Back to Boston

Even though LA won tonight, Boston's in pretty good shape. The no-call on Kobe's "strip" of Pierce, and KG's inability to hit critical free throws was all that allowed the Lakers to escape with a win. The level of negativity coming out of commentators Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson regarding the Lakers defense was remarkable for a national broadcast, but pretty much spot on. Play-by-play guy Mike Breen has been on the losing side of just about every argument in these Finals broadcasts; it slightly resembles one of those pro-wrestling handicap matches where a villain tag team puts a smackdown on the "face", or good guy. Both Jackson and Van Gundy don't mind telling anyone who will listen they know better because they've played and coached the game. At least they don't preface their comments with Jim Pete's signature line "what fans don't understand."

Front court remains the one concern for the Celtics, with Kendrick Perkins unable to go in Game Five. Garnett had another subpar Finals performance, his third minus game in the plus/minus category. He's playing decent to great defense, but with Pierce playing his butt off at both ends, wouldn't it be nice for KG to actually rise to the level folks want so desperately to place him also at the offensive end? Yeah, without Perkins there to do the physical work, he looked gassed by the fourth quarter, but I'm sure back in 1980 in Game Six of the NBA finals, when rookie Magic Johnson volunteered to play center in the Finals to replace an injured Kareem, that wasn't optimal either. But isnt that what superstars do, seize the moment, overcome the obstacles and define their greatness?

I think Boston's younger front court role players--Powe and possibly Davis--will fare better at home than on the road, if Perkins is still a no-show for Game Six. I expect Ticket will play much better, and he--as well as Boston--will celebrate their victory and finally get their hard earned, and richly deserved, championship ring.

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