It’s just one loss and the last time I checked, you get four of those before Jeff Probst comes in and does his “the tribe has spoken” routine. So despite being pummeled last night, Boston’s torch is still lit and they can still be the NBA’s Sole Survivor. Is that going to happen? Don’t know, but you know what they say about great moments? They are born from great opportunities and the Boston Celtics have in front of them about as great an opportunity as you will find in sport.
I can’t with a straight face sit here and offer that last night’s game wasn’t a big disappointment. And I’d be lying if I said it comported with my pre-series thesis. But it happened and nothing can now be done to change the fact that the Celtics blew an opportunity to put this series away and avoid Thursday’s death match.
Yeah, the Celts got blitzed. Hammered on the boards, beaten to eighty percent of the loose balls, unable to convert a half-dozen bunnies, and forcefully separated from their offense, the Celts just had one of those nights. And the Lakers, whose turn it was to play the desperate soul, did what they had to do, which was to fight their way out of the corner. In doing so, the Lakers alone played with the “urgency” that each winning team in this series has used to stave off a knockout. After all, if you look back at each game, it is pretty clear that each winner really was the team that had to have that individual game. In that respect, this series has really been about holding serve.
So it now comes down to game seven, where for the first time all series, both teams will be fighting for their lives. No more playing with the House’s money. Nope, this time, the two clubs are on even footing and there are no excuses for not using every arrow in the quiver.
Working against the Celts is the fact that Kendrick Perkins is highly unlikely to play. I’m Perkins biggest critic but even I see this as a negative. On top of that, Big Baby is now flailing and Rajon Rondo looks like his nerves are shot. On the flip side, the Lakers are due for some reversion as Kobe has shot particularly well in games five and six and Ron Artest owes the basketball gods an 0-13 after last night’s performance. Plus, Ray Allen probably has one more streak left in that hand.
All told, I expect the Celts to fight right up to the bell. After all, this group, with a healthy KG, has NEVER lost a game it needed. In 2008, they won two game sevens and while they haven’t been good as closing out series on the road, they have never HAD TO until tomorrow night. Well, things will be different on Thursday, and I don’t think it’s lost on anyone in that locker room, particularly the veterans, that this most likely will be their last shot at the prize. The opportunity before them: One game for the trophy, the parade and a place in history. Such opportunities spawn great moments.
Without much more to say, I leave you with Jack Buck and the greatest home run call in World Series history. Four simple words that perfectly sums it all up.
“See You Tomorrow Night”