Friday, June 13, 2008

One for the Pantheon

No question last night's Celtics comeback from down 24 points in the first quarter will go down in history as one of the greatest games in Boston sports lore. But how often do we get to know that as the game is happening?

I sat on the edge of my couch and didn't move for 3 hours. In the 2nd quarter, the C's showed signs of life - I was hopeful that they could cut the lead to less than 10 before the half, but a half court 3 at the buzzer left the Lakers up 18. Everyone knows the Celtics own the third quarter, so I stayed up. I had no idea it would be to witness history.

Watching the Celtics chip away was excruciating - with each block, each Posey 3 pointer, each time Van Gundy pointed out no one has come back from a deficit that big, you start to think, "Could this be it?" It was like watching Lester's no-hitter, or Ortiz come up in the bottom of the 9th against Rivera. There is a magic in the game as it is happening that just can't be scripted, except in basketball it's more drawn out over a couple of hours.

As much faith as anyone should have in the Celtics at this point, they are playing the Lakers - in the first half the Lakers were the same team that shut down San Antonio and was undefeated at home previously in the playoffs. Kobe didn't score a point in the first half, and his team was dominating. In the third quarter I got superstitious - didn't want to change my position on the couch, didn't answer the phone, didn't soothe my 1 year old after I woke him up with a "YES!!!" when the Celtics cut the lead to single digits just after 11pm EST. With all the chest thumping from the Lakers this series, there is no team that has played with more heart than the Celtics in that next hour. Ray Allen played 48 minutes and looked like he could do a triathalon after the game. All I could think after the game was, "I can't believe what I just witnessed."

Not sure where this will fall in history. The Celtics need to close out the series for it to mean anything, but I get to say this once again - what a time to be a Boston sports fan.

(Interesting side note - if the NBA had actually started the game at a decent time most of the eastern seaboard could have seen this game finish. When does Stern acknowledge a 9pm start time is ridiculous?)


Adawg said...


For one, fantastic first post on BigP. I love the video embed so that we can forever see the highlights of how this one went down. ;)

So I'll admit, I turned the game off just before halftime. The thought did occur to me that maybe, just maybe, the Celts might make it a game. But the running three pointer by Farmar (who?) at the end of the half sealed the deal for me. It put the Lakers up by 18 and at that point, I just didn't see it happening at that point.

What really annoyed me was the fact that ABC kept showing the Lakers players (Sasha Vujacic in particular) acting like they had just won the finals midway through the 2nd quarter. I'm thinking, "guys, I'd be excited too but be careful you're not too cocky. As a case in point, the C's nearly blew their huge lead in game 3."

So the rest is history. I missed a huge game but am reliving the fun this AM reading your post, reading Bill Simmons, watching Sports Center, etc. I WON'T make the same mistake on Sunday. Man, I can't believe we're so close. Not to jinx us but I really don't see the Lakers coming back from 3-1, especially after the proverbial "gut punch" game.

Nice work!

Aaron | @astrout

Adawg said...

BTW, that shot by Ray Allen late in the game where he did the up, down, under, switch hands was simply Jordan-esque. Quite unbelievable!

Oh, one other Q - funny how ESPN analysts forgot all about the fact that they predicted that LA would smush the Celts in this series. ;)

Tim Daloisio (@tdaloisio) said...

That's the beauty of sports. You never know when the Red Sox will come back from 3-0 in 2004, the C's will make a run like this, or Tiger will drop a 66 on Sunday for the win.

The other thing that this makes you appreciate is the sheer brilliance that was the career of Michael Jordan. He was greatness personified and every comparison of any current NBA player does MJ injustice. Like Tiger, you knew that you were going to witness greatness on a regular basis. Money in the bank!