One of the more interesting phenomena during any sports series is how so-called experts (we prefer observers) react to one game. Most become waver masters.
Certainly, see Boston in the NBA Finals after watching Cleveland blow out the Celtics at home in Game Three of the Eastern Conference semifinals should be a lesson to us all.
Those needing more history should think back or look up the 1984 Lakers-Celtics Finals matchup. Larry Bird's Celtics were spanked 137-104 in Game Three in Los Angeles and the Birdman said his team played like sissies. The Celtics won Game Four 129-125 in overtime and went on to win the series in seven games.
Don't get it twisted. We'd rather be with the Los Angeles Lakers, in this instance, ahead 1-0 in this best-of-seven series with the homecourt advantage.
Simply put, every game won is a huge feather in the Kangol. You need four to win.
Yet, the Boston Celtics will be ecstatic if they can heist Game Two Sunday and go home for Games Three, Four and Five with the series tied 1-1.
That, quietly, was their realistic goal when they came to L.A.
Surely, winning both games would have been greatness personified. However, that was such an unlikely occurrence, realism suggested getting one for the Green would be all good.
The Celtics have made their way to this point by handling what is in front of them. Sunday, the only remainders of Game One will be motivation from how they lost and increased intensity because of necessity.
Boston would rather drink spoiled milk than go east trailing 0-2. That is a larger deficit for Boston than a 2-0 advantage for the Lakers, if possible.
That deficit eliminates any margin of error for the Celtics, not to mention giving the Lakers three shots to win their third game and return to L.A. for two games, needing just one to win.
Game One was viewed as ugly by many observers, Lakers coach Phil Jackson included.
Well, wait until Game Two. It promises to be uglier.
Boston will play with a sense of urgency bordering on desperation. Every movement on each end of the court will be challenged. Every thing that can be gotten away with will be used.
It'll be the two old-head squads playing on Sunday morning at the park and only the strong will survive. That will be strength of mind as well as physical.
Boston appears to need a rejuvenated Kevin Garnett. As he moves about the court, the question is whether he's physically capable of using his quickness and length even in the neighborhood of where he once could play.
Garnett's movements appeared unsteady during the season's second half and it could be the length of playoffs have taken away leg strength. There are movements he can make without thought, but many more he cannot.
In many ways, the limited mobility of Garnett and Laker center Andrew Bynum appear similar. They can be productive still, but fluidity in their current physical states is only a dream.
The Celtics more likely will get amped production from Ray Allen, who received at least two bogus foul calls from the uptight and inconsistent officiating crew of Joe DeRosa, Derrick Stafford and Joey Crawford.
Allen still has the NBA's prettiest jumpers and lethal as well. Boston coach Doc Rivers preaches playing together and Allen suffers most when the Celtics fall short.
As poorly as Boston played, Rivers was accurate when noted there were opportunities for the Celtics to get into the game.
If those openings arise again, both teams could head east tied at the hip with a great, albeit ugly season awaiting us all.
Gasol leads Lakers not named Kobe
Pau Gasol's 23 points, 14 rebounds (eight offensive), three assists and three blocks during a game-high 47 minutes helped provide a base for Lakers coach Phil Jackson.
Gasol produced without having the ball pounded into him. Ron Artest, Derek Fisher and Bynum did the same as Jordan Farmar, Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown off the bench.
The Lakers ultimately put the outcome in the ice box in the middle of the fourth with Bryant on the bench.