Lakers up by 24 in the first half, 20 in the 3rd quarter, can't hold on to the victory. Can history repeat?
The Magic are down 2 games to 1 headed into game 4. They are hoping to make a comeback against the Lakers. The Celtics know a little something about the subject, so I thought this was a perfect time to dust off the throwback machine. Some games you put on "Save till I delete" on your DVR. Game 4 of last year's Finals was one of them.
Celtics lead the series 2 games to 1 and the teams are ready to tip off at the Forum. Below are my rolling thoughts, one year later.
- Back in the starting lineup after leaving game 3 with a sprained ankle is Rajon Rondo. He tells Michelle Tafoya that he's about 89.555%.
- Kobe looks pensive on the sideline. I like that word for him, "pensive." Just sounds right.
- First play of the game is a KG goaltend of a Lamar Odom shot. More from Lamar later, but man, how much do I miss watching KG play? Even when he made mistakes, it was usually because he was trying too hard. Can't wait to see him healthy again.
- Announcers point out that Ray Allen is the leading scorer for the Celtics in the series thus far.
- Kobe goes to the line and the crowd immediately starts chanting "MVP, MVP, MVP"
- Everything going the Lakers way - even when they make a turnover, they get the ball back.
- Two straight no-calls by the officials has Doc up and yelling and gets him a tech.
- Odom's dunk makes it 9-2 and the crowd is hopping.
- Rondo hits a jumper and everyone is stunned, ...including him. Minutes later he is wide open and looks like a quarterback checking down his options. He takes a hesitant jumper and predictably misses.
- Lakers go up 16-6 on an Odom layup and Doc calls timeout. Tafoya reports that he tells his team to relax and play more physical.
- KG has two fouls and has to come out of the game.
- PJ Brown is another guy I miss. Imagine that - a legit, tall, big man off the bench you can rely on.
- Celtics missing everything, head into a timeout down 24-7.
- Pierce creates 5 points with a layup and kick out to Ray, but nobody else can hit a thing.
- And there's one more guy I miss. James Posey passes up a 3 and blows the layup. Well, nobody said he was perfect.
- Jeff Van Gundy goes out on a limb and predicts that the Lakers will tie up the series (they are up 17 at the time). Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett, and I like their chance of making a comeback." Prophetic? says "give me a team of Ray Allen,
- Ariza hits a 3 with nobody within 20 feet of him. Kobe attracts a lot of attention, but that's just a missed assignment by someone.
- 1st quarter ends L.A. 35, Boston 14.
- "When are we seeing KG back in the game?" - Tafoya
- "Right now, we're down too much" - Doc
- Hey, there's Leon Powe - he was nice to have around for the playoffs, wasn't he?
- Lakers are up over 20 points and Kobe hasn't hit a field goal yet. Announcers praising his unselfishness and the character of this Lakers team.
- Cassell almost turns it over. Yeah, I don't miss him quite as much as the other guys.
- KG hits a couple of post shots to keep it... um, "close" - if you can call it that.
- Will Smith in the building and feeling pretty confident. Talks about his Philly roots (hating the Celtics) and his friendship with Kobe. I think I like him a little bit less now.
- Sasha hits a 3 to put them up 24. He's feeling pretty confident now too.
- KG hits a shot from the post and Ray hits an open 3. The lead is "down" to 19. Zen Boy feels nervous and calls a timeout. If only he knew.
- In the timeout Doc told his team to "get it to 10."
- Posey scores 5 straight to cut it down to 14.
- Pierce hits a shot to make it a 12 - 0 run before Fisher finally hits a shot (plus the foul).
- Gasol dunks to push the lead back to 17 but Posey answers back with a 3 at the perfect moment and KG blocks a shot on the other end.
- After trading fouls and buckets, the Lakers head into the locker room up 17 points.
- Van Gundy is talking about how poorly the Boston point guards are playing this series. On que Rondo makes a nice drive and dish for an assist.
