The title to this article should read, “The Celtics had a great run, but the better team won.”
All the hoopla can finally rest.
All the boasting, and egotistical statements and self-proclaimed awesomeness of the Celtics can be buried for now. History will repeat itself when these teams meet in the finals in 2009, only with a different outcome.
Final score: Lakers 92, Celtics 83.
This author already new the outcome over a month ago. You can find the prediction here.
The truth of the matter is that the Celtics, with the fourth longest winning streak in NBA history, fell for another of the Zen Master’s tricks.
Phil Jackson knew that the Celtics were a dominating force, and that with success, pride inevitably follows. The bigger the win streak, the harder they fall.
By now, you’re asking yourself, “What the heck is this guy talking about? Zen Master Trick? Riiiggghhhttt…!”
Let’s start from the beginning.
December 2nd, the Lakers lost a heartbreaker to the Indiana Pacers, who were subsequently manhandled by the Celtics just a night later. Coincidence?
A week later, the Lakers were thrown for a loop with a loss to the lowly Sacramento Kings. Fluke win for a young team?
On the 19th and 20th of December, the Lakers gave two buzzer-beaters away to the Heat and Magic, two eastern conference teams. Accident?
Not at all, my loyal readers. It was merely a ploy by the great Phil Jackson, holder of nine, soon to be 10, championship rings. When you are the best team in the league, it’s easy to win games. But being the best team in the league, and losing games to prove you are the best, that’s just genius.
You see, by losing games to lesser teams, the Lakers were planting seeds into the minds of every Celtic player, coach, administrator and fan everywhere: “We ARE better than the Lakers.”
Humble, almost standoff-ish about their win streak with the season’s biggest game coming up, Doc Rivers, the head coach even said, "No one even mentioned it. We just want to keep playing, and keep winning. And we want to try to keep getting better."
But if you paid close attention, you could almost see them licking their chops at their pending victory. The pride of success was finally settling in. Pride comes before destruction, according to ancient proverbs.
All tied up at 77 with five minutes to play, the Lakers began to unleash their potential. Pau Gasol stepped up huge with seven points in the last three minutes, including a demoralizing rejection of a Ray Allen three-pointer. How is that for toughness, Celtics fans?
The game ended with a 13-2 run by the Lakers, who showed the world that sometimes you can win by losing.
And you thought throwing games was only for draft status.