I'm feeling, for some reason, great anticipation for tonight's Game 6 of the NBA Finals. There's been a lot of drama surrounding the Celtics in the past day and a half since Game 5 in L.A. Ray Allen had to leave Game 5 right away, and stay behind in L.A. until today due to an undisclosed medical issue with his youngest son. The Celtics' chartered plane out of L.A. was delayed out of LAX. Kendrick Perkins has apparently decided to play tonight. KG proclaimed that Game 6 would be like "coming into the Amazon, into the jungle . . . ." (Perhaps KG was identifying with those recently discovered uncontacted tribes deep within the Amazon?) And in an early morning massacre today, the Mets fired Willie Randolph and two other top coaches.
Okay, so that last part didn't have anything to do with Game 6. Some thoughts going into tonight's game:
Can Rajon Rondo make the Lakers pay for not playing defense on him? Kobe's been leaving Rondo to go rove around and play help-defense, and the Lakers are daring Rondo to try to score on them. Rondo is not coming through. His ankle injury from Game 3 may be partly to blame, but it also seems like Rondo's nerves and anxiety have gotten the better of him.
Will Kendrick Perkins be able to bring the aggressiveness and physicality that the Celtics so dearly missed in Game 5, despite his shoulder injury?
Will Leon Powe revert to his super-sub role now that the series is back at the (new) Garden? He's been pretty invisible since his Game 2 heroics.
Can Paul Pierce continue to amaze and confound the Lakers with his unorthodox, drunken master style of play? Will those shambolic drives to the hole continue to result in points? Will his sprained knee hold up?
Will Kevin Garnett fight back all the haters and doubters and his own internal dialogue and come through in the clutch? Will he finally explode for a huge game to take the series? Perhaps he comes out with his entire body painted red like those Amazonian tribesmen?
I am a bit worried for the Celtics -- it's never a good idea to give Kobe yet another opportunity to beat you, the Cs appear to be breaking down physically, and the quick turnaround will not help -- but I'm going to stick with my prediction: Celtics win in 6. Tonight will be a thriller.