In an up-and-down game which had the Lakers blow a 19-point first half lead, Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson made the necessary moves to propel his team into a season-saving win. Criticized after Game 4 for not playing starting point guard Derek Fisher and power forward Lamar Odom enough in the fourth quarter, Jackson waisted no time inserting Fisher and Odom into the lineup in Game 5 as they played the final 6-plus minutes of the fourth quarter. Odom played 41 minutes, scoring 20 points, making eight of ten shots, and grabbing eleven rebounds. Fisher played 35 minutes and scored 15 points, including making a couple critical free throws down the stretch. While Jackson made the necessary moves to win, the Celtics’ players seemed unable to get the job done.
Kevin Garnett had his worst game of the postseason as he picked up fouls early and was visibly tired throughout the game. The most telling possession for KG during the game occurred with 20 seconds remaining in the game. Down by 5, Eddie House fired up a desperate 3-pointer from the corner, but missed badly as the ball launched off the bottom of the rim and into the air. As Celtic and Laker players madly converged under the ball, Garnett stood at the foul line, watching the scrum and refusing to get involved in the most important rebound of the game. KG played only 33 minutes and during that time played pretty well, scoring 13 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, but he made only 1 of 4 free throws in the final minutes of the game, costing the Celtics valuable points. While Paul Pierce scrapped for a every loose ball and fought furiously against double and triple teams, KG sat on the sideline, reduced to a mere cheerleader. Pierce played the entire game and scored 38 monster points for Boston, including making 16 of 19 free throws. Continue reading “NBA Finals: Game 5”