How did a 21-point first quarter lead turn into a six-point loss for the Purple and Gold? Simply put - it wasn't in the numbers for the player formerly known as Black Mamba.
Kobe Bryant was in the role of drive and dish man; trying to get his teammates behind him and they were hitting their shots which got them the healthy lead midway through the third quarter. However, Kobe was off track points-wise and never found his stroke, which he needed in the worse way when the Celts decided to "compete" at both ends of the floor.
After this game, Paul Pierce should switch jersey numbers with Mr. Bryant with his Jack Bauer-esque lockdown on the league MVP as the telling excerpt from Marc Stein's Game Four piece on the Worldwide Leader's website details below:
The Celtics are one game away from putting the 17th Banner hanging from the rafters this fall. The Lakers may have the colors of royalty but on Sunday, it's more than likely that it will be the Celtics who will be coronated; much to the chagrin of the anti-Jordan in LA. Sphere: Related Content
It's the unavoidable conclusion when a 24-point lead -- at home -- isn't enough for No. 24.
The 24th Finals game of Kobe Bryant's career had the Celtics trailing by 20 points halfway through the third quarter, unable until 4:07 remained in the game to snatch their first lead and then showing their steel from there by refusing to give it back ... all while Bryant could finish with only a measly 17 points on 6-for-19 shooting.