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The last game of the NBA betting campaign could be tonight in Tinseltown, as the Los Angeles Lakers try to save their season in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.
Boston Celtics (+6.5) @ Los Angeles Lakers
Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
9:00 ET, Staples Center
Boston Notes: If the Celtics are to close out the series tonight, they are once again going to need to put together the complete team effort. HC Doc Rivers really hasn't had any true "superstars" in this series, but at any time, he could call on any number of about ten players to hit big shots or make crucial plays for him. Defense for the C's was a real staple at home, and it was that unit that carried the club to back to back wins to turn a 2-1 series deficit into the 3-2 series lead that they currently hold. In Game 5, Boston pretty much allowed G Kobe Bryant to do whatever he wanted to do, but the rest of the men in purple and gold were totally shut down. The team only shot 39.7 percent from the field, which include Bryant shooting 13/27. F Kevin Garnett had his second very strong game out of his L/3, recording his first double-double in this series with 18 points and ten rebounds. F Paul Pierce nailed 12 shots, including a pair of triples, scoring 27 to lead the way. It was another questionable game for G Ray Allen, who went 0/4 from downtown, but he still scored 12 points to be a key contributor.
Los Angeles Notes: As stated before, Bryant scored his 38 points in Game 5, but the rest of the team was totally missing in action. We give C Andrew Bynum a bit of a free pass, as he only scored six points and had one rebound, because of his injured knee, which has already been drained twice of fluids in these playoffs. However, F Pau Gasol shouldn't be held to 12 points and 12 rebounds in the NBA Finals in 39 minutes worth of court time. The Spaniard knows that he should be putting in at least 20 on the average night to give Bryant a hand, because there really isn't anyone else on the squad that feels like they can be counted upon on a consistent basis to help out offensively. The Lakers also shot themselves in the foot from the charity stripe in Game 5, going just 17/26. They outscored the C's at the line by eight points, but did so on 13 more attempts. The Lakers only had three fast break points for the entire game, and they were outdone in the paint 46-32. For the third time in this series, they also lost the rebounding battle, though a -1 margin shouldn't be considered alarming.
Trends of Note: We've talked about this every step of the way, but the team winning the rebounding battle is still perfect both SU and ATS in this series at 5-0. If the Celtics do win tonight SU, they would become the first team in NBA history to beat HC Phil Jackson in a seven game series in which his team won the first game of the best of seven (47-0). They would also become the first team in the history of the game to lose Game 3 and fall behind 2-1 in the NBA Finals in the 2-3-2 format and win the championship (10-0). However, it is hard to ignore the fact that the Celtics are now 9-2 ATS in their 11 NBA Finals duels with the Lakers over the L/3 seasons, and even harder to overlook the 12-4-1 ATS they are in their L/17 meetings overall.
The Final Word: The series ends tonight. The Celtics are just playing better team ball right now, and what the Lakers have proven to themselves is that Bryant isn't like to win a game on his own with no help. Confidence cannot be riding high right now in Tinseltown, and unless Bryant proves us wrong, that he indeed can beat the Celtics all by his lonesome, we very much so expect to see the city of Boston celebrating its second championship in the L/3 years tonight over the Lakers.
Prediction: Boston 97 – Los Angeles 91