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.