The big men were back for the Lakers, at a time when they were most needed.
Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol were aggressive and assertive, taking turns in relative effectiveness in the post Sunday in Game 5 against Boston.
Odom had 20 points on eight-for-10 shooting and added 11 rebounds. Gasol had 19 points on six-for-10 shooting and added 13 rebounds.
"They both did a good job on the boards and I thought Pau was aggressive, made some real good plays out there," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "Lamar was very resilient and showed that tonight."
It undoubtedly helped that physical Celtics center Kendrick Perkins sat out because of a strained left shoulder, though the Lakers will gladly accept the reemergence of their inside game.
"The last game that I played, I thought I didn't make enough plays down in the fourth quarter," Odom said. "Just wanted to stay focused [Sunday], make plays throughout the game. I'm really focusing on my jump shot and the way I'm shooting the ball. I feel really good about letting the ball go from anywhere on the court right now. Just taking it game by game."
Odom had only four points in the second half of Game 4.
Jordan Farmar had 11 points in 22 minutes, representing almost all the offense from the Lakers' reserves in Game 5.
The Lakers' backups were outscored by those of the Celtics, 28-17.
Farmar made five of nine shots, many of them running layups into the teeth of the Celtics' defense.
"We thought Jordan could attack with his speed and quickness, [and] gotten to the basket," Jackson said. "He was able to break their defense down a little bit. That was important to us."
At times, Farmar and Derek Fisher both played in the same backcourt because Sasha Vujacic struggled again (four points on two-for-10 shooting).
Before the game, Jackson underscored the need for more support from the reserves.
"Our bench didn't score in the second half of this game on Thursday night, and I really wanted them to get the confidence back because they've supported us all year, and that's where I need to see the confidence come back in their faces, their eyes," he said.
Chris Mihm played in Game 5, his first action in the playoffs. He checked into the game to start the second quarter, picked up two fouls in fewer than three minutes and then left. He did not score and did not play again. . . . Trevor Ariza and Ronny Turiaf each played one minute.