June 15: Lakers 103, Celtics 98Posted by Inside Hoops
The AP reports: Kobe Bryant scored 25 points, including a decisive dunk in the final minute — and Lamar Odom added 20 as the Lakers, playing with pride on their star-studded stage, prevented the Celtics from winning a 17th title with a 103-98 win in Game 5 on Sunday night to close to 3-2 in this restored rivalry… No team has overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals to win a title… Pau Gasol had 19 points and 13 rebounds, Odom had 11 rebounds and four blocks and Derek Fisher added 15 points… Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 38 points, Kevin Garnett added 13 points and 14 rebounds, and Ray Allen had 16 points. But Boston’s Big Three couldn’t close their first chance at winning it all, and now will get two cracks at home to finish the job… After scoring 15 points in the first quarter, Bryant went cold from the floor and finished just 8-of-21. But he made a big steal, poking the ball away from Paul Pierce and streaking down to deliver a two-handed dunk with 37.4 seconds left.
Ticker reports: Los Angeles wouldn’t allow Boston to steal a win this time, despite some resistance from Paul Pierce, who poured in 38 points - including 12 in the fourth - to keep his team in the hunt. Bryant’s basket with 9:16 remaining in the fourth quarter gave the Lakers an 11-point lead before the Celtics followed with an 11-0 run over the next five minutes to make it 90-90 after Garnett’s jumper. The Celtics were able to stay within two points but failed to capitalize with the opportunity to tie it or go ahead in the waning minutes. Garnett missed a pair of free throws with 2:31 left followed by Pierce turning the ball over on Bryant’s pivotal play. Pierce had made it 97-95 with a pair of free throws and, following a Lakers’ miss, proceeded up court where he had the ball poked away from behind by Bryant, who streaked up in the other direction and received Odom’s pass for the uncontested finish and a four-point lead.