Watching last night's game was like listening to a variation of a familiar song that we've enjoyed all year. The ebb and flow of the game might as well have been the rhythm of the drums. In the beginning there was no momentum either way, just a back and forth building slowly to crescendo.
The Pierce injury and subsequent Perkins injury were a jarring shift of mood and cast a dark cloud over the game. However, the combination of Doc's emotional leadership, Ray Allen's timely shooting, and the home crowd carried the team through that storm.
Then Pierce emerged from the tunnel as if reborn out of Parquet history. You could almost hear a heroic melody pumping through the loud speakers of your heart. When Paul hit those two three pointers, you could almost picture Red dancing on a podium, conducing the orchestra with a rolled up program for a baton.
The musical score concluded with the defense playing the part of a string quartet. Kobe and the Pips had no chance in the 4th. Aside from Odom's 3 point play (which was a staccato beat away from being an offensive foul) nothing came easy for them.
The song has been the same throughout the playoffs. There were dramatic ups and dark downs but in the end they met the challenge head on and did what they had to in order to win the game.
We know there will be more challenges in the following games. Nobody's sure how recovered Paul and Perk will be after a few days of rest. We can be reasonably sure that Kobe won't have as "quiet" a game as he did in game 1 for the rest of the series. The pressure is still on the Celtics to take game 2 and hold home court advantage. Adjustments will be made, we'll see the best the Lakers can give.
But the song hasn't changed, and we can count on them playing it again on Sunday. This team plays with heart. This team plays with unity. This team wins, and it is sweet, sweet music to our ears.