Lakers Swept Celtics Down by Three
The Agony of Defeat
By: Charles Giuliano - May 10, 2011
In the final seconds of game four last night between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat the point guard Rajon Rondo drove to the hoop.
What looked like an easy layup bounced off the rim.
The announcer said “I can’t believe he missed that shot.”
Rondo, who dislocated an elbow in the previous game, had no business being on the court. He was playing on pure guts and adrenaline. Taking one for the team. Like Hondo and Bird playing hurt to float the banners above the old Garden.
Red lighting all those cigars. Today, with no smoking, he would have to take it outside.
At the other end LeBron James put a film at 11 move on Kevin Garnett to tie the game.
There was time left for one more play, Celtic’s ball.
In the huddle Doc Rivers drew up a play. For Paul Pierce. Who else would you give the ball to in a decisive play with not just the game but an era on the line?
In agonizing slow mo, as the late great Johnny Most would say, Pierce fiddled and diddled.
At home the fans bit their tongues, prayed to the Leprechauns, and wondered when oh when oh when Pierce would make a move as the seconds ticked away.
With time expiring Pierce heaved up a Hail Mary from downtown.
Overtime wasn’t sudden death it was just death death.
Our senior citizens, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, plus the banged up kid, Rondo were spent. Out of gas.
As the Globe put it “King James scored 35 last night. Running mates Dwyane Wade (28) and Chris Bosh (20) gave him plenty of help. That’s 83 points for the Miami trio. Meanwhile, Kevin Garnett shot 1 for 10 and scored 7 points.”
Now it goes back to Miami for the ritual kill. The stake in the heart. An end to all the voodoo hoodoo and fabulous run of the past few years.
It will be a different team for sure next year. Doc, who wavered about coaching this year, will surely be gone. Danny Ainge will likely try to get something of value for some or all of the Big Three.
The fans have lost confidence after that head scratching trade for Shaq hugely came up empty. Boston loved the big guy but he was hobbled and came up empty.
Think about that missed Rondo layup.
Nobody is blaming him. This was no Bill Buckner easy grounder through the legs.
But just one friggin hoop between evening the series and traveling to Miami with impossible odds.
Will that final game be an embarrassing blowout like the one that swept the Lakers?
Dumping them off into the dust bin of sports history.
Is there some satisfaction seeing the smirk wiped off Kobe Bryant’s face? And sending Phil Jackson, the winningest coach in the game, topping even our Red, packing.
What a difference a year makes.
The Celtics had the answers for LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
He never delivered and broke the heart of Cleveland by departing for Miami. There to be the linchpin of a young, not to be denied, dream team.
If you build it they will come.
Last night in an epic battle which will be remembered for generations youth was not to be denied. The inevitable happened in one of the most familiar and compelling plot lines in all of sports. The king is dead long live the king.
The era of the Lakers and Celtics has passed.
It is up to the Heat now to run the table and make their bones. To establish the next dynasty.
If only Rondo had made that layup.
Like the last at bat of the Splendid Splinter cracking a homer at Fenway.
That final victory trot around the bags. Into the dugout then that oh so rare final tip of the hat to the fans.
Since then Ted lost his head.
But that’s another story.