LOS ANGELES - Down three games to two 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 back home Tuesday night 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."
Sure, on paper. But two straight losses in Boston led to a 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? Throughout a trying season filled with injuries and big-game setbacks since a Christmas Day loss to Cleveland, the Lakers have always been able to rise when they absolutely needed to do it.
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. For all their struggles in Boston, the Lakers realize they only have to defend their home court to win their 16th title.
"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."