With only about eight hours to go until tonight’s Game 7 against the Lakers, I have a pit in my stomach.
The Celtics, after all, will be without their defensive stopper in the middle, Kendrick Perkins. They will be coming off an embarrassing defeat to the Lakers in Game 6. They are all still old, and with only one full day off since they last played, I wonder how well they will hold up. I am starting to wonder, somewhere in the back of my mind, if I should even watch tonight’s game.
But that’s stupid. Not because it’s a Celtics-Lakers Game 7—an event that cannot and should not be missed—but because it’s a Celtics-Lakers Game 7, and anything can happen.
At this point, the Cetics are undeniably underdogs. On the road, in what is now a one game series, without a starter. But that’s why they played and won three of the first six games. This is what they have won: a chance for chance to take over. The seven-game series of the NBA helps eliminate luck, and weed out the best teams. But in one game, even the most lopsided of matchups can go the wrong way. Just consider the Celtics losing to the Nets, or the Lakers falling to the Clippers.
Will the favored Lakers triumph, or will something amazing happen again for the Celtics? Will Ray break another record? Will we see, for one shining moment, the MVP Kevin Garnett again? Will Pierce go off for 40, or will Rondo mess around and record a monster triple double? It’s one game, when a single performance can now win a championship. Will having Perk out hurt, or maybe allow Rasheed to drop 20?
I have a pit in my stomach. But I had that same pit in Game 7 against the Hawks and Cavaliers, and Game 4 of the Finals in 2008. I had that pit when we went down 2-1 against the Lakers, and when the Magic clawed their way back into this year’s series. Sometimes that feeling can signal disaster, but more often than not these last few years, it’s been the precursor to something incredible.