On the eve of Game 5 of the NBA Finals, many people are still shocked by the Lakers’ play and the effort shown by the Celtics’ bench. The main concern facing the Lakers is the health of their center, Andrew Bynum. Bynum had been very effective for the Lakers, and his absence in the second half turned out to be devastating. There was no real defensive pressure in the paint, and the Celtics took advantage. Players like Glen Davis and Nate Robinson got to the paint at will and the Celtics eventually won the game, 96-89. The NBA Finals is obviously the headline of the NBA right now, however free agency and some coaching news is creating a lot of attention.
The links below feature many stories of the upcoming Game 5, the latest updates on any coaching vacancies and news on the top free agents.
Game 5 on Sunday night could be the game that will decide the outcome of the series. These types of big games bring out the best in players, and particularly the stars. Michael Jordan shined under the bright lights, and if Kobe wants to be considered better than Jordan, he must shine even brighter. [NBA.com]
Despite the loss in Game 4, the Lakers stayed poised and never started to panic; they never looked desperate and kept their championship swagger. Many fans are worried about their team, and they should be. The Lakers are tied up 2-2 with the Boston Celtics, but for some reason Kobe never seems to be bothered. [NBA.com]
The Lakers need a player that will get dirty and will never back down, and that player has to be Ron Artest. They brought in Artest to work his magic in the playoffs, and so far he has been absent in the Finals. If the Lakers want to win Game 5 and the entire series, Ron has to step up. [OC Register]
Andrew Bynum says he will play in Game 5 and is sure of it; but how effective can he be with that knee? He may be determined to play, but he may not be the same Bynum. Kobe played through injuries and in some games he wasn’t very efficient. Let’s hope the same will not occur with our Andrew Bynum. [OC Register]
Andrew Bynum had his knee drained again and Phil Jackson said he will play him. Bynum’s previous drainage had little effect on his play, so we just have to wait and see how ‘Drew will play in Game 5. [Pro Basketball Talk NBC]
The NBA Finals are taking the spotlight here in mid-June, but one story is creeping up. The Lakers so-called “rivals”, Cleveland Cavaliers, are looking to add Tom Izzo as their new head coach. He promises to make his decision as soon as possible, but his success in the NBA is not guaranteed. [NBA.com]
With free agency lurking ahead, the top players are still deciding where to go. The Lakers may not receive any of the first tier free agents, but there are many role players that will greatly benefit them. [NBA.com]
Derek Fisher is playing for his 5th NBA championship , but he is a player that will make a great head coach. He has all the qualities to lead a team while wearing a tie and a coat; he is poised, a great leader and knows the game inside and out. [Dime Magazine]