Where do they go from here?

Feel free to sound off:

Here’s the story I just wrote on Thursday’s Game 4 collapse, and how exactly the Lakers will be trying to regroup and get ready for Sunday’s Game 5.

By Ramona Shelburne
Staff Writer


Just, Wow.

What exactly happened inside Staples Center Thursday night?

How exactly did the Lakers go from being in it, really in it, tied up with the Celtics 2-2 in this best-of-7 series with a chance to take a 3-2 lead on their home court on Sunday, to … um…Wow…

An hour had passed before Kobe Bryant offered his public thoughts on the Lakers epic collapse in Game 4 of the NBA Finals and all he could come up with was an invitation to drink … as if Lakers fans all around the Southland hadn’t already gone there.

“A lot of wine, a lot of beer, a couple of shots, maybe like 20 of them,” Bryant said. “Digest it, then get back to work tomorrow.”

But how exactly do you do that?

Put the biggest collapse in Finals history -at least as far back as there are records for that sort of thing – behind you, watch the film, get back to practice and give it a go again on Sunday like nothing happened?

This isn’t the regular season. This isn’t Game 1 or Game 2, or even Game 3. This was Game 4, the game where the home team gets to make it a series or starts making plans for summer vacation. The Lakers had it. It was going to be a series, and then, just…Wow.

“Right now, I think it’s normal for everybody to be a little disappointed, a little pissed off,” Bryant said. “It’s human nature. But tomorrow, you’ve got to get back to work tomorrow.”

Getting back to work, for the Lakers, means figuring out how to beat Boston three times in a row, two of which, will take place on the Celtics home court.

“We can’t think about beating them three straight,” Bryant said. “We’re thinking about beating them Sunday. Take one swing at a time to chop down a tree.”

Uh-huh. That’s one mighty large tree that’s sprung up in front of them though.

“As a player, you can run through a brick wall, you make things that normal people think can’t happen, happen in your favor. But the reality is, there’s no coming back from this,” said former NBA player Jalen Rose, who helped analyze the game for ESPN. “Boston’s not losing three in a row. It’s not going to happen.”

Then again, who would’ve thought the Celtics would’ve come back from a 24-point deficit to win Game 4?

So how did they do it?

“We said, coming out of the third quarter that regardless of what the score is, we’re not going to look at the score,” Celtics captain Paul Pierce said. “We’re just going to go out there and compete.”

Well, that’s a start. And the fact that Boston’s injury list has basically doubled in every game, doesn’t hurt either. If the Lakers can win Sunday and send the series back to Boston, those injuries could catch up with the Celtics.

But those are a lot of ifs, of course. And they come on the heels of an incredibly big, um …Wow.

So for a night at least, the best course of action was just to let it all sit in their stomachs like that greasy hamburger you shouldn’t have eaten at 2 a.m., shake their heads, forget about finding any answers, and find a way to get some sleep.

“We just wet the bed,” Bryant said. “A nice big one too. One of the ones you can’t put a towel over. It was terrible. But there’s nothing you can do about it. They played great in the third quarter, we played like crap. They pulled out a great win, now it’s time to move on to the next one…period.”

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  • Already Awake in the East (NEVER WENT TO SLEEP!)

    When the FAKERS so-called ‘fans’ rollout of their earthquake-shaken beds this afternoon, they’ll realize it IS over. and CURT SCHILLING was RIGHT—AGAIN! Nice role model Kobe (Some wine, drinks and a lot of shots—-not the basketball kind)………Face it: Shaq was right, Curt was right, and Kobe is a bum. It wasn’t the refs Phil, it was the BEST TEAM IN BASKETBALL, from the winningest city on the world: TITLE TOWN, BOSTON. A LA LA LATTE title is just another California dream: I LOVE that Dirty Water; BOSTON YOU’RE MY HOME!!!

  • See ya next year

    For all intents and purposes, that was the elimination game. The priest’s making the sign of the cross, sprinkling the holy water, and burning incense. The last task is to lower the Lakers into the ground. That comes Sunday. Don’t forget to sign the guestbook.

  • Jeffs Aho

    Apparently, after this latest debacle, Bryant’s done more choking at the NBA Finals than he did at the Colorado resort.

    3 words as to why the Lakers will never ever win a championship with Kobe Bryant at the helm.

    Decision making process.

