BOSTON - JUNE 10: (L-R) Ray Allen #20, Paul Pierce #34 and Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celltics react against the Los Angeles Lakers during Game Four of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 10, 2010 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

One Win Away: Celtics Too Much For Kobe Bryant's Lakers In Game 5, Take 3-2 Series Lead

Kobe Bryant entered a different zone in the third quarter -- 19 points -- and ended up with 38, but the Celtics had four scorers in double-digits, led by Paul Pierce's 27, and they fought off a late Lakers charge for the Game 5 win, 91-86. Read more at Silver Screen And Roll and CelticsBlog.

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VIDEO: Garnett To Pierce To Rondo, To A 3-2 Series Lead

With Boston up 87-82, and with just 38.9 seconds left in the game, the Celtics were inbounding the ball from under their own basket, needing to put a stop to the Lakers' 7-0 run that had turned a comfortable 12-point lead into a two-possession contest. 

Game 5 hung in the balance -- Trey Kirby at Ball Don't Lie called it the Celtics' "most important inbounds play of the season" --  and while it worked out (rather amazingly), something tells me it's not quite how Doc drew it up in the huddle.

Pierce picked quite a moment to showcase his receiving skills, what with Bill Belichick and Wes Welker in attendance, plus a handful of other past and present Patriots.

"I was just showing off my Randy Moss and my Tom Brady in one play, that's all," Pierce told reporters. "Going up to catch it, then I went to my Brady mode when I was falling out of bounds to find Rondo for the receiving end."

Kevin Garnett probably shouldn't have made that pass. Derek Fisher certainly should have fouled Paul Pierce. Pierce probably shouldn't have made his pass, either. And there's certainly an argument to be made that Rajon Rondo shouldn't have attempted his layup, and instead just dribbled the ball back out to take time of the clock.

But it all worked out perfectly, and now the Celtics have yet another timeless play to join Havlicek and Bird on the highlight reels, and more importantly, a 3-2 series lead.


Celtics 92, Lakers 86: Boston One Win Away From 18th Championship

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Paul Pierce netted 27 points and the Boston Celtics overcame a big night by Kobe Bryant and held off the Los Angeles Lakers, 92-86, in the pivotal Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Kevin Garnett tallied 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Rajon Rondo contributed 18 points and eight assists for the Celtics, who hold a 3-2 lead in the best- of-seven series and are a victory away from their second title in three years. They polished off the Lakers in six games in 2008.

The Celtics can finish off the Lakers in Game 6 Tuesday in Los Angeles. If the Lakers win, a deciding Game 7 would be Thursday, again at Staples Center.

Bryant scored 28 of his 38 points in the second half for the Lakers, who had won their previous 14 playoff games when a series was tied. Bryant had little offensive support as the next best scorer was Pau Gasol with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Coming off their 96-89 Thursday win, the Celtics were up by 12 points with under three minutes left, but had to hold on to take the lead in the series.

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