Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

A Celtic Comeback

Game 4 of this year's NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers added another stirring chapter to the most storied rivalry in pro basketball. The Celtics, down 24 at one point in the second quarter, 18 at halftime and 20 with just over six minutes left in the third, mounted the greatest comeback in Finals history to steal the game in Los Angeles, 97-91, and go up 3-1 in the series. The Celtics took their first lead with just over 4 minutes left in the game, on a jumper by unheralded reserve guard Eddie House. The Lakers threatened in the last minute, but Celtics guard Ray Allen called for a clear-out, blew by L.A.'s Sasha Vujacic and hit a lefty layup to clinch it. When it was over, Boston star Paul Pierce, who grew up in Los Angeles loving the Showtime Lakers, doubled over in exhaustion. In achieving the improbable comeback, the team showed the same gritty style that won Russell, Havlicek and Bird so many Celtic titles. Two games later, at home, Boston and its franchise player Kevin Garnett clinched the 17th championship in franchise history, its first since 1986.