No matter how tonight ends, it will be a Shudder Island, is-Leo-crazy-or-isn’t-he? type of shocking ending. The Celtics don’t lose Game 7′s in the NBA Finals. Phil Jackson doesn’t lose series when he wins the first game. Something’s gotta give.
I read the following line today on ESPN Los Angeles: “When it comes down to it, I have a tough time picturing Bryant losing a winner-take-all game. Not in his building, not in what can be called the most important game of his career.”
As much as it makes me want to puke into the nearest trash can, I kind of agreed with that statement. I mean, even if you’re the biggest Celtics fan in the world, it’s tough to picture Kobe losing a Game 7 in the NBA Finals. It really is. He salivates for situations like these. He lives for clutch moments. He’s Jack the Ripper in a basketball uniform.
But as hard as it is to picture Bryant losing a winner-take-all game, it’s just as hard for me to see the Celtics losing one. When push comes to shove and the going gets tough (whatever cliche you want to use), the Celtics out-heart their opponents. They come up big. They rise to the occasion. They make the small plays that translate to wins, then they make the big plays to push them over the top. There’s a reason the Celtics are undefeated in playoff series when KG is in the lineup: They are too mentally tough to be defeated. Ya know, kind of like Kobe.
So what happens? I have no idea. Nothing would shock me. Ray Allen could be the savior, Paul Pierce could be the hero, Rajon Rondo could play like a superstar, or they could all fall flat on their faces as Kobe steals a title from underneath their noses. Most of me expects to see a close game, an epic showdown, but a part of me thinks it might be a blowout. Even if it’s a blowout, I don’t know who will be doing the celebrating at the end of the night.
If the first six games have done nothing else, they’ve confused me. One night the Celtics bench is terrific and the Lakers bench should be in the D-League; the next Sasha Vujacic is draining threes and Glen Davis contributing 27 minutes of nothing. One night Kobe is a selfish, if extraordinary, gunner taking his team out of its offense; the next he’s in a perfect flow and playing a team game. One night the Celtics are the toughest team to ever play James Naismith’s sport; the next, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are too big and strong to contend with.
Get where I’m going with this? Don’t ask me what’s going to happen tonight. I have no idea. None.
One of the few things I know for sure is that I’ll be crying at the end of the night. Whether they’ll be tears of joy or pain, only the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers can decide.