The Boston Celtics closed out the TD Garden in style Sunday night, but now have to win one on the road to finish the 2010 NBA Finals as champions. Boston gets its first chance to do that Tuesday night.
A balanced, physical effort carried the Celtics in Game 5 over the Los Angeles Lakers. And Comcast SportsNet's Gary Tanguay says Boston's veteran unit — with two chances if needed — should be able to replicate that success on hostile hardwood.
"The Celtics were a better team on the road than at home (this season)," Tanguay said. "The Celtics don't care where they play. These guys are unfazed. They could be playing on top of a mountain, it doesn't make a difference to them."
But Tanguay says the Celtics' two-game winning streak — the first time in the series a team has won back-to-back games — won't necessarily mean the visit to LA will be short.
“I don't believe the series has momentum," he said. "I believe each game has been an individual entity. I think it’s very hard when you have these two teams that are so evenly matched to gain any momentum."
To that end, Tanguay believes Boston will likely fall Tuesday before winning it all Thursday. A key to his prediction is hampered Lakers center Andrew Bynum, whose injured knee has flared up in recent contests.
"That has changed the whole dynamic of this series," he said. "(Bynum) felt pretty good in Games 1 and 2. In Game 2 he had 21 points. He’s a big guy, he takes up a lot of space, but he can’t move right now because his knee is in terrible shape. They’ve drained it twice but it hasn’t helped."
Tanguay also points to the Celtics' team-based offense as a crucial component to their success. He says he is unsure who will lead Boston's attack Tuesday night, but knows Kobe Bryant will spearhead the Lakers. Tanguay says the Celtics can live with Bryant posting big numbers — as he did in Game 5 — as long as LA's other players are kept relatively silent.
"Kobe is just so tough to stop, he is just an incredible scorer." Tanguay said. "The Lakers cannot have four or five guys in double figures. Then you have problems.”
This program aired on June 15, 2010.