Tonight at 6:00 pm Pacific Time in the friendly confines of the Staples Center, the Lakers will try to tie the NBA Finals at two and shift the momentum back in their favor.
Ultimately, tonight's game will decide the series for the Lakers. A loss would be crushing, as they would have to win the last three games, two of which are in Boston, in order to bring home the trophy.
While Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett had lousy shooting performances in Game Three, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom were worse. Game Three saw Kobe Bryant and Sasha Vujacic combine for 56 points, while the rest of their teammates only scored 31.
The Lakers took advantage of the Celtics' woeful shooting night in a must-win Game Three to set the stage for tonight.
The fact of the matter is that the Lakers have gone too far this year to let their season slip away. Having been without budding superstar Andrew Bynum for the last half of the season, the acquisition of Gasol, the MVP play of Kobe, and emergence of Lamar Odom has propelled the Lakers to where they are now.
Tonight, we will see what the Lakers are really made of.
Although it is not an elimination game, essentially, this game will decide the Lakers fate. Game Four presents a golden opportunity for the Lakers to renew their fading championship chances and turn the cards in their favor.
Tonight, I expect both teams to showcase their offensive firepower after a sluggish and sloppy Game Three. But can the Lakers handle the adversity from the potent Big Three? Will Gasol and Odom, in the biggest games of their careers, show up? Can Kobe repeat his Game Three performance? Or will the Big Three win a convincing Game Four on the Lakers home court and make a statement?
Tonight, these questions will be answered as basketball fans around the world gear up for a pivotal Game Four in the legendary rivalry that is the Lakers and Celtics.