Scanning the blogs and beats following the Celtics' 97-91 comeback win over the Lakers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals ...
CelticsBlog: "The only thing I feared was the team running out of gas after fighting so hard to come back (like the Lakers did in game 2). he great thing is that everyone worked together in the clutch. Pierce carried them for long stretches (limiting Kobe and converting near impossible buckets). Garnett hit some clutch shots (once again shutting up his critics). Posey (who shall henceforth on this blog be referred to as "Big Game James") hit dagger three pointers. And then the final nail in the coffin was Ray Allen's stutter-step, blow-past-annoying-Sasha, reverse layup. Knockout. Game over. They never gave up on each other. They trusted each other and carried each other. They played with Ubuntu. Together they found the strength to do what seemed impossible. What a team."
T.J. Simers, LA Times: "Incomprehensible. Disgusting. Deflating. Ridiculous. Sickening. Impossible to fathom. A total meltdown. Appalling. Revolting. Depressing. Talk about a choke job. Historical and horrifying. Alarming. Shocking. The Lakers have the game's best coach, the game's best player and a 24-point lead almost halfway into a game they really must win, and they fall apart, disappear, take the rest of the night off. Unexplainable. Laughable, if everyone isn't crying, and Boston doesn't have to win but one more game to win a championship that was still there in the Lakers' clutches."
Mark Murphy, Boston Herald: "As pumped up as they were by the surge, the Celtics remained smart enough to stay on message with just one win to go for their 17th NBA title, and first since 1986. "Yeah, I can taste it," said Kevin Garnett, who finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds despite a foul-plagued start. "But we know that we still have to have the focus, and it’s no more than that. Like we did tonight, we have to understand that there are three quarters left to play. That’s what we have going for us." Bryant looked at it another way. "We just wet the bed — a nice big one, too," he said. "One of those you have to put a towel over."
Bob Ryan, Boston Globe: "Now I've seen it all. All season long this Celtics team has done improbable things — like nobody sweeps the Texas trip, you know? — but this was the absolute showstopper. Did I really just see the Boston Celtics come from 24 points down after submitting a horror show of a first half and come back to defeat the Lakers in their own building? I believe I did."
Lakers Blog: "In the end, the biggest problem for the Lakers is the Celtics. They're a better team. If both teams show up and play well, the Lakers are likely to come out on the wrong end of the stick. Boston is bigger, stronger, more disciplined, and far better defensively. For all the talk of this guy not playing well or that guy not showing up, the elephant in the room is the quality of the two teams. At this point, I'm ready to say that I, like a lot of other writers, underestimated Boston and how they match up to LA. Can the Lakers come back? It's possible, I guess, but I'd be pretty shocked if they managed to win three straight from a team that has proved themselves superior."
Hardwood Paroxysm: "The thing I've liked most about these Celtics through the playoffs, even when I was rooting against them was this. No matter what they're up against, no matter how much the media says they should panic, no matter what situation they're in, they don't lose focus. They don't panic. They just go back to work. Down 24 in the first half? No big deal. Let's cut it in half. Let's cut it to 10. Let's cut it single digits. Let's cut it to five. Let's win. Done. And a lot of that is Rivers' motivation, as loathe as I am to admit it. This team's resilience and poise is unmatched in the playoffs, along with their defensive intensity and commitment."
Bill Plaschke, LA Times: "They didn't choke. By definition, when one chokes, there is noise, movement, desperation. The Lakers didn't choke. They blew the NBA Finals without making a sound. They botched their entire season while standing still."
TalkHoops: "It’s cliché as hell but can it still qualify as a cliché if it is proven to be true time and time again? Great defense will always beat great offense. And it’s proven to be true damn near every year in the NBA. The Lakers were a team that averaged 110 points per game in the regular season after the Pau Gasol trade. The Celtics were the best defensive team in the entire league. Something had to give going into this series. Maybe calling the “great defense always beats great offense” idea a cliché is wrong and we should be calling it the old adage. Because the thing with adages is that they’re by definition the truth."
Steve Dilbeck, LA Daily News: "Boston leads the series 3-1 and is secure in knowing this: No team in NBA history has every blown a 3-1 Finals lead. Not in the previous 61 years. "It's not over," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "This series is not over." Only numerically. Otherwise, the Celtics won their title Thursday with their trip back from death. With a gutsy performance that will enter the ranks of some of their historic greats."
Red's Army: "Bad news: Kendrick Perkins left the game in the 3rd quarter with a shoulder injury. He said it’s just a strain and he expects to play on Sunday. This is the same shoulder he separated two years ago and needed surgery to repair."
Bluto: "Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! "
Boon: "Forget it, he's rolling."