NBA finals, Lakers Celtics Game 5, halftime, Celtics 45, Lakers 39

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Pierce_artest.jpgBoston’s defense showed up big time — holding the Lakers to 39 points on 33 percent shooting.

Meanwhile, the Celtics are shooting 66 percent and they are getting out in transition. Rajon Rondo has 10 points, Paul Pierce had 15 and the bench did well again.

Yet the Celtics lead only by 6, 45-39. That could bode well for a Lakers comeback, or it could just be a matter of time until the Celtics blow it open. But good luck predicting anything in this series.

The key reason the Lakers are hanging around are the 11 Celtics turnovers, a number of them on the break when they were trying to get easy baskets off the Lakers misses. There also were the 8 Lakers offensive rebounds leading to 10 second chance points. The Lakers are doing their job in the paint.

But they are not on defense, and the Celtics are just hitting shots and really feeling it. Twice the Lakers forced Paul Pierce to stop his shot, reload and take a hesitation jumper. Both times he nailed it. Pierce is 7 of 10 from the floor this half.

Rondo is 5 of 8, Kevin Garnett 3 of 3. The Celtics getting their shots.

Kobe has 10 points for the Lakers but needed 12 shots to get it. Gasol is 1 of 4 for 2 points. The Lakers need Gasol to open up things for Kobe, or even if the Celtics shooting comes back to earth it won’t matter. And the Celtics will head back to LA up 3-2.

Gordon Hayward goes behind Jordan Clarkson’s back with dribble

Gordon Hayward, Nick Young
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Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.

First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.

Three quick takeaways here:

1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.

2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.

3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.

(Hat tip reddit)

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.