What Went Right:
• For the first time all series, Odom and Gasol came through with big performances during the same game. Lamar finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds while Pau tallied 19 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. The pair’s clutch effort couldn’t have come at a better time with Kobe continuing to struggle from the field.
• Another Finals first: the purple and gold won the third quarter battle 24-18 and the second half overall by a 48-46 margin. However, the Lakers were up by as many as 19 points in the second quarter so Boston deserves credit for making another comeback to cut the deficit to just three at halftime.
• Once again, Boston’s bench outscored the Lakers’ reserves, 28-17, but unlike in Game 4, the Celtics were without a surprise breakout performer as was the case with James Posey in the previous game. This time around, it was the Lakers’ own Jordan Farmar who provided the game’s biggest bench spark, chipping in 11 timely points.
• L.A. did a great job of stopping the other members of the Celtics Big Three outside of Pierce, holding Garnett to just 13 points and Allen to 16. KG did grab a game-high 14 rebounds though.
• For the second game in a row, Rondo didn’t give the Celtics much of anything on either end of the floor, only playing 15 minutes as Doc Rivers opted to go long stretches without his starting guard.
What Went Wrong:
• Bryant led the Lakers in scoring with 25, but once again the Celtics defense did a great job of making it as difficult as possible on the MVP, as evidenced by his poor 8-21 shooting night.
• Radmanovic continued his non-factor status in the Finals, finishing with just seven points in 19 minutes of play. Moreover, Vladimir was the only Lakers starters to fail to score in double figures. Coach Jackson obviously took note, opting to play a smaller lineup at times with Farmar and Fisher in the back court and Kobe at the three spot.
• Pierce continued his dominating Finals run, scoring 38 more points while also managing to grab six rebounds to go along with a team-high eight assists.
• Turnovers were a factor for both teams in arguably the most physical game of the series, with L.A. finishing with 17 and Boston, 18.