Friday, June 13, 2008

Manhood

"DO YOU BELIEVE?"

-Doc Rivers, Celtics coach to his players during the fourth quarter of game four of the 2008 Finals.

At the end of the first half, I certainly didn't.

The Celtics were playing ugly, and the Lakers were taking the game to them. I have to admit, I was convinced that the Lakers were walking away with this one - so much so that I went to bed at half-time.

Jokingly, I told my wife that I was going to miss the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history.

When a team comes back from 24 points down on the opponent's home court, that's not just a comeback - that's a neutering. Paul Pierce and friends effectively took the Lakers' collective manhood.

A lot of articles will make a big deal out of the first and second half scores, but realistically, the comeback started at the in the second quarter. The Lakers blew their load in the first 12 minutes, outscoring the C's 35-14. The problem for L.A. is that in the subsequent quarters Boston outscored Phil Jackson's team by 3, then 16, then 8. After spotting them 21 in the first, the Celtics grabbed the Lakers by the balls and squeezed to the tune of 37 points for which L.A. had no answer.

After the first two games, I figured there was a good chance the Celtics could take the series in six if they could steal one in LA-LA-Land. After the way the two games went, I'm wondering if Doc Rivers will be keeping Kobe's and Jackson's balls in a jar next to the trophy on his awards shelf after Sunday's game five.

One final note - everyone, stop comparing Kobe to Michael Jordan. In a series like this Jordan would have put the team on his back and done everything possible to ensure a Bulls win. He wouldn't have walked off the court with time left on the clock. More and more in this series the league MVP has looked more like the league's biggest chump.

For more on this game, check out The Coffin Corner's take.

Manhood, part II...


Josh Beckett is second on the team in wins, in spite of being incredibly mediocre on the mound this season. Daisuke Matsuzaka had been the Red Sox ace before going down with a shoulder issue. Beckett did not pick up the slack.

Jon Lester did. Lester has been the team's second best pitcher and he came through again in his latest start, going seven innings and giving up only two earned runs against an Orioles team that has given the Sox problems lately.

The Sox are 9-6 in Lester's starts (Lester is 5-3, including a no-decision in a game where he pitched 8 innings of shut-out ball, a game the Sox won). Only four times this season has the lefty given up more than three earned runs, and the last time that happened was in April.

Since April 23, the last time Lester gave up more than three earned in a game, Lester has averaged 6.1 innings per start and has lowered his ERA from 5.40 to 3.43. In six of the nine starts Lester has given up two runs or fewer, including twice shutting a team out. During that stretch Lester is 4-1 and the team is 6-3. In spite of an ERA over three, Lester has been the team's best starter for the last six weeks, and against Baltimore, he showed it again.

7 comments:

Kelly said...

I told him when he turned the game off that this would happen, but NOOOOO, the Celtics haven't come back from that sort of deficit all season, the game is over, blah blah blah.

Dude, sometimes you have to BELIEVE.

Kevin Smith said...

Two words dear -

Suck it.

Yes, people, that's my wife. See what I have to deal with.

Kelly said...

Pansy.

Kevin Smith said...

I really don't think my readers need to see us flirting online like this.

Suldog said...

Forgive him, Kelly. He's going to have to live with this the rest of his life. Every time this game comes up in conversation (and, in Boston, it will happen often) Kevin will have to go, "Er, um, I was, uh, asleep...?" and then everybody will laugh and laugh and laugh.

UBUNTU!

Kevin Smith said...

Thanks for having my back there Sul. I noticed that you nearly did the same - figured I would at least get cut some slack from you.

:)

soxfaninmiami said...

I turned the game off at halftime and started watching "Something About Mary" while following the game online. When the lead started to shrink I had a feeling I was missing something but I also knew that if I went back to the game the Celts would start going in the tank again. That makes sense right? I did what I had to do as dictated by the sports Gods...I kept watching the movie...it will forever be the Something About Mary game to me...but I have to say...even online it was pretty damn exciting to follow.