Friday, June 13, 2008

DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK

Quotable:"We just wet the bed. A nice big one, too. One of the ones you can't put a towel over. It was terrible." Kobe Bryant (sans Game 4 Lakers loss)


The Boston Celtics got banged around, outscored, and outrebounded but in the course of one quarter, the third quarter, they managed to bring an 18 point deficit within two points heading into the fourth quarter. This series the Celtics have dominated the third quarter making it a pivotal time in which to secure a win for 3 out of 4 games. Strategy? Not hardly.

The Lakers took an early lead, steadily keeping the Celtics at bay by as much as 24 points. With Lamar Odom and Paul Gasol playing off each other in a sequence of touch passes and pick and rolls combined with key plays by Kobe, Sasha Vuyacic, Vladimir Radmanovic and Derek Fisher, Lakers’ offense seemed unstoppable. That is until Paul Pierce launched a three with 6:56 left to go in the 3rd quarter. Watching what transpired from this point on was far from watching paint dry and more like a descent into every Lakers’ fan own personal brand of hell when talking about the rivalry between LA and Boston. Cringe! Another consecutive Boston win and on Lakers’ turf that is.

So where did the Lakers’ go wrong and when did the Celtics’ go right? Point blank when Boston’s status as number one defensive team in the league came rushing back to them. In a chain of events made up of drives to the hole by Ray Allen and off the bench 20 foot plus jumpers by Eddie House of all players, Boston put LA’s legendary triangular offense on LOCK, forcing turnovers and taking advantage of LA’s lack of interior defense. Some questionable calls by Phil Jackson such as benching Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom just when they got the hot hand only fueled the Lakers’ scoring drought. The buckets that previously rained in Southern California dried up as Kobe’s 8 assists for crucial shots by Derek Fisher during the first half just weren’t enough to keep the Celtics from gaining the momentum that the Lakers’ possessed throughout most of the game. Ray Allen was enigmatic and tireless, Paul Pierce caught a second wind that proved crucial to the Lakers’ demise.

The honorary Lakers’ fan in me is as stunned as any other Laker enthusiast. Not only did Boston manage to raise the stakes in the series and gain the competitive advantage but the son of guns overcame the largest half-time deficit in the NBA Finals history in the shot clock area at 18 points. Previous records had been set at 14 points by get this, Lakers’ opponents! If anyone should be calling foul on game rigging should be Jerry West. Take notes Tim Donaghy, no team down 3-1 in the Finals has ever come back to win the championship. With a 5 out of 6 win-loss record against the Lakers’ during the regular season, is it any wonder really that history was made Thursday night? Things don’t look pretty in the City of Angels as Game 5 takes place in the Garden in Boston Sunday. With the Celtics being one game away from their first championship in 21 years, the 0-6 road record epidemic, inconsistent scoring by Big Three members, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in addition to the perils of having a young bench seem almost irrelevant.

Well the bench and Big Three certainly showed up in Game 4. As part of a 21-3 run, Eddie House hit two shots from three point land followed by a 10-1 run highlighted by a dunk by P.J.Brown to close the third quarter. A jumper by Leon Powe tied the game for the first time since the first quarter at 73. Saying it was all downhill from there would be a firm grasp on the obvious.

“We sucked it up. We said we weren't going to back down. At the end of the third quarter I looked up at the scoreboard and told the fellas. We just have to go out there and compete and let the chips fall where they may.'' Paul Pierce said.
While the odds are certainly stacked against them, the Finals’ favorites find themselves in a precarious position to have their asses handed to them yet again. Though the same analysts and fair weather fans are already jumping ship calling for a Lakers’ concession … “It Ain’t Over ‘Til The Fat Lady Sings!”

Game 5 Sunday – Lakers at Boston @ 8:30PM EST


Related Links:

Lakers Have A Collapse For The Ages

Phil Jackson Master of Disaster?
Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals Coverage
Top 10 Best Moments in Celtics-Lakers Post Season History

2 comments:

AnthoNorm6 said...

How the Flakers just let the Celtics come back is the point that they do not have any defense at all..Defense wins championship and they just do not have none at all..Their frontline is just too soft with a capital "S"..Looks like Kobe might have to score 40-50 points in order for this to go to a game six back in Boston because right now they have no answer for Ray "Jesus Shuttlesworth" Allen..He has been consistent throughout the entire series....lamar Odom is being a boy in this series...What is Pau Gasol doing..The bench is horrible...Now the Celtics have their bench straight...Rondo is killing Derek Fisher in the series...Can we say 17th championship for the Boston Celtics..I bet that Red A. and Dennis Johnson are happy at how their team is performing (God rest their souls)...Kobe will still have the three rings that Shaq gave him..

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