By: Kevin Plaza
In the words of wide receiver/diva Terrell Owens “get your popcorn ready.” The Lakers and Celtics have had their ups and downs this series, both teams have fought back and clawed their way back into the games and the series, especially the Lakers, who just flat out dismantled the Celtics in Game 6 to even the series at 3 a piece. So that means Game 7 is upon us. Clear your schedules, make some time to tune in at 9pm tonight to watch the most exciting game in every sport… it’s win or go home. There have been so many great game 7s that I can remember and this one could very well be the best one yet because of the way this series has played out and the ongoing physicality of both teams. Here is a little taste of what you can expect from this game as I run down some of the greatest game 7s in sports throughout the decade.
1. 2004 American League Championship Series – Aaron Boone! Nope just kidding, wrong year, right series. Game 7 of the 2004 American League Championship Series was over before it really ever began. Johnny Damon’s second inning grand slam opened a 6-0 lead for the Red Sox and buried the Yankees to clinch the biggest comeback in baseball history. The Red Sox vanquished the Yankees with the 10-3 victory, ended the curse and went on to win their first World Series since 1918.
2. 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals – The Senators battled back from a 3-1 series deficit in the 2003 Eastern Conference Finals to force a Game 7. Ottawa jumped out to a 1-0 first period lead before the Devils went up 2-1 heading into the second intermission. The Senators again tied the game early in the third period, but Jeff Friesen’s goal with 2:14 remaining in the game gave the Devils the victory and the momentum to win the Stanley Cup.
3. 2008 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals – “Pierce v. LeBron” because that’s exactly what Game 7 of the 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals was. The two stars went back and forth all game, putting on a show that reminded fans of two decades prior when Larry Bird and Dominique Wilkins lit up the old Boston Garden. LeBron scored 45 points on 14-of-29 shooting while Pierce scored 41 points on 13-of-23 shooting, but it was the Celtics who ruled the day in a 97-92 victory.
4. 2006 National League Championship Series – Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS may be remembered most for one play then the whole game, but the entire night came complete with the total package of National League baseball. The Mets jumped out with a first inning run which the Cardinals responded to with another sacrifice, run-scoring bunt in the second. The Cardinals thought they were about to grab a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning on Scott Rolen’s long fly ball to left. But, Endy Chavez denied the home run bid with arguably the best postseason catch in the last 20 years to keep the score 1-1. Yadier Molina hit one beyond Chavez’s reach in the ninth to give the Cardinals a two-run lead. The Mets worked the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and with two outs Carlos Beltran stepped to the plate. Beltran ravaged the Cardinals in the 2005 NLCS as a member of the Astros, but this time went down looking on a called strike three from Adam Wainwright to send St. Louis to its second World Series in three years.
5. 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals – The Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings went back and forth for three quarters with the Kings leading 74-73 entering the fourth quarter. The Lakers outscored the Kings 27-26 in the fourth quarter to force the first Game 7 overtime in NBA Conference Finals history. Shaquille O’Neal scored 35 points with 13 rebounds. Kobe Bryant had 30 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as the Lakers went on to win with a 12-6 margin in overtime.
If this game seven is like any of the game 7s mentioned, it may go down as the best ever, yea I mean EVER.