After the first quarter of Game 4, I was ready to blog about Tim Donaghy, Chick Hearn and Jack Nicholson being the referees. Turns out, at halftime, Tom Heinsohn, Bill Russell and Red Auerbach beat them up and took over with the whistles.
Just kidding. The first quarter was an abomination -- a display of truly bad basketball (by the Celtics), bad officiating (nice job, Steve Javie) -- but it also featured some inspired play (Lamar Odom).
Then the officiating evened out, the Celtics woke up, and Lamar Odom realized he is, after all, Lamar Odom.
It feels great that the Celtics completed one of the biggest comebacks in NBA history. Just hope it doesn't end up like the last time the C's had a playoff comeback like that (Game 3, 2002 East finals vs. the Nets) when the other team won the rest of the games in the series.
Also of note -- the Celtics biggest NBA Finals comeback from a halftime deficit (18 points). Of note, three teams are tied for second at 14 points, and two of them -- 1970 Knicks and 1983 Sixers -- did it against the Lakers. The third was the 1975 Warriors, over the Bullets. And all of them went on to win the title.
Back to the bad officiating. Trevor Ariza pushes James Posey in the back, grabs an offensive rebound an goes up for a dunk. Kobe mugs Kevin Garnett to make a 'steal' -- then Doc Rivers gets a T for pointing out to the officials (probably with some colorful language) what a bad non-call it was. That's just two examples.
But, of course, the refs did their jobs the rest of the game, and look what happened -- the Celtics outscored the Lakers by 27 the rest of the way. It's amazing what a team can do when it's not playing 5-on-8.
Does this sound bitter? Maybe, even unreasonably so since the Celtics won. But I was resigned to defeat (I told somebody I was watching the game with that if the refs kept it up, the Celtics would lose by 40) and the officials had me depressed. And even when the Celtics came back, I don't want people to forget what an atrocious job the officials did early in the game. Fortunately, Gregg Doyel didn't.
Anyway, great victory by Boston. Now the Lakers can (and will) win Game 5, then the Celtics win No. 17 on their home court.