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An Amazing Celtics Comeback:

I won't annoy our many California readers by rhapsodizing about it at length - or at least I won't annoy them more than "the public Safety may require":). But I do want to congratulate the Celtics for achieving the greatest comeback victory in the history of the NBA finals, overcoming a 24 point deficit to defeat the favored Lakers on the road. The Celtics were down by 20 as late as the middle of the third quarter. Considering the size of the deficit, the importance of the game, and the quality of the opponent, it's also probably the most impressive single-game comeback in the 125 year history of major professional sports in Boston. Go Celtics!

UPDATE: Judging by some of the comments, I suppose I have to spell out the obvious: For Boston fans, nothing can ever top the Red Sox comeback from 3-0 down in the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Yankees. However, the Reversal of the Curse was not a "single-game" comeback (a crucial qualification in the original post). In none of those four individual games did the Red Sox overcome a deficit nearly as great as that which the Celtics faced tonight. In the pivotal Games 4 and 5, the Red Sox never trailed by more than two runs. In games 6 and 7, the Sox led all the way. As a series, the 2004 ALCS was a vastly more important comeback than anything the Celtics do in the current series could be. But no single game in that series included as great a comeback as the one the Celtics just made.

Redlands (mail):
it's also probably the most impressive single-game comeback in the 125 year history of major professional sports in Boston.

Really? Wow, I wasn't aware its storied sports teams had accomplished so little in 125 years.
Kidding aside, as a Lakers fan I'm not really surprised. Boston has played better and the young Lakers, while very respectable in the regular season, have shown the are not quite there against the likes of Boston or, likely, Detroit.
6.13.2008 12:47am
Alan Gura:
"Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!"
6.13.2008 12:54am
J. Aldridge:
This game was a classic "I saw it coming" kind of game. They became too addicted to shooting from behind the arch and had no other way to score constiently when the shoots stopped falling. Great paint defense can explain this.
6.13.2008 1:05am
kevincure (mail) (www):
I'm offended, Ilya. How soon we forget the beautiful events of October 2004, including The Game and The Steal and The Comeback Down 5-3 With The Greatest Closer Ever On The Mound for the Hated Other Team.

But yeah, pretty sweet win.
6.13.2008 1:06am
Ilya Somin:
I'm offended, Ilya. How soon we forget the beautiful events of October 2004, including The Game and The Steal and The Comeback Down 5-3 With The Greatest Closer Ever On The Mound for the Hated Other Team.

I haven't forgotten at all. But the 2004 ALCS was not a "single-game" comeback. It was a four game event. In no one game of those four did the Red Sox overcome odds as great as those the Celtics faced tonight. In the Game 4 you referred to, The Red Sox trailed 4-3, only a 1 run deficit (though granted against a formidable closer in Rivera). As a series, the 2004 ALCS surely ranks higher than this series. But no one game in that series was a more impressive comeback than tonight's game.
6.13.2008 1:15am
Commenterlein (mail):
Awesome game. Really made my day, especially after the horrible play of Germany against Croatia in the morning.
6.13.2008 1:26am
LM (mail):

Judging by some of the comments, I suppose I have to spell out the obvious: For Boston fans, nothing can ever top the Red Sox comeback from 3-0 down in the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Yankees.

As a Yankee fan living in Boston during the 1978 Boston Massacre, I knew I was living through the pinnacle of fandom, so I haven't followed baseball since. Why, did something happen in 2004?

(BTW, tonight's game sucked. :) )
6.13.2008 2:08am
Estragon (mail) (www):
A wonderful game -- the kind of fairytale basketball that makes you forget that the NBA is a completely corrupt business rigged by insiders and designed to milk the fans while giving them the spectacle they crave.
6.13.2008 9:06am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
It was all a collusion between the league and the TV network executives to get better ratings...

Is it football season yet?
6.13.2008 9:38am
glangston (mail):
The Celtics are the better team. Their trio of Pierce, Garnett, and Allen are superior (and more versatile) than any three players on the Lakers, say Kobe, Odom and Gasol. And the Celtics really defend the rim..... As painful as it was, I watched the Lakers succumb to a better defensive team. The Lakers will get better with Bynum coming back next year. He would have made some difference this year as he defends better than Gasol and finishes at the rim like a true big man.

