there’s at least a game 6 – if not a 7.

After establishing a massive early lead, 39-22 after the first quarter, this game began to emit the unmistakable odor of deja vu. Boston came back, and hard. It looked like Paul Pierce was going to get his Hollywood ending, and then some.
Pierce was phenomenal. 38 points with 8 assists, ‘The Truth’ was doing everything Kobe Bryant was meant to be doing. Not that Kobe was bad… he just wasn’t the Kobe we’ve grown to know.
He wasn’t… well… Paul Pierce. Should the Celtics don the white uniforms and get it done, Paul Pierce is the likely candidate to win the Finals MVP… barring a phenomenal performance from Ray Allen. If it’s a Boston Title, then it will go to one of the Big Three. KG’s been largely ineffectual on offense since the first half of game 1. Ray Allen’s been consistent, but it’s been Paul Pierce who has brought some absolutely devastating game to the hardwood.

To the game – even up, it was difficult to get excited about having built such an unassailable lead so early. Because, post game 4’s debacle, we know that such leads aren’t ‘unassailable’. And as expected feared, Boston soon had LA under siege, hammering at LA’s offense, pounding on the Laker D. And LA, as they did in game 4, tightened up. The same sinking feeling simultaneously hit all LA fans, and it seemed that the Boston C-Train was inevitably drawing to it’s final station.
However even tho’ reeling from Boston body-blow by body-blow, LA saw off all Celtic forays, and managed to hold on.

But conversely, a win like this could actually be better for LA than a blowout. Winning a game like this, they have shown themselves that they CAN get it done in a tight, slugging-it-out encounter.
And if they can stay in games at the TD Banknorth Garden, it’s going to be just that: a game where those that best weather the blows from the opposition. Gasol will need to be bigger, tougher. Odom too. Whilst their statlines have looked reasonable, the stats don’t always tell the whole truth. What we see doesn’t lie, and at both ends of the court, both of these players have been – at times – MIA. Too much. Vujacic was more ‘device’ than ‘machine’ today (HT to Jake at the AOL Live-blog!), and if he gets that cold, he has to recognize it and stop hoisting brick after brick like he was building a BBQ.

Yet again, down by a heap, they never let their heads drop. The respect that was eroded by poor performances in the playoffs leading up to the Finals has certainly been reaffirmed… even multiplied.
The Celtics have had answers to every criticism that’s been leveled at them throughout the season, had a foil for almost every time the Lakers have surged with their highly-touted offense.
Tho’ they missed out closing out the Lake-show in game 5, they would have to more than like their chances back home in the TD Banknorth Garden against LA.
Perhaps during game 5 they relaxed a little at the end. A few key FTs missed… a few uncharacteristic errors in judgment, but understandably, there weren’t overly worried. The series heads back to Boston, and a chance to close out in front of the home crowd.

So why are the Lakers are down thus far?
Many have suggested it’s their weak defense, or the lack of a truly physical presence… and it’s definitely an arguable point given the way the Laker-bigs have performed during the Finals. But it’s not that their D is lacking, nor anything else that’s on a physical or skill level that has anything to do with their struggles in this series.
It’s all purely mental.
They didn’t look uncertain or timid against the Denver Nuggets – verily, they were assertive in a way that has left the Nuggets reeling amidst trade rumors and angst. They were fine against the very physical Utah Jazz… to the point of rendering Carlos Boozer largely ineffective. Even against the Spurs – against Tim Duncan – still the premier big man in the game, the Lakers got the job done.

No, the Lakers are young… and they have really struggled with the very concept of being on the biggest of stages, of being on the verge of a title. The very thing that got them past against the Spurs – their youth – is what’s stopping them against Boston. We’ve seen it at stages – the Lakers have the ability to more than take it to the Celtics… but Boston are simply more mature, more ‘ready’.
That said and done, that ‘youth’ is exactly why I’ll not count the Lakers out until it’s done ‘n’ dusted. There’s still the chance that they get game 6, and then… well… game 7 in a finals series is a throw of the dice, no matter in whose building it’s held.

Hell, I realise it’s getting more and more unlikely, but I can hope can’t I?




3 responses

16 06 2008

saw the last 8 minutes live here in the UK at 4:50am (my 1 year old has jetlag!!). Huuuuuge steal by Kobe on The Truth, massive, awesome, game winner. Cs down by 2, 40 seconds left…. massive play.

I predicted Cs in 6 way back at the start of this…. Cs get it done at home in Game 6

17 06 2008
Get Your Read On V |

[…] A clever title from a clever man. Take a look at the lack of Truth in this Hollywood ending. […]

18 06 2008

I honestly think those who blamed Garnett are Kidding themselves , sore shoulders from carrying half the team !
Pierce as always was exceptional ,Kobe a natural match winner , Celtics wanted to win when it was going their way but were happy to lose and take it to Boston to win in front of a home crowd imo!
Game 6 i think Boston will hammer it home and show the Lakers they never really had a chance and were being toyed with in game 5 🙂

(these 7 game series ,have they taken their toll )

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: