NBA finals Celtics Lakers Game 5: Blogbook will not be sitting next to Kobe on the ride home

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celticscelebrate.jpgA collection of thoughts on Lakers-Celtics Game 5:

  • Ron Artest and Derek Fisher were a combined 4-18.

  • Let’s just let that one sit for a minute.

  • And what’s even more stunning, Artest my have actually played worse than his shooting line indicates. At one point, he pulled off another rajoncrowd.jpgI made the comment during the game that Rondo in this game was like Marty McFly during “Johnny Be Good“. He’s trying just to bring the intensity but ends up looking a little foolish. Of particular note was the play where he attempted to go behind the back on a baseline dribble, only to find, well, the baseline. Many of his transition passes were a little too flashy and his teammates couldn’t get a handle on it because he was too many steps ahead of them. His seven turnovers were painful, but it was a much better result than the hesitant, invisible Rondo that’s appeared at times in this series.

  • Lamar Odom just… wasn’t.. there. You know? Another of those games, the kind he’s had for the majority of the series, and all this with Glen Davis checking him for a significant portion of the time. The Lakers so desperately need wing help, Jackson has turned to Luke Walton twice in this series, once to a fantastic result (Game 3), and one to a terrible turnover that benched him for the rest of the contest.

  • This thing is lightyears from being over. The Lakers, if they ever decide to pull their head out, can use their length and talent to execute their offense, their whole offense, which can overcome the Celtics’ phenomenal defense. But more importantly, they’ll have to get back to the defensive principles that got them to the Finals. And that means protecting the rim.

  • The Lakers have come back from adversity consistently this postseason, but haven’t faced an elimination game this year. It’s time to find out what kind of team they are.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

Minnesota Timberwolves Zach LaVine slam dunks the ball during the NBA all-star skills competition in Toronto on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Associated Press
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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: