Thursday, June 12, 2008
FIRST NAIL IN THE COFFIN
All you can say is "wow." The Celtics were trailing by 21 points after the 1st quarter, by as many as 24 points, and by 20 points halfway through the 3rd. But from that point on, they outscored Los Angeles 47 to 21 and took game 3 97-91.
The series isn't over by any means, but no team has ever come from 3-1 behind in the Finals to win the series. But we here in Boston remember what happened in the 2004 ALCS. Anything can happen. But in order for such a catastrophe to unfold in 2008, the Lakers would need to win on Sunday, then win two games in Boston. Detroit was the only team besides the Celtics to win two games in Boston this season. So it's possible, but highly unlikely.
The Celtics and Lakers had two different games last night. The Lakers played out of their minds in the first half. They drained threes seemingly at will, and Lamar Odom started 7 for 7. The Celtics, on the other hand, only managed 14 points in the 1st quarter. Pierce's struggles continued, and the offense was as lost as they were in the 4th quarter of game 3.
What was scary about the 1st half was that Kobe hadn't yet gotten it going. The Lakers lead hovered around 20 points, but once Kobe started playing like the one-man-wrecking-crew/god ESPN declares him to be, it was going to be lights out for the C's.
But Kobe never reached top speed. He finished 6 of 19 for only 17 points. He was outscored by: Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Lamar Odom, and James Posey!!!
Meanwhile, Lamar Odom remembered that he's Lamar Odom. He was 1 for 4 in the 2nd half. The three pointers stopped falling for the Lakers. And on the other side of the ball, Paul Pierce and the rest of the PGA (Pierce, Garnett, Allen) Tour woke up. They got stops, forced bad shots, didn't screw around on offense and went on some big runs. To end the 3rd, the Celtics went on a 10-1 run, cutting LA's lead to 2 points. In the final 5 minutes of the 4th, the Celtics went on a 21-3 run.
Pierce recovered from a sluggish 1st half to finish with 20 points and 7 assists. Ray Allen had 19 points. He's been the most consistent player in the Finals, averaging 20 points per game. He also had 9 rebounds. KG recovered from a dreadful game 3 with a 7 for 14 shooting night and 16 points, to go along with his 11 rebounds.
James Posey came out of nowhere and put up 18 points. He hit four 3 pointers and was huge. Eduardo Casa a.k.a. Eddie House also came up big in support of the injured Rajon Rondo. Rondo only played 17 minutes, still nursing that ankle. House played 25 and had 11 points. Combined, the Celtics' bench had 35 points. The Lakers' bench had 15.
Game 5 awaits the Celtics and Lakers on Sunday. It will be a long, long two days in Boston. And if I have to hear anyone declaring their desire that the Celtics lose game 5 so they can win the title here in Boston, I'm going to dry heave.
AP Photo/Mark Avery
AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill