During the first half of Game Four of the NBA Finals, a mix of emotions ran through my head.
"Maybe Kevin Garnett is actually soft..."
"Doc Rivers isn't fit to coach AAU..."
"Can someone please guard fu**ing Lamar Odom? I thought Will Smith was starring in Hancock! He's not a superhero!!"
"Has Paul Pierce recently developed an allergy to the basketball?"
"How is Tim Donaghy swaying this game?"
I was literally ready to punch a hole in the TV. I actually thought that I, and not Edward Norton, was going to "hulk out" in rage after the Celts went down 20 after about a minute and a half, or so it felt.
But remembering the Lakers near comeback in Game Two, I had to keep watching.
At first, I just hoped Boston would make the game respectable. I couldn't stand to watch Lamar Odom act like fricking Magic Johnson for one second longer. Did anybody see him after a Kendrick Perkins foul in the third quarter? He was smirking like the Joker in Batman.
Hey Lamar...um...about that...
As the game wore on, the Celtics finally began to play a brand of basketball that had become familiar during the regular season: Play tough defense and get the ball to whoever is open. Not the Big Three. Whoever is open.
So James Posey, Eddie House, and other bench players started knocking down shots. And when the Boston reserves force opponents to guard them, you know what that means. The Big Three came roaring back in the second half, scoring 33 points, and Boston eventually came back, winning Game Three 97-91.
My thoughts from earlier in the game were drastically different from my thoughts during the fourth quarter. While reflecting on this momentous game, I thought:
"I guess Paul Pierce found his balls in the locker room at halftime..."
"So THAT'S why KG is good..."
"Is that Eddie House out there, or Ron Harper with hair?"
"Did my little sister really just scream in joy about a Ray Allen offensive rebound? Maybe I have taught her something..."
This series is far from over, but this was probably the biggest game yet, regardless of outcome. Had the Lakers held on, the pressure would have been on Boston to steal the final game at Staples or win out at home. However, now LA obviously can't lose again.
And winning twice in Boston will be very, very difficult.
As a Celtics guy, I'm obviously happy about the outcome, but I have to seriously give my condolences to Lakers fans. I can't imagine how pissed they are, and they deserve to be. I don't know where Phil Jackson was when all this was happening, and Kobe had his worst game of the series.
The championship is far from won. Boston must close out the series, and the Lakers are definitely a talented squad.
It's been a blast so far. Let the games continue.