Yes, it is Game 7.
Put it all out there. Leave nothing on the court. There is no tomorrow.
When the Celtics and Lakers step onto the Staples Center floor Thursday night, all those cliches will hold true.
You can?t disagree with Phil Jackson on this one: "It?s a really high-tension situation."
But really, what else could you expect? This is Celtics vs Lakers. 'Bonus basketball' is the phrase that?s been thrown around for 24 hours now. It?s hard to ask for more than that.
OK, a healthy Kendrick Perkins would be nice. It would. You have to empathize with the center when you hear him say he?s doing better physically than he is mentally. His always-thoughtful-at-the-podium teammate, Ray Allen, said, "It?s Game 7 of the NBA Finals, something I marveled watching my whole life."
That was after enduring a Game 6 pounding by the Lakers.
Thursday night's drama is the stuff of dreams for players on both sides of the ball. It's their own chance at history.
We all knew this NBA Finals would be one for the record books — even before Allen set a record from 3-point land all the way back in Game 2. We all know history was discussed at length before Allen, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol or Paul Pierce even took the court. Kobe?s chance to cement his legacy, this Celtics team's opportunity to solidify their own as part of the NBA?s winningest franchise.
And then, there is past history. The 9-2 record Boston boasts against L.A. in the Finals. The 4-0 streak the Celtics can lay claim to in those Finals when they?ve gone seven against the Lakers. Take the kings of the West Coast out of it, and Boston is still perfect in do-or-die Finals games. The Green has never lost after taking a 3-2 series lead.
Here?s the thing about all that history: read it, know it, love it. It adds to the rivalry, injects great passion, tells a story. And, who doesn?t love a good tale? I know I do.
But Thursday night, none of that history will impact the history being made. Not the records from long ago, or the series history played in Games 1 through 6. This is Game 7. Anything can happen.