Harder to Swallow: Lakers Choke or ‘Hitch’ Praise?

It’s difficult to decide what’s the hardest to believe from Thursday night:

Kobe Bryant had no baskets in the first 2 quarters.

• The Lakers still managed to be up by 18 at the half.

• The Celtics went on to win the game anyway.

Eddie House Celtics

(We must protect this Eddie House!)

After building a 21-point 1st quarter lead - the biggest in NBA Finals history - it certainly appeared that the Lake Show was back in business, brutally beating Boston & well on their way to setting this series even.

Bu what looked to be a Game 4 blowout soon evolved into a classic choke performance worthy of the finest oral actresses this side of the San Fernando Valley.

Such collapses happen when you only shoot 33% from the field in the 2nd half. It also didn’t hurt that Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen & crew postponed going into panic mode after their first-half humbling. Instead, they started sinking buckets while taking advantage of the Lakers’ cold shooting.

We know how happy Doc Rivers & his guys are being one win away from the Celts’ first title since 1986. But it’s more interesting to hear the post-game reaction from the losing side.

Phil Jackson met the media with this greeting: “Some turnaround in that ballgame. The air went out of that building.” And Kobe told the press corps how he was going to deal with the devastating loss:

A lot of wine, a lot of beer, couple of shots, maybe like 20 of them, digest it and get back to work.”

Kobe Bryant pointing

(”Bartender! Gimme a double of that! And a triple of everything else!“)

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

Among other happenings in Staples Center that night, THE SPORTS HERNIA is concerned that covering the NBA Finals may have give Michele Tafoya a big head.

Michele Tafoya big head

This must have been moments after Michele got to chat it up courtside with Will Smith (”Starring in ‘Hancock’“, as ABC wouldn’t let us forget.) The Fresh Prince talked briefly about being West Philadelphia born ‘n’ raised, and how Boston would always deep-six his hometown Sixers. So, we couldn’t tell if Smith was more about the Lakers winning of the Celtics losing.

Well, Will soon won’ have to worry anymore.

Oh, but the evening gets better. After Tafoya threw it back to the booth, Jeff Van Gundy started gushing about one of Will’s previous cinematic efforts, “Hitch” - calling it a fantastic movie and praising the comedic talents of Smith & co-star Kevin James. More improbable, broadacasting partner Mark Jackson agreed with the Gundster.


Jeff Van Gundy: If there’s anyone funnier than Kevin James, I want names.

Mike Breen: [Vaguely exasperated, but clearly in a good way] These superlatives you put on mediocre movies.

Mark Jackson: [Surprisingly adamant] No, Hitch was an outstanding movie.

Hitch movie poster

(”Two Thumbs Up!” - Jeff Van Gundy & Mark Jackson, ESPN)

Jeff, Mark - we once sat through “Hitch”. We were on a cross-country flight, we had no choice. We even sat throught it again on the flight back, just in case we missed any important plot points the first time around.

And we can assure the two of you that we’re going with Mike on this one - “Hitch” should not, nor ever be, classified as an “outstanding” movie.