June 15, 2008

I really have to wonder which Finals Matt Yglesias has been watching. In many respects, the 2008 Finals have been as one-sided as the 2007 Finals, which the Spurs won in four. The big difference was the Celtics' atrocious performance in Game 3, where both Pierce and Garnett were MIA the entire game, and Boston still had the lead entering the final quarter. There was also the Lakers' comeback in Game 2, in which they almost overcame a 24-point deficit in the final seven minutes. But the difference between the two comebacks is telling: the Lakers' run in the 4th quarter of the second game was sparked by a smaller lineup forcing turnovers against a complacent Celtics team that had yet to be challenged, while the Celtics' comeback on Thursday reflected a return to the normalcy of the way the other five games (both regular season games were routs, notwithstanding the participation of Andrew Bynum) between the teams were played.

To believe that the Lakers have a realistic chance to overcome a 3-1 deficit, with two of the games to be played in Boston, is to assume that somehow that dynamic is going to miraculously change, and that the Lakers will, for the first time this season, play like they belong on the same court with the Celtics. They don't, and we shouldn't pretend that Boston's struggle to get past Atlanta one month ago is in anyway germane to this point. The Lakers should consider themselves lucky not to have been swept.

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