BOSTON - Kobe Bryant finally went off, scoring 38 points and doing his best job yet of leading the Los Angeles Lakers offense. But when the game was up for grabs, the rest of the Lakers weren't offering enough help and the Celtics moved one game away from their 18th NBA championship with a 92-86 victory.
Ever the cool pro, Bryant wasn't panicked about the game's results. He was clearly critical of a team defense that allowed Boston to convert 56 percent of its shots. That is something that cannot repeat itself back in Los Angeles for Game Six on Tuesday.
"I just thought defensively were weren't very good at all," said Bryant. "Last game it was the fourth quarter, this game it was the third quarter. We didn't get any stops. They got lay up after lay up after lay up. You can't survive a team that shots 56 percent. We're normally a great defensive team."
When asked what the Lakers need to do to come back from a 3-2 deficit in the series, Bryant didn't flinch. "Just man up and play. What the hell is the big deal? I don't see it as a big deal. If I have to say something to them, then we don't deserve to be champions. We're down 3 2, go home, win one game, go into the next one. Simple as that."