Possibly the last game prediction of the 07'-08' NBA season

The Lakers fantasy season hangs in the balance tonight as the Lakers play their last game at Staples as they host Game 5, and possibly their last game of the season. Expect the Lakers to come out gunning from start to finish. The Lakers may lose this series, but they will not drop the series in front of their home crowd. All of the critics who say that the Staples Center is full of rich millionaire fans, more concerned about their business deals with their clients than the actual game, are, well, right. That does not mean that the Staples Center will be at its usual noise level the whole game. Expect the Laker crowd to give the Lakers energy from start to finish. What makes the Staples Center the hardest to play in has nothing to do with the noise level, it has more to do with who is there than anything, just ask the Jazz.

If the Lakers are going to have a chance in this series beyond this game, they have to get consistent meaningful performance from LO and Gasol. If Fisher puts together a solid game defensively and hits some big shots when the Lakers need it, this one should be sent back to Boston. If the Lakers bench also puts in 30-40 points, and everyone else is clicking, it should be just what the Lakers need to gain back confidence. The Lakers did not watch the second half of Game 4 because Jackson thought it would be too painful for them to watch.

Pau Gasol cannot continue to get the lesser end of the battle against KG. Gasol did not take advantage of KG during his slump from virtually the second half of Game 1 until the 4th quarter of Game 4. Gasol not capitalizing on that was a huge setback for the Lakers. What is puzzling about Gasol is that he comes out aggressive and Laker fans sit back and go, "Ok, this game will be different than the last one." Then the second half comes and Gasol stays in the locker room. Game 5 could very well be decided by the play of Gasol, but Kobe says that the Lakers have not panicked yet and he says that the series is far from over. LO as well as Fisher will spur the Lakers momentum and it seems that when one of the Laker shooters hit a big 3 the basket gets a lot bigger for the rest of the team.

The Celtics will be able to win this game if they continue to prevent Kobe from dominating the game. We can expect the Big 3 to have a big impact on the game, but if one of the Celtics pulls a Leon Powe, it could mean a great summer for the Celtics and a really long one for the Lakers. The Celtics basically need to continue to do what they have been doing because it has obviously worked for the last 3 of 4 games. The Celtics do have one huge advantage on their side: history. As everyone knows, no team in the shot-clock era has ever come back from 3-1 in the NBA Finals. Since the 1985 change to the 2-3-2 format, no road team has won both of the last 2 games. The Lakers have an extremely steep mountain to climb if they are going to be hoisting the trophy in Game 7.

Only a season like this could happen to the team from Hollywood, but we have yet to see whether or not the Lakers save the day, or end this seemingly perfect script in a tragedy.

Prediction: Lakers -7 over Celtics

Prediction note: Celtics have covered the spread in every game this series so either the Lakers are due to cover one, or I'm wrong, again.

Picture source: ESPN.com


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