Washington Post: Only a complete fool would keep giving Kobe Bryant chances. It’s like pitching to Babe Ruth with the bases loaded, like sticking your naked chin in the face of Joe Louis . . . or giving Tiger Woods one last chance to make a 12-foot putt on No. 18. You keep giving Kobe Bryant chances and he’s going to, if not beat you, make you sweat profusely. The longer he’s on the court, the longer he has a chance to beat you, even if you’re the Celtics and you’ve got the better team and a 3-2 lead headed back to Boston for Games 6.
You let Kobe extend a series the way he did here Sunday night, and he’ll open up a can of danger on you. No team has overcome a 3-1 series deficit to win the NBA Finals. But that’s only because the team with the lead has killed off the challenger as soon as humanly possible. Championship teams don’t let ordinary pros hang around, much less players as skilled as Kobe. Before you know it, you’re a sprained ankle and a dislocated shoulder away from Game 7 and more drama than you want to have hanging around, even if you think the ghost of Red Auerbach is sitting up there on the back rim waiting to assist his old team.
And that’s kind of where the Lakers and Celtics find themselves after the Lakers’ 103-98 victory in Game 5. Not only did Boston’s Kendrick Perkins not play Sunday, he likely will not play Tuesday in Game 6, either. If Perkins is on the bench, there goes one of Boston’s big advantages. Perkins, along with Kevin Garnett, P.J. Brown and Leon Powe, has helped make the Lakers’ big men look terribly soft and weak around the basket.