NBA FINALS (6:05 pm PT)
At TD Banknorth Garden, Boston
Celtics -4½ vs Lakers (191½)
Los Angeles blew another big lead, but this time won by five in Game 5 as Kobe Bryant’s steal and eventual dunk provided the breathing room to send the series back to Boston. No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in a best of 7 championship series (0-28), but the Lakers are capable of making history. The line opened Boston -3½, rose to 4 Monday night and climbed again to 4½ Tuesday morning.
The lines all series have been slanted toward the Lakers, who were a -161 favorite to win the series. Thus, those bettors liking Boston have taken advantage of the value and seen the Celtics covered all five games in the series. A key to Game 6 will be the availability of 6-foot-10, 255-pound Kendrick Perkins, who has been out since Game 3 with a high ankle sprain. Perkins is a "game-time decision." The earlier games at Boston went below the total and we see nothing different here with so much at stake. UNDER.