It was a Hollywood ending, just not the one the Los Angeles Lakers had in mind.
The Boston Celtics rallied from a 24-point second-quarter deficit to defeat the Lakers 97-91 on Thursday, seizing a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with a chance to clinch their first crown since 1986 in Game 5 tomorrow.
“I’m happy for the win. The guys are excited. But the guys who have won titles, they said the closeout game is the hardest, so I don’t want to get overjoyed,” Celtics star Paul Pierce said. “Right now I’m waiting to exhale.”
NBA Most Valuable Player Kobe Bryant was ready to drink away his blues.
“Whine about it tonight — a lot of wine. A lot of beer. A couple shots, maybe like 20 of them,” Bryant said. “We let a huge opportunity slip away, so I’m upset, hurt, disappointed. It’s a huge loss, no doubt about it.”
Los Angeles native Pierce scored 20 points and shut down Bryant on defense to put the Celtics on the verge of a championship. No team has rallied to win the title after dropping three of the first NBA Finals four games.
“It could always happen,” Pierce said. “We’re not counting on that statistic.”
Lakers coach Phil Jackson is counting his club bouncing back, but even the zen-loving mentor who has guided nine NBA title winners was low key after the staggering loss of a game Los Angeles led 70-50 with 18 minutes to play.
“They are very depressed,” Jackson said. “With the kind of momentum they carried into the locker room at half-time and having a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter, it’s very difficult.”
Yet Jackson has faith the Lakers can avoid another collapse after the greatest NBA Finals choke since detailed records started being kept in 1971 and make history in a positive way.
“It’s not over. The series is not over,” Jackson said.
“These guys are resilient. They have disappointments. They come back. It’s about team effort. We have to come out and play that first half like we did before. Our back is against the wall, but it’s just a game at a time. That’s the one thing we have to understand. We have to keep forcing the action because anything can happen in these situations,” he said.
“Anything” did. The Celtics outscored Boston 21-3 to end the third quarter and ripped the Lakers down the stretch, Ray Allen breezing through the Laker defense for a clinching layup in the final seconds.
“We were really tentative at the end of the game with the ball in our hands,” Lakers center Pau Gasol said. “We just didn’t make things easy for ourselves.”
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for US$400 million, ending the billionaire’s legal fight with Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) and clearing the way to build a new arena for his NBA team down the street in Inglewood, California. Ballmer on Tuesday announced his cash purchase of the venerated arena. Ballmer, a former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the transaction through CAPSS LLC, a newly formed entity that would continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue. “This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said.
EXPENDITURE: Tokyo Games organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said that ‘additional expenses are going to be quite massive’ to reschedule the Olympics The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working with sports bodies to arrange a July-to-August window next year for the postponed Tokyo Olympics and hopes to confirm the schedule within a month, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday. John Coates, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics, told the newspaper that the Games would have to be held between the tennis Grand Slams of Wimbledon, scheduled to end in mid-July, and the US Open, which starts in late August. “We want to more or less finalize the dates in four weeks’ time,” the newspaper quoted Coates as saying. Coates, who is also
When two Spanish soccer players took to the controls of FIFA 20 after the COVID-19 pandemic saw their La Liga match canceled, a stadium-sized virtual audience watched online. The huge digital crowd last week is part of a spectacular boom for the digital gaming industry, as record numbers flock to online servers for distraction, entertainment and friendship with the “real world” seemingly falling apart. Real Betis Balompie striker Borja Iglesias kicked the winning goal using his own digital likeness in the 6-5 battle against Sevilla, which was broadcast on popular video game streaming platform Twitch. It took place at the same time the
BLAME GAME: The Turkish Boxing Federation president blamed the International Olympic Committee, which denied any link between the event and the infections Organizers of the suspended Europe Olympic boxing qualifiers in London on Thursday hit back at accusations of irresponsibility as the number of competitors and coaches testing positive for COVID-19 grew to six. The Croatian Boxing Federation said that three team members had contracted the disease, a day after Turkey reported positives for two boxers and a coach. The event at the Copper Box, featuring hundreds of male and female fighters seeking places at the now-postponed Tokyo Olympic Games, was halted on Monday last week after three days. The International Olympic Committee’s Boxing Task Force (BTF), which organized the event after last year’s suspension