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Michael Taylor 16th Jun 2010 - 13:08

Expect Boston to be closer to the Lakers in the decider

The NBA Championship is decided on Thursday night and despite a complete whitewash by the Los Angeles Lakers in game six the decider could yet prove to be the dramatic ending everyone is hoping for.

For the seventeenth time in NBA history and the fourth time between the Boston Celtics and LA Lakers the championship series heads for a game seven and it's a series that deserves one.

It hasn't been a classic series in terms of class or real standout performers yet for some reason every game so far has been a real rollercoaster with the momentum shifting seemingly every day.

On Tuesday night though it was time for Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to grab the upper-hand and unless Doc Rivers can rally his depleted troops then it's hard to see the defending champions relinquishing their grip.

The game six dominance was hard to watch for all Celts and things were made even worse when center Kendrick Perkins was helped to the locker room just when Boston needed some meat on the defensive end.

Perkins won't return for game seven but Boston are hoping their ability to claim boards will after LA smashed them 52-39 in rebounds in the 89-67 romp.

Phil Jackson rightly commended his side on a fine defensive effort, in reality though the Celtics started slowly and never threatened to get back into it as they went into the half 20 points down.

Ray Allen top scored with 19 while Paul Pierce's 13 and Kevin Garnett's 12 hardly helped matters.

The biggest loser though was Rajon Rondo who started out at 1-8 from the field - it was hardly the type of performance that backs up his claims of being one of the elite point guards in basketball.

Heading into the decider you have to worry whether they can pull it back together in time, however I would suggest they can.

Firstly Phil Jackson's side wanted game six most.

Kobe is trying to cement his place amongst the greats of the game and his side didn't want to throw in the towel on talk of them creating a dynasty.

If they'd lost and gone out with a whimper the repercussions would have been huge when it comes to talk of great franchises in the past so everything they could possibly do they did - and it worked perfectly.

It worked perfectly though because Boston really took their eye off the ball after taking three of the last four including the last two in a tough-as-nails homestand.

You also have to look at the practicalities of an ageing Celtics side having to travel the length of America to play another game just two days after a nail-biter in the Garden.

The Lakers had to put up with the same, the only difference is that they're a younger team with fewer creaking joints barring Andrew Bynum and his troublesome knee.

KG, PP, Rondo and Ray know better than anybody that the traumatic game six now has to be put behind them and while from betting purposes it's hard to ignore that rout it could be foolish to write off their chances of bouncing back.

They had a little chance to rest up thanks to the game being over before it started, so look for them to come back as a whole new proposition and don't be surprised if they come out firing early.

Whether they can win at 5/2 on the money line/championship outright is one thing (LA are 10/31), however I will be backing them to cover the +7.0 on the spread at 10/11.

I'm also saying the 187.0 total points looks far too big with both sets of players sure to be nervous on the offensive end and bouts of fatigue likely to be a problem - so I'd definitely take the 10/11 under points.


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