Go hard or go home. I like that saying. When E-40 made that a hook (and song) on his 2009 hit “My Ghetto Report Card,” I adopted it as another euphemism for the hard work I like to tout myself as doing. (Listen to the song here.)
Right about now, the shrewd, if not profound, message of those simple words need to resonate through the Boston Celtics locker room. If they lose Game 5 to the Los Angeles Lakers, they lose the series. And vice versa.
An interesting stat that my colleague Bob Ryan dug up (where he gets these numbers, I’m dying to find out) illustrates my point further: 83 percent of Game 5 winners, when notched up 2-2, go on to win the series. That’s it people. Are you paying attention? Game 4 was do-or-die, and so is Game 5. If the Celtics lose, I’m chalking it up as a Lakers repeat and another notch on Kobe Bryant’s belt. Or for Bryant, the one that got away.
(BTW, ever wonder where “the one that got away” comes from? Do these things keep you up at night? Do you google this stuff as I do? The etymology is missing. But it’s defined here. Also, there’s a book, a movie, and two songs by that title listed on Wikipedia. Methinks that’s a bit skimpy.)
I was on KSCR Los Angeles this morning talking Celtics-Lakers, and I was asked my three keys for the Celtics to win Game 5. Because I’m not a very good speaker, and I’m almost terrible on my toes, I’d like to clean up my thoughts here:
- Paul Pierce — The Truth has to play well for four quarters. His appearing and disappearing act is as bad for the Celtics as Lamar Odom’s inconsistency is for the Lakers. A hot Pierce is a game-changer. That cannot be denied.
- Rajon Rondo — Every day at practice, this guy tries to act all nonchalant, like he knows what he needs to do. I’ll give him his due. He’s the all-star and I’m not. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t astound me that after every game he’s still clueless on some things. Let me make this clear for him: Be aggressive! That means drive to the hole. And when Kobe eventually lays off of Rondo so he can’t get a running start without barreling into traffic, take the jumpers that are so readily available. It’ll be as much a shock to Kobe as the airbag was to this guy. I’m tired of seeing him be afraid of taking those elbow shots. If he can get those going, he’ll be the most dynamic player on the floor — every night.
- The Celtics bench — Game 4 gave you Shrek and Donkey. But we already knew about them. And for what it’s worth, the Lakers did too. Now, we just need them to show up again and do exactly what they’ve been doing. The fact that the Celtics’ bench is outplaying the Lakers’ bench night in and night out is not surprising. And for the Celtics to have any hope, especially with the old legs on the team (I’m talking Kevin Garnett), Glen Davis, Nate Robinson, Tony Allen and Rasheed Wallace have to play quality minutes. It’s almost mandatory.