    It was evident tonight when the Celtics made their run, what does Bryant proceed to do during the 3rd quarter?

    Launch ill-advised jumpers.

    Heres Brian Ks (LA TIMES Blog) take:

    Kobe came out in the third looking to get himself going. More iso, more one-on-one, more jumpshooting. All of that equals less ball movement.

    Usually when the spotlight is shining, the real stars step up and seize the moment. Lets take a look back at Bryants stats in Finals history.

    Remember, this is the Finals. Doesnt get any bigger than this, correct?

    Here we go:

    ***Against Indiana 1999-2000

    15.6 PPG and 36% FG (While Shaq avg. 38 PPG, 16.6 RBDS, and 61% FG).

    Wow. Talk about stepping up Kobe.

    Revisionist like to imagine as Kobe being clutch. Once again, the actual numbers tell a whole different story.

    ***Against Philly 2000-2001

    24.6 PPG and 41.5% FG. Once again. Look at the staggering high shooting percentage. Coming through again.

    Remember, this will have been the 2nd Finals series that he has shot poorly in.

    ***Against New Jersey 2001-2002

    26.8 PPG and 51.4% FG. Finally. For once, Bryant lives up to expectations in the Finals.

    Its strange how some like to romp and cheer when Bryant has a performance like 30 PPG and 50% FG.

    Isnt it expected from the best player in the game?

    Or are they cheering because those type of performances are atypical, hence since its not expected, they are pleasantly surprised?


    ***Against Detroit 2003-2004

    22.6 PPG and 37% FG. Obviously Bryant had choking issues on and off the court that year.

    ***Against Boston 2007-2008

    After tonights catastrophe, FG% is probably hovering around 40%.

    As clearly demonstrated, Kobe has only performed in 1 out of 5 Finals series.

    Is that acceptable for someone that anointed by quick to the draw Kobe zealots that proclaim him as the best ever simply because of his scoring prowess?

    Though amazing as singular feats (string of 50+ pts, string of 40+ pts, 62 pts in 3 quarters, 81 pts, etc.), what have those done for the bottom line, anyway?

    The bottom line is to win a championship, is it not?
    Thats what all athletes should strive for.

    Go back and look at those stats again.

    Bryants done practically nothing in the Finals 4 out of 5 series.

    Thats a HUGE sample size already.

    24 games total.

    When can the fans see one of those performances worthy of MVP chants?

    If hes in a slump, when will it end? 2015 when he retires?
    Most fans would be all for Kobe being anointed as the best ever.

    But as clearly shown, hes far far far from it. One has to do it on the biggest stage for it to matter. Who cares if he wins 5 more scoring titles, 3 more MVPs.

    Bryants play in the Finals (career-wise) as been a huge letdown. His play has cemented and tarnished what little veracity to begin with regarding his clutchness (biggest choke up in the Finals, cant take over on the Finals stage), basketball mind (look at all those low FG% – poor shot selection – low basketball IQ), and leadership (team on its heels, he cowers and launches jumpers).

    Stats dont lie.

    Bryant is an absolute choke job when comes to the Finals. All those All-star MVPs, scoring titles, All-defense teams, MVPs, means absolutely zilch when it doesnt come into play during the Finals.

    And as for fans holding out hope that Bryant will lead the charge in the revival, dont hold your breath.

    Using history to serve as a reminder, most of know that it aint gonna happen.

    -Jeffs Aho

  • mike

    As a Celtics fan, just being down 3-1 has never been overcome, but to blow such a huge lead is what has to take the collective hearts out of the Lakers.

    But, it’s not the fault of Kobe Bryant, it’s that with the exception of Fisher hitting clutch jumpers, the rest of the team is soft and/or chokes in pressure situations.
    Style-wise and with the Celtics swarming defense, that is the difference. That and Lamar “Overhype” Odom, who doesn’t scare me at all–especially when pressure is applied to him.

  • Willy

    Jeffs A hole or whatever says…”The bottom line is to win a championship, is it not?
    Thats what all athletes should strive for.”

    Well if that’s the bottom line goof ball, then Kobe has 3 championships does he not?! Regardless of whether he’s at the helm now or whatever, bottom line is yes he does! So PPG and shooting percentage aside, Kobe has been a big part of 3 NBA titles. There’s a whole lot of players, current and former who wish they could say that. Time will tell if he gets another one, and with the right team around him, I think he will.