- Kobe finally hits his first field goal.
- KG hits a couple of shots to cut it to 12.
- Perkins hurts his shoulder picking up a foul. Heads to the locker room in obvious pain.
- Pierce is now covering Kobe. D's him up tight but Kobe still hits a 3 over him. Pierce comes right back after him on the next possession forcing Kobe to pass to a teammate who immediately turns it over.
- Fisher hits a jumper to push the lead back to 20.
- Tough drive by Pierce and a 3 by House.
- Pierce blocks Kobe! Pass up to Ray Allen who's fouled on the layup. Here we go!
- Defense causes a turnover and Ray puts in a layup to cut it to 11.
- Tony Allen makes a rare appearance.
- Pierce puts in a circus shot for a 3 point play. He abuses Ariza, Gasol, and Kobe on the same play. The Celts have outscored the Lakers 14 - 3 in just under 4 minutes of action and the lead is down to 9.
- KG blocks a Gasol dunk attempt. De-fense!
- Announcers remind us that the Lakers came back from 24 to almost win game 2 but the Celtics were able to hold on. Somehow I forgot all about that. What a streaky series.
- House hits a 3. We have a 6 point game! Zen Boy looks nervous. Kobe looks pensive.
- Ray blows by Sasha (hmmm, I think we'll see that move again) and is fouled. (automatic 2)
- Defense forces Farmar into an airball 3 point attempt.
- PJ Brown ends the 3rd with a dunk to cut it to 2!
- Just noticed some guy in the front row wearing a green jersey. Turns out it is an old school Sonics Ray Allen jersey. Hat tip to that guy. Bonus points for wearing it where Stern could see it.
- Sasha misses a wide open 3 pointer. Soon after he takes out his frustration by scissor kicking Ray Allen on the baseline. Then he has the gaul to complain about the call!
- Powe back down Odom and banks in a shot (ram it down low Powe!) to tie the game!
- Kobe and Pierce trade baskets. Let the showdown begin.
- Celtics blow several opportunities to take the lead and Odom puts the Lakers back up 2.
- Pierce crumples to the floor (last year "oh no, not again") as Kobe gets a dunk on the other end. Is this it? Do the Celtics not have enough to finish off the comeback?
- Out of the time out, Posey hits a 3 pointer. Nobody's timing was better than that guy's.
- Odom is backing down Posey on the block but Pose pulls the chair out from under him and Odom throws a wild shot off the glass. C's rebound and head the other way.
- House hits a jumper and the Celtics take their first lead of the game.
- Ray Allen hits an up and under layup and a graphic on the screen says that the C's have outscored the Lakers 36 - 13 since the 5:50 mark of the 3rd quarter.
- Lakers are having trouble even getting shots off, never mind making them. Just a defensive clinic.
- KG drops in a shot in the paint to go up 5. Zen Boy calls a timeout.
- After a few free throws, Kobe beats Pierce and KG for a tough lay-in to cut it back to 2.
- Posey hits yet another killer 3 at just the right time.
- Fisher hits a deep shot, but his foot was on the line, just 2 points.
- More free throws, a Gasol dunk, Lakers cut the lead to 3.
- 21 seconds left in the game, Ray Allen has the ball at the top of the key. Sasha is in his best defensive stance. You know what comes next.
- Stutter step, hard dribble to the right, switches hands, lefty layup over Gasol. Up 5 with only 16 seconds left. This on is ours.
- Sasha shoots, no good. Lakers rebound, get it to Kobe, shoots off balance 3, no good. Loose ball, Celtics pick it up. House is fouled. Hits both shots. Game.
- Largest comeback victory in Finals history: Done.
Pierce talks after the game about the 2002 comeback and taking on the challenge of guarding Kobe.
What a great game. What a great feeling. Still feels so good a year later.
There's the blueprint Orlando. See if you can use some of that tonight and for the rest of the series.