Paul Pierce kindly told a Lakers fan during Game 2 that the Celtics weren’t planning to come back to LA.
Phil Jackson said the Lakers would either like to make him a liar or prove his statement right by winning three straight games themselves. (LA Times)
“We’re going to have to make him a liar,” Jackson said, smiling.
Then again, Jackson was told, the Lakers could win all three games in Boston.
If that did happen, the Lakers, who are tied 1-1 in the best-of-seven series, would win the NBA championship and the Celtics indeed wouldn’t have to come back to Los Angeles for a Game 6.
“We could end it here,” Jackson said. “That’s right. He might be right with that.”
Some Celtics fans might get mad at Jackson for what he said, but what was he supposed to say? That the Lakers were going to lose three straight, no doubt about it? That they shouldn’t even play Games 3-5 because Pierce’s prediction will come true no matter what? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
As hopeful as Pierce seems to be that the Celtics can win three straight, Marc Spears cautions that the road team has swept the middle three games more often than the home team. Only two teams have done it at home, but three have on the road. (Yahoo!)
Three visiting teams – the 1990 Pistons, 1991 Chicago Bulls and 2001 Lakers – have swept the middle games, which just proves one thing: At this level of the playoffs, it’s hard for any team to beat the other three times in a row.
“It’s extremely difficult to do,” said former Pistons point guard Isiah Thomas, who was MVP of the 1990 Finals when Detroit won three straight games in Portland to close out the series.
“That’s why it’s such a rare feat. Mentally, you have to go in there with the attitude that you can crush your opponent. Our locker room was totally silent before we came out for Game 3. We then ran out with [Bill] Laimbeer first, myself second and Joe Dumars third. I never forget Laimbeer running full blast out of the locker room and running a cameraman over.
“We all got to half court and Laimbeer grabbed the ball and slammed it hard to the floor. The Blazers turned around and looked at us, and I thought, ‘We are going to kick your ass.’ We were the ‘Bad Boys.’ If you’re going to be in a city that long, you have to own a city, make it yours and take it from the home team.”
I can’t exactly see Pau Gasol doing what Laimbeer did. But I DO know exactly what the Celtics should do before tonight’s game to make sure they won’t lose: