Boston Celtics beat Los Angeles Lakers to take 3-2 series lead on NBA Finals
The Celtics thrashed the Lakers 96-89 in a nail-biting Game 5, which was completely turned around by the hosts in the fourth and the final quarter. Going into the last period, Boston was trailing by two points but refused to give up.
• Pierce scored 27 points on 12-for-21 shooting.
“He has great rhythm right now, and we need it,” said Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
• Garnett had 18 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and two blocked shots.
• Allen had 12 points but was 0-for-4 on three-pointers. Allen has not made a three-pointer since he knocked down a Finals-record eight in Game 2, going 0-for-16 in three games in Boston.
• Rondo had 18 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
“We got stops on defense,” Rivers said. “I kept telling them it was our defense. It’s the defense. It’s the stops. It’s the transition. … And then it was the unselfishness. At the start of the third quarter, Ray had a shot and passed it back to Paul for a shot. That’s letting the ball find the open guy.
“That’s who we are when we’re good. … It’s the way we should play.”
Pierce, Garnett and Rondo scored 18 of Boston’s first 20 points, but it was Pierce who really did damage in the first half. Just as he did in Game 4, Pierce looked for his offense early, and he found it with his soft, mid-range jump shot. He scored 15 points in the first half.
“Paul is a very deliberate ballplayer, and when he’s comfortable out there, he can be very difficult to guard,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “He’s got a step-back (shot), he’s got a nice shot that he takes off the dribble. His post-up game is good. There’s a lot of things that he has as weapons out there. He had Ron (Artest) guessing out there for much of the game.”