1. Paul Pierce's hero complex was in full bloom at the end of the first half in Game 5. His self-confidence in big situations might be his greatest strength, but it's also something of a flaw when it manifests itself in petulance when he doesn't get the ball. Tonight, I have no doubt it's going prove to be a good thing for the Celtics. You look back on his career, back to The Truth and 'Toine years, and he's delivered in many more crucial moments and games than for which he is typically credited.
2. Rajon Rondo showed off a gear beyond his usual "turbo" in Game 5, and it wasn't a good thing. After his little scrap with Ron Artest, he was often ahead of the play and slightly out of control, and while Pierce's behavior at the end of the first half was inexcusable, his frustration was understandable. Rondo has to be more poised tonight, and it doesn't hurt to feed the hot hand.
3. Ray Allen hit eight 3-pointers in Game 2 -- which accounts for his entire total of makes in this series in 29 attempts from beyond the stripe. That has got to change tonight, right?
4. It will be fascinating to see if Pau Gasol tries to get physical against Kevin Garnett tonight, because Game 5 was a flashback to the days when KG owned the former Memphis forward, who in those days had a deserved rep as a softie.
5. If Nate Robinson at his cocky, never-seen-a-shot-he-couldn't-make best doesn't give you flashbacks to Vinny "The Microwave" Johnson, you must be younger than me.
6. Perk's done a fine job of resisting one of his favorite pastimes -- cussing at the zebras. Hopefully, his poise with the whistle blowers carries over to next season.
7. Gotta give Mike Adams credit. Pau Gasol looks exactly like a llama.
8. Whenever Ron Artest has the ball, his man should immediately double on Kobe Bryant. Shoot, Ron! Shoot! You're open! Don't listen to Phil! Queensbridge!
9. Rasheed Wallace has become one of my favorite Celtics to watch, and I do say that with a little bit of shame given that he made roughly $5.8 million this season to coast 3-point line to 3-point line, at least during the regular season. Now, when he tees up one of those 3's, how can you resist yelling, "Sheeeeed"?
10. I sincerely hope Doc Rivers isn't down to his final two games -- perhaps even final game -- of his Celtics coaching career. He's the Terry Francona of the NBA -- good strategist, brilliant people-person -- and he deserves his due for what's he's accomplished here, particularly this season.
11. I love how Doc is always on point when ESPN shows him talking to the team during timeouts. It's quite a contrast from Phil Jackson, whose Zen wisdom during the final moments of Game 5 did not involve advice or strategy, but snide remarks about the Celtics.
12. Tom Thibodeau is pretty damn good at his job, too. Here's hoping Bulls fans feel the same way next year.
13. Lamar Odom seems like a swell guy, but there can't be many players in the league who are more exasperating to coach. For a 6-foot-10-inch southpaw with a variety of offensive skills, he sure does know how to make himself invisible.
14. I'm not saying I think the Celtics will be playing 5 on 8 for a good part of the game tonight, but rumor has it the refs are Bennett Salvatore, Dyann Cannon, and Joe West.
15. Phil Jackson should use Shannon Brown more. He's given the Celtics problems in a similar way to how Tony Allen has pestered the Lakers. Of course, Phil is too busy thinking up his next passive-aggressive way to patronize Doris Burke.
16. Kobe Bryant's post-loss press conferences have become mesmerizing television. He's alternately snide, disinterested, insightful, and patronizing, and he does it all the while still utilizing his starter kit of Michael Jordan Facial Tics And Mannerisms his dad Jellybean got him as a kid.
17. I'd really love to see another of those press conferences tonight. Que pasa, Kobe?
18. As for tonight's Completely Random Basketball card:
Between the photo at the top and Mr. Russell here, I'd say we have our appropriate harbingers in place for tonight's requirements.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.