Down 3-2 in the NBA Finals against an old foe that keeps finding new ways to beat them, the Los Angeles Lakers are going to need a big Hollywood ending to escape this jam with another championship.
That's exactly where they'll make their last stand against the Boston Celtics.
Game 6 is in Los Angeles tonight at Staples Center, where the Lakers are 9-1 in the postseason, with everybody from Kobe Bryant to the Lakers' bedraggled bench playing with much more passion and confidence.
"If you look at it, they've come home and carried the 3-2 lead back," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "It's basically home court, home court. Now we're going back to home court to win it. That's the way it's supposed to be, isn't it?"
Sure, on paper. But two straight losses in Boston led to a dire series deficit for the Lakers, who hadn't even trailed in any playoff series this season. The Celtics have won three of the last four games, and they're responsible for Los Angeles' only home loss of the playoffs.
So why didn't Jackson or Bryant seem particularly worried before they headed out on their final cross-country flight of the postseason?
Jackson even described the Lakers' locker room as "spirited" after losing Game 5 in their lowest-scoring performance of the postseason in the 92-86 loss.
"We have a challenge, obviously, down 3-2," said Bryant, who scored 38 points in Game 5 while his struggling teammates only managed 48. "We let a couple opportunities slip away, but it is what it is. Now you go home, you've got two games at home that you need to win, and you pull your boots up and get to work."
If Los Angeles survives, a champion will be crowned Thursday in Game 7.
"They're playing at home. Home is always where your heart is," Boston's Kevin Garnett said. "With the severity of the game, it's all-out on both ends for both teams. This will probably be the hardest game of the season, if not of the series, if not of everybody's career, this game coming up."
* Tom Izzo wouldn't even tell one of his young campers if he wants to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers or stay at Michigan State. Izzo was at his basketball camp in East Lansing, Mich., when a boy tried to get the scoop, inquiring about the coach's interest in jumping to the NBA.
"Bad question. Those guys up there want to know that." Izzo said, referring to reporters who had gathered. Later, Izzo declined comment to two reporters waiting outside his office.
* Denver Nuggets guard Coby Karl said he thinks his father, George, will be back on the bench for the start of next season after missing Denver's playoff run as he recovered from an intense 6-week regimen of chemotherapy to battle throat and neck cancer. Coby Karl said his 59-year-old father has lost a lot of weight and still struggles to eat, but has improved.