Breathe in the True Essence of the Playoffs

As much as I despise ever comparing Kobe to any other player in the league because he is bar none, still the deadliest and baddest baller on the planet, the reference here is uncomfortably appropriate.

Facing a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter, staring at an almost insurmountable 0-3 series hole in the 2006 NBA Finals down the pipe, Dwyane Wade led a furious rally against those Dallas Mavericks, scoring 42 points and ultimately notching the first of four straight wins en route to the franchise’s only NBA title.

Am I foolishly insinuating that the Lakers will somehow reel off four wins in a row to take the series 4-2? Not at all. Is a Game 3 win even anywhere near a guarantee? Not quite.

What I’m saying is, we all need to take a deep breath, bring our heart rates down and take things game by game, quarter by quarter, possession by possession. As twisted as this may sound, I asked for this. I pretty much enjoy this. It’s not easy for me to completely convey this idea, but the last two titles, even the epic win against Boston, you kind of had the feeling that no matter what, the Lakers were going to win those championships. There’s no question that we were all cheering for the best team in the league and in the NBA, the best team always prevails.

As unbelievably gratifying and euphoric it was to witness the last two title runs, it almost felt like…destiny. Yes, I clearly recall the anxiety and heart palpitations of Game 7 against the Celtics, but you just knew that somehow, someway, we were going to pull it out.

If a three-peat was as simple as microwaving Easy Mac, every team would do it. It’s supposed to be this hard, this gut-wrenching. But take solace Laker fans, the light is still shining. We’re down 0-2, not 0-3.

Dwyane Wade was able to inspire the 2006 Miami Heat squad and propel them to a furious series comeback against the Dirk-led Mavericks. Is there anyone out there who would truly put their paycheck on the line and say that the Black Mamba can’t lead the defending champs down the same road?

If you say so, straight up, you’re wrong.

Even 0-3 is not out of the question. Granted, the NHL is about as far of a cry from the NBA as you can get in terms of the mechanics of the two sports, but it was just last year that the Philadelphia Flyers orchestrated a historic comeback from three games down against the Boston Bruins, even overcoming sudden-death overtime in Game 4, ultimately taking the series in seven. For those who aren’t all too familiar, the Flyers made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals and the NHL Playoffs are no joke.

As Kobe said last night in his post-game press conference, “If you want to make history, you have to do historic things.”

NEXT: Game Plan
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