Monday, June 16, 2008

The View from the Tank: Game 5 of the 2008 NBA Finals

First, congratulations to the Lakers. It's good not to have the opponent pop champagne in your building.

Second, any reasonable person not in the tank for the Lakers will admit to you that Kobe's "steal" was a foul. Did he even touch the ball? Mostly, he looks like an angered bear taking a swipe at the midsection of an unfortunate camper. Who knows, maybe Stern and the NBA will issue a press release two days from now saying "our bad." But, whatever, no big deal. The series returns to Boston.

Phil Jackson has lost his mind, I think. Chris Mimh played some serious minutes in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. What's up with that? Luke Walton again went out there armed with his unfailingly mentioned "high basketball IQ", fell down, had more fouls than points. Also, at points during this game, the Los Angeles Lakers looked -- from a safe distance -- like Vanderbilt, Upenn, or Princeton on the TV screen. I'll leave that at that.

Back to Boston we go, and the Cs should be able to put this one away in Game 6 -- and, not to boast, but I have successfully predicted the precise sequence of results since Game 2 -- but there are some potentially serious problems for the Celts. First, Kendrick Perkins is questionable, with the continuing shoulder problem. Second, the point guard position continues to be a problem, with Rajon Rondo seriously underperforming. Doc Rivers has to fill that position with a combination of Cassell and House -- neither of whom is spectacular. Cassell in particular is infuriating, as he seems to believe, in his old age, that anytime he is on the floor he is the Celtics' number one option.

I still don't understand why Vladimir Radmanovic is in the Lakers starting five. Can anyone explain that to me? Nor can I understand the hype about Sasha Vujacic, who mostly seems like a rabid spaz. He had his moment of glory in Game 3, but it seems like he may have shot his load in this series with that performance.

Let's take a moment to appreciate Paul Pierce. His methods may be less polished or slick than Kobe or Jordan, and his game has been described as slovenly by some, perhaps fairly, but you can't really say much bad about his performance last night (38 points), and during this Finals series. His drives to the basket look messy, and ball often bounces around haphazardly around the backboard and rim after he releases, but more often than not, the ball goes in as Pierce is lying in a heap next to a cameraman, with the referee signalling continuation on the foul. Perhaps its Pierce's own drunken monkey style.

KG will wake up in Boston, as will the rest of the Celtics. Game 6 will be close, but I'm predicting that the Celtics will win by four.

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