Rivers could be facing homecourt swan song

BOSTON (AP) — With New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick in the stands, Paul Pierce showed off some of his football skills in the final minute of Game 5 of the NBA finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Pierce ran a sideline pattern to catch Kevin Garnett's inbounds pass with 39 seconds left and Boston leading 87-82. He caught the ball high above his head, avoided going out of bounds and then threw it crosscourt to Rajon Rondo as he streaked for the basket.

Rondo made an over-the-head layup to help clinch the victory.

"I was just showing off my Randy Moss and my Tom Brady in one play, that's all," Pierce said. "Going up to catch it, then I went to my Brady mode when I was falling out of bounds to find Rondo for the receiving end."

Moss wasn't in the crowd, but receiver Wes Welker was, along with safety Pat Chung, kicker Stephen Gostkowski and former Patriots linebackers Tedy Bruschi Patriots and Larry Izzo.

"Paul looked like he was leaning out of bounds, so (I) tried to make a break for the play and he hit me in stride," Rondo said. "I thought I had an easy layup. They thought it was difficult, but I thought I had an easy look at the rim."


BYE-BYE, BOSTON: The Boston Celtics played their last home game of the season Sunday night in Game 5. It may be Doc Rivers' last home game as their coach.

Rivers, an offseason resident of Orlando, Fla., has expressed a desire to see his children play for their high school and college teams and hasn't said whether he'll return next season. But he does know the Celtics' season will end in Los Angeles in Game 6 on Tuesday night or in Game 7, if necessary, on Thursday night.

"Our guys haven't talked about that a lot," Rivers said before the start of Game 5 with the series tied 2-2. "I've heard it a lot. I think fans realize that we don't have Game 6 or 7 here, so this is our final home game. Our guys are really just focusing on the game tonight, and I like where our focus is, in this case, over the fans' focus."

Rivers' children all will be seniors next fall. Jeremiah will play basketball at Indiana, Callie will play volleyball at Florida and Austin will play basketball in high school.

"One thing you can't do is make a decision a week after a season" about his future, Rivers said. "Whether you win or lose, you can't. You just can't."

He said that after the Celtics team in the summer league finishes play, he'll meet with team president Danny Ainge.

"So far as work, I'm still here," Rivers said. "But the kids are always — that's the issue each year, do you want to see — I've got to see them play at some point."


BYNUM STARTS: Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum started Game 5 and had six points and one rebound in 10 minutes in the first quarter.

A right knee injury had limited him to just 12 minutes in the Boston Celtics' 96-89 win in Game 4 that tied the series at 2-2. Bynum had fluid drained from his right knee after Thursday night's game and had an MRI on Friday. He said Saturday that the swelling had not returned and that he definitely would play Sunday.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said there was no change in Bynum's condition since Sunday morning. He also said no consideration was given to sending Bynum to Los Angeles on Friday and having him miss Game 5 in hopes the extra rest would help him be ready for Game 6 and, if necessary, Game 7.


ROSTER CHANGE: Lakers forward Adam Morrison was active Sunday night for the first time in the NBA finals and third time in Los Angeles' 20 playoff games. He replaced center DJ Mbenga, who has played in just two of those 20 games.

Morrison has been a disappointment since being drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats in 2006 with the third pick out of Gonzaga. The Bobcats traded him to the Lakers on Feb. 7, 2009. This season, he played just 33 games with 82 points and 37 rebounds. His two playoff games came in the opening round against Oklahoma City in which he had nine points.

Mbenga, a five-year veteran, has appeared in just two playoff games this year. He had three points and three rebounds against Oklahoma City and two points and one rebound in the Western Conference finals against Phoenix.


WINNING PERFORMERS: The Golden State Warriors and Toronto's Chris Bosh have been honored by the Professional Basketball Writers Association for their cooperation with the media.

The Warriors staff, led by executive director of public relations Raymond Ridder, was chosen for the Brian McIntyre Media Relations award. The award, previously unnamed, was selected for the NBA's senior vice president of basketball communications. McIntyre has been with the league for more than 30 years.

Previous winners were the staffs of the Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors and Portland Trail Blazers.

This year's winners were picked by balloting among more than 150 PBWA members.