I'm almost too upset to write anything after the Lakers stunning Game 4 loss to the Celtics. This is probably the third-worst loss in Laker history, only after the team's heartbreaking Game 7 loss to Boston in the 1969 NBA Finals, and the Game 4 loss to the Celtics in 1984.
The Lakers did exactly what the Celtics did in the fourth quarter of Game 2. They got far too complacent with a big lead, and when the game got close, the Celtics played terrific defense and the Lakers played a paranoid schizophrenic offense. Paul Pierce did a remarkable job on Kobe Bryant, and Lamar Odom was a completely different player in the second half after a stellar first half.
People like to say that Game 5 is the most important game in a series, but I think it's Game 4. That's the game which determines whether a series is close or whether one team will be in the driver's seat down the stretch. Well, the Celtics have clear control of this series, and I have no idea how the Lakers will recover. The motivation on Sunday night is to prevent the Celtics from celebrating on the Lakers home floor. I can realistically see the Lakers stealing back Game 5. But they need a million things to break right in order to win two in Boston.
One other note... there's an excellent take on the Tim Donaghy allegations from Mark Heisler today in the LA Times, the nation's best basketball writer.