Rondo was spectacular and sloppy, sometimes simultaneously. He made a handful of head-scratching passes and finished the game with nearly as many turnovers (seven) as assists (eight). But he was everywhere defensively and had the play of the game, a leaping tip in over Lamar Odom and Kobe Bryant in the fourth quarter.
Allen still can't find his stroke, with the bulk of his points on Sunday coming via tip-ins and short range shots. Still, he hounded Bryant defensively and never stopped working, the latter of which directly contributed to two of his easy buckets.
Perk continues to struggle to find his groove in this series. He banged bodies effectively with Andrew Bynum and but looked tentative offensively and made a bone-headed play early when attempting a coast-to-coast drive only to (predictably) pick up a charge. Still, Perkins has kept a cool head despite the Lakers' frequent (and overt) attempts to draw a technical foul out of him.
Pierce was simply spectacular. Faced with countless one-on-one situations with Ron Artest, Pierce dominated nearly every one of them. His jumper was working early (4 of 7 in the first quarter) and he had Artest and the Lakers on their heels all night. Vintage Pierce.
Anyone talking about KG's health now? Garnett had his way with Gasol in the post and shut the prolific scoring Spaniard down defensively. Garnett used that long wingspan often, deflecting several passes and finishing with five steals.
There was no Shrek and Donkey appearance at the podium on Thursday as Glen Davis and Nate Robinson couldn't get much done offensively. Rasheed Wallace and Tony Allen provided solid defense, however, with Wallace also knocking down a big three-pointer early in the fourth quarter, pushing Boston's lead to nine.
Doc Rivers, Head Coach
Rivers just seemed to have a good feel for this one. He recognized Pierce's effectiveness early and fed him often. And when the bench struggled, Rivers didn't wait for them to pick it up, subbing his starters back in and playing everyone but Perkins at least 36 minutes.
Putting aside that Fisher's flopping is getting a bit absurd -- because it is -- his offense has also seemed to have gone south. Fish couldn't buy a bucket from the perimeter, finishing 1-5 from beyond the three-point line. He continues to effectively harass Allen (both picked up double techs and double fouls in Game 5); he needs to be a threat offensively.
Seems Kobe didn't listen to his own advice. Though he continued to be unstoppable offensively, for the second game in a row, Bryant was sloppy with the ball, committing four costly turnovers. He also wasn't looking to pass much, though that was a byproduct of some ghastly shooting by his teammates.
Bynum is playing on guts and Ace wraps out there. He was a force in the first quarter (six points) but faded down the stretch. Still, he gave the team 32 minutes, a surprising amount for a player in such obvious pain.
Scapegoat, anyone? Phil Jackson did his best to defend Artest after the game, but Ron-Ron was horrendous offensively -- he missed two free throws that could have made it a one-possession game with 43.3 seconds left -- and looked lost trying to defend Pierce.
Have to wonder if Garnett has gotten in Gasol's head. Again. Granted, Garnett made some tough jumpers but Gasol barely waved at them. Offensively, he had little lift near the rim and looked tired for the first time this series.
Lamar Odom racked up the quietest 8 points/8 rebounds in Finals history. Shannon Brown ceded his spot in the rotation to Sasha Vujacic (five points), but no L.A. sub was effective enough to give the Lakers a lift at any point in the game.
Phil Jackson, Head Coach
Here's my question: why won't Jackson put Odom in more pick-and-roll situations? There's no way any of Boston's bigs can stay with him when he turns the corner. Jackson also passed on Bryant's request to defend Pierce in the third quarter, electing to stick with Artest.
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