Dear Conspiracy Theorists,
The NBA was suffering. Even with LeBron James in the NBA Finals last year, ratings were low. Kobe Bryant, the face of the league, threatened with trade demands. After the Donaghy scandal surfaced, we realized that anything is possible—which is why it came as no surprise that the most storied rivalry in the NBA returns to the hardwood.
Of course, the league would do everything in its power to bring the biggest finals matchup in 20 years to fruition. Of course the league is going to give the Lakers a pass to the finals with blown calls in the fourth quarter of key games in both the Jazz and Spurs series. Of course the league is going to buy out the airline that held the Spurs hostage for 11 hours in New Orleans.
All this being said, it should come as no surprise what really happened when Paul Pierce went to the floor with a "knee injury." You heard it first here:
Boston Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte: "How's the knee, Paul?"
Pierce: "It's all good. I'm good, just tweaked it."
Lacerte: "Wince a little; stay on the floor."
Pierce: "I'm fine; just want back in the game."
Lacerte: "Trust me: We need the crowd back in this game; we need a story, something to inspire. Danny and Doc want the guys to carry you off the floor."
Pierce: "Alright. I feel ya."
—Curtain closes. End tongue-in-cheek satire.—
The rest, of course, is the first page in another chapter of this storied rivalry.
Pierce brought the crowd to life after returning to the game with a simple sleeve on his knee. He later hit two key three-pointers. Garnett played with fire and intensity and, for three quarters, could not be stopped. Kobe Bryant went cold in the fourth quarter taking shots forced by a stifling Boston defense.
Now, Boston seems poised to retain its home-court advantage and head to Los Angeles in an attempt to steal at least one game.
When it's all said and done, we may look back to Game One, when Paul Pierce inspired the Boston Celtics with a heroic comeback to lead his team to a victory. We may look back at the moments when Boston learned to guard Kobe.
Truth is, you can't script this. TNT thinks they know drama; tonight, the Celtics, the Lakers, and the NBA knew drama like we haven't seen in a long time.
To the NBA: Do whatever it takes to give us seven games! Whatever it takes!