|Rajon Rondo got some serious hang time as he went into the crowd to retrieve a loose ball. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)|
LOS ANGELES -- Guard Ray Allen didn't speak to the media after last night's 103-98 Lakers win over the Celtics at Staples Center in Game 5 of the NBA Finals because he had to attend to a family matter.
"Ray Allen was forced to leave Staples Center right at the conclusion of tonight's game due to a health issue with one of his children," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.
"We ask that you please respect Ray's privacy at this time, and we'll keep you up to date as best we can moving forward."
Allen, who had been playing well enough in the Finals that he was talked about as an MVP candidate along with Boston captain Paul Pierce, had 16 points last night in 39 minutes.
He had only two rebounds and two assists and fouled out with 16 seconds left.
Perkins sits out
Kendrick Perkins didn't have to answer whether he was playing last night. His wardrobe -- jeans, blazer, white-collared shirt, and black tie -- stated the obvious. Perkins, who has a strained left shoulder, wasn't suiting up.
"If somebody bumped me right now there is a lot of pain," said Perkins, who hurt the shoulder during the third quarter of Game 4.
"I knew I couldn't go tonight. I felt it [Saturday]."
Perkins, one of the toughest players on the Celtics, must have been hurting to not play. He admitted as much when asked if he would have played last night if it were Game 7 of the series.
"That's a good question. I couldn't tell you. I really wouldn't know," he said. "I can't go tonight and it's Game 5. It's like a Game 7 because we really want to end this."
Leon Powe started in place of Perkins, playing four minutes without scoring.
"The only thing that really changes is with Perk on the floor, it allows you to do certain things with Kevin [Garnett] as far as being a roamer [defensively]," said Rivers. "It basically takes him out of that role. So, that's a tough blow. We've had injuries all year at certain times and other guys have pitched in."
The left shoulder has been a reoccurring issue for Perkins. He missed three games in February when he sprained the shoulder. In 2006, Perkins dislocated the shoulder twice in four months, leading to arthroscopic surgery.
Perkins, who said he planned to have an MRI when the team returned to Boston, said the injury is showing signs of improvement.
"It's getting better by the day, but the thing with the shoulder is it takes time," said Perkins.
Powe, who was one of the stars of Game 2 with 21 points off the bench, said he found out he'd be starting yesterday morning at shootaround.
"If somebody goes down, it's our job to step up and pick that man up," said Powe.
Powe, who entered last night averaging 7.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in the Finals, said the primary difference between starting and coming off the bench is that when you enter the game off the pine, you have a chance to survey the game and get a feel for it before you step on the court."
Tickets on sale
The Celtics announced a limited number of tickets for Games 6 and 7 will go on sale today at 11 a.m. There is a two-ticket limit per customer and seats start at $30.
Fans can purchase the tickets by visiting celtics.com, calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX, or visiting the TD Banknorth Garden Box Office or Ticketmaster. Random number distribution will begin at approximately 10 a.m. at the Garden box office for fans choosing to purchase there.
It's go time
The Celtics, who were twice pushed to seven games, by the Hawks in the first round and the Cavaliers in the second, played their 25th postseason game last night. The most games any team had played to walk away with the Larry O'Brien Trophy prior to last night was 24. Both the 2002-03 Spurs and the 1987-88 Lakers took 24 games to win the title, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The NBA moved to a four-round playoff format in 1984 and first-round series were best-of-five affairs until 2003.
It would have been nice for the Celtics to close out the Finals last night as three-fifths of their starting lineup -- Perkins, point guard Rajon Rondo (bone bruise, left ankle), and Pierce (sprained right knee) -- is injured.
"I think at this point it's all mental, I mean, because of the physicality, you get used to that after a while playing every other day," Pierce said Saturday.
Say what you will about Sam Cassell and his role on the Celtics, but he is very appreciative to have the opportunity to win his third NBA championship. Cassell signed with the Celtics in March after negotiating a buyout with the Clippers. He has played in 21 of Boston's 25 playoff games. "Considering where I came from, it's amazing," said Cassell, who had 9 points last night. "My season was over in December when I was with the Clippers, no shot at the organization. It's real talk. But I'm fortunate enough that the Celtics wanted me to be a part of this." ..... The Celtics, who played their final road game of the playoffs, are 3-9 away from TD Banknorth Garden in the postseason. Since the NBA moved to a four-round playoff format, the fewest road wins of any NBA champion is three, according to Elias, done by the 1984 Celtics and '88 Lakers.
Christopher L. Gasper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Globe's Marc J. Spears also contributed to this report.