(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES — In a situation like the one the Los Angeles Lakers are facing, a line from Metallica’s “No Leaf Clover” says it all.
“And it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel is just a freight train coming your way.”
Yes, barring the nastiest collapse in the history of sports, the Lakers are dead men walking after the Boston Celtics took a 3-1 series lead last night with a 97-91 win in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
The story of the game wasn’t the play of The Black Mamba or The Big Three, although Kobe was held to 19 points on 6-of-19 shooting. KG dropped another double-double with 17 points and 11 boards while Pierce and Allen scored 20 and 19 respectively.
It wasn’t the fact that the Lakers’ starters outscored Boston’s 76-62, nor that Boston’s bench scored twice as many points as LA’s.
You can even ignore the fact that James Posey’s 18 points were three better than the entire Los Angeles bench.
After all that, what can’t you ignore?
Twenty-four points in less than a half.
That’s the size of the deficit that Boston overcame starting in the third quarter. The Celtics trailed by 18 at the half and saw the hole they were in get as deep at 24 before rallying to pull off one of the greatest combacks in sports history.
Twenty-four points is the size of the lead that the Lakers hacked up.
Coughed up like a cat with a hairball.
Bryant said it best after the game, “We wet the bed.”
Black Mamba also went on to say he’d need “some wine, a few beers and about 20 shots” to get over the collapse.
Yeah, if my team played like that, I’d wanna be drunk, too.
In less than a half, the Lakers went from tying the series at two… to standing in front of the firing squad, waiting for the general to give the orders.
They fell apart. They were outgunned in the second half, especially in the third quarter where the C’s outscored LA 31-15.
Boston coach Doc Rivers had a great idea. He beat LA with speed, going to a 4-1 offense with Allen, Pierce, Posey and House all on the outside with KG plugging up the middle.
Everytime LA focused on The Big Ticket, Boston would kick it out to one of the shooters. When they left Garnett alone, he killed them.
Boston steamrolled LA in the second half because of the Lakers’ inability to do anything to stop Ray Allen. Sasha Vujacic couldn’t do anything to even slow the man down. Allen came off the pick and roll like Karl Malone in his prime and blew past the headband wearing European.
Now, LA finds itself in a corner. Down 3-1. No team has ever come back from 3-1 in the Finals.
Then again, no team had ever come back from down 24 in a Finals game.
Still, barring a collapse, the NBA Finals will not make it back to Boston. It’ll end Sunday night.