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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, June 16, 2008

'Til Tuesday

No, I didn't expect the Lakers to collapse like a house of cards. Too much on the line for them to give up and be known forever more as the Biggest Choke Artists West of the Yankees.

But I saw enough in the course of Game 5 (yes, I actually stayed awake!) to feel confident the series will end in the way we want it when Game Six comes around tomorrow. Or Game Seven on Thursday.

For starters, the Celtics will have Kevin Garnett back. KG played a solid game on the boards and contributed yet another double-double, but for all the fire in his eyes, something was missing (aside from two crucial free throws).

Maybe they will even have Kendrick Perkins back too -- although P.J. Brown is proving exactly why the Celtics lured him out of retirement. I remember Brown's presence on Pat Riley-coached teams of the '90s and I didn't like his solid, workmanlike, work the body presence then. But in Green...

Despite the win, the Lakers vulnerabilities were there for all to see: apres Kobe, le deluge. This is a team with even less playoff experience than the Celtics. Sure Bryant and Derek Fisher have multiple rings. But the bench is younger than Boston's -- which had what we now can appreciate as valuable experience battling Atlanta and Cleveland.

Even Bryant admitted the Lakers performance in a back-to-the-wall game won't get it done in Boston.

For the second straight game, the Celtics fell far behind in the first and battled back -- this time wiping out a 19-point lead. Bryant was in flames in the first, then virtually disappeared. After five games, it's clear it's more than simply a shooting slump -- the Celtics defensive schemes play a role.

With home cooking for the rest of the series, don't expect the Celtics to dig themselves into deep holes again. And expect the benefit of the doubt on some of those ticky-tack calls that went against Garnett.

Mrs. OL and I were wandering down Brookline Avenue yesterday after taking in a movie. I was struck by the police barriers, the covered windows, the police presence. We are phasing in a full scale championship protection mode for sometime this week. At Fenway Park, not the Garden.

I guess some old habits might have some merits -- event though this would be the first one I will enjoy.

Go Green.

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