The Boston Celtics have three games to win one to claim their first championship in 22 years, but after Thursday night's 24-point-punch-to-the-gut-comeback win over the Los Angeles Lakers, the Larry O'Brien trophy will likely have a seat on the C's flight home to Boston.
Speaking of guts, if the Lakers couldn't stop the bleeding that proved fatal in Game 4, why would anyone think they could step up now and stop the Celtics? Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom were great in the first half last night, but once again at winning time in the fourth quarter they came up as soft as butter left on the kitchen table. I know Kobe Bryant has the guts but he's missing an ingredient or two in the comparison to Michael Jordan. We know it isn't talent or anything quanitfiable for that matter. But MJ had some intangible chilled concoction of leadership, will and poise flowing through his veins. The bigger the moment the more juice flowed. I kept waiting for Kobe to rise up and take over the end of Game 4. Again, it didn't happen. At worst, I figured he would parade to the line after forcing the action, but nope. In the end Kobe was simply shut down by an outstanding defensive effort he couldn't overcome.
Meanwhile the Celtics mounted up a cavalry of gutty performers to not only make the big comeback, but make it stick and close out the W. Paul Pierce gets credit for shaking off a bad start to get it going and more importantly, defend Kobe Bryant like his life was on the line. But don't forget Ray Allen who has taken his game to another level in the Finals. Then there is James Posey who plays such a critical utility role for the C's he should be allowed to stride along with the "Big Three" any day of the week. Posey is a modern day Cornbread Maxwell with the added bonus of knocking down huge 3-balls. Finally, Eddie House needs his propers as well. With Kendrick Perkins hurt and out, the C's had to go smal. After shaking off a case of the clanks early, House produced a next gen Jerry Sichting performance hitting open jumpers (and a big contested jumper) and providing plenty of fire along the way.
Yes, I need more coffee since I lost some sleep last night. No, I'm not complaining this morning. Game 4 was worth staying up for. Now if only my boy could've watched it, he would've loved it.