Even if the Celtics win this year they will have to get better next year to keep the crown.
6.13.2008 9:52am
JosephSlater (mail):
Redlands:

As a Pistons fan still mourning their loss in the ECF, your indirect praise of my team made me feel a little better this morning.

I would say, "and the NBA finals to determine which team made the ultimately most successful outrageously one-sided player deal(s) last year continue." But that might sound bitter.
6.13.2008 10:29am
Nunzio:
Kobe's a loser. MVP my a$$. And he's not even among the top 5 Lakers of all time. Dude's been in the league 12 years and this is the best he can do?
6.13.2008 11:27am
Shertaugh:
Ilya:

You should qualify your "greatest comeback" ever meme with "since this sort of information was kept starting in 1970-71."

It's possible the Celts had even better comebacks against the Baylor/West Lakers of the '60s.

Or the Petit/Martin Hawks of the '50s.

Or vice-versa.
6.13.2008 11:44am
astrangerwithcandy (mail):
the lakers choked away the final 2.5 minutes of that game, but prior to that I have never seen so many holds and forearm checks in basketball before. it was atrocious. i understand that is eastern conference basketball (i am a huge pistons fan) but the way this series has been officiated has given the Celtics a tremendous advantage. I pray that this isn't the start of a return to the late 80s/early to mid 90s basketball of the bad boy pistons and the patrick ewing knicks.
6.13.2008 12:10pm
skyywise (mail):
You aren't annoying all California readers, Ilya. Some of us are quite happy for the Celtics. Go Kings.
6.13.2008 12:20pm
theobromophile (www):
Is this a sign that we're going to return to the heydey of the early '80s?
6.13.2008 12:31pm
Kevin R (mail):
Is it football season yet?


Yes, haven't you heard?

*ducks*
6.13.2008 12:59pm
hattio1:
astrangerwithcandy,
I will agree that Game 4 had some terrible officiating. I started watching shortly before Kobe got his third foul. He should have fouled out before the third quarter ended. Then again, so should have Pierce. Once again, the role players wind up getting fouls they shouldn't have and enduring fouls that should be called. But I think the worst calls were on Posey. Though it was bad all around, if anything, the Celtics got the short end of the bad reffing stick.
6.13.2008 1:41pm
akwhitacre (mail):
I hadn't been able to stay awake long enough to watch my Celtics--the 9:00pm EST starts were killer--but I watched every dribble last night...not to mention every baffling call. I'm mainly a baseball watcher, and it seems like baseball's obsession with minutiae led them to scrutinize their umpires must more closely than the NBA has. There seems to be this resignation among basketball teams and fans that calling fouls is subjective and you just deal with it, but that's what baseball teams and fans thought until ESPN and FOX introduced their strike zone graphics. MLB now measures umpires' calls against 99% objective measures and factors that into their job reviews.

Does the NBA do anything remotely similar? Or is Stern too interested in allowing fudge room to let refs help keep games dramatic?
6.13.2008 3:30pm
Prospero (mail):
Yeah, yeah, Boston beat L.A. But our gay marriage is better than their gay marriage.
6.13.2008 4:49pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Jabbar, Johnson, Bryant, West, Baylor.....Nunzio, you got a different list, I got Bryant third.
6.13.2008 6:59pm
LM (mail):
Eli,

Depends whether you're mean greatest Laker careers or greatest players who were Lakers. If the former, I don't think he's passed West and Baylor quite yet. If the latter, there's Wilt. By the time he's done, I'd like to think he'll be on Magic's level, but...???
6.13.2008 10:26pm
LM (mail):
you're
6.13.2008 10:28pm
Ilya Somin:
Yeah, yeah, Boston beat L.A. But our gay marriage is better than their gay marriage.

But we got it first, and are likely to keep it longer:).
6.14.2008 12:37am
Ryan Waxx (mail):
How very ODD that no one here is lamenting the decline of the quality of blog posts or the appropriateness of posting a sports post here.

Its almost as if the appropriateness and quality complaints that appear in other, more politically oriented posts are motivated primarily by disagreement with the author's viewpoint and not with actual appropriateness or quality.

Imagine that.
6.16.2008 7:58pm