Despite Jackson's 47-0 Streak, Celtics Have Come Back Before
"Pack it up and tear it down,'' the song goes about the roadies who do just that after a concert.
Don't know if the guys who clean up after the NBA Finals also call themselves roadies, but the curtain has fallen. OK, they'll still play at least three more games, but this show, in reality, is finished.
Legendary coach Phil Jackson is 47-0 when his team wins the first game of a playoff series. And on Thursday night at the Staples Center, his Lakers won Game 1 of the Finals, 102-89 over Boston.
So that means series over, right?
Wait a minute. Stop loading those trucks. Some other statistics have just been dug up.
The Celtics in their illustrious history have six times lost the first game of the Finals. But they've actually come back to win the series four of those times.
OK, that's 66.7 percent, which can't compete with the 100 percent that Jackson, who has coached the Bulls to six titles and the Lakers to four, has on his side.
But wait again. When asked about Jackson's perfect figure, Celtics guard Tony Allen rolled out a 100 percent of his own.
"If you want to bring that up, our starting five hasn't lost a series,'' he said.
He's right. In the 2008 postseason, the Celtics went 4-0 in series with the starting lineup of center Kendrick Perkins, forwards Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and guards Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo.
Garnett was injured last spring and missed the playoffs. But with Garnett back, the Celtics are 3-0 this postseason to make the starting five's overall mark 7-0.
"I like it,'' Ray Allen said of that statistic. "I like the ones that are in our favor.''
The bottom line is anybody would be foolish to consider this a Boston beaning. After all, the Celtics' leprechaun does make road trips considering the Celtics are still a very respectable 5-4 on the road this postseason and came back from a 24-point deficit to beat the Lakers at the Staples Center in the pivotal Game 4 of the 2008 Finals.
Need another statistic for the Celtics to retain hope? How many of those 47 series wins by Jackson have been over Boston?
That would be zero. Jackson has faced the Celtics only once before in the postseason, and that was the loss in the 2008 Finals.
Boston, by the way, did win the first game in that series. But the Celtics, facing the Lakers for the 12th time in the postseason, three out of four times have won a Finals over the Lakers after losing the first game.
There were victories in 1966, 1969, when Boston actually lost the first two games, and in 1984. The only such loss was in 1987.
"We got to do it,'' said Perkins, hearing some Celtics stats from yesteryear about coming back in the Finals after losing Game 1. "That's good.''
As for Jackson's ominous 47-0 staring at them, Perkins said, "Somebody's got to be the first team to do something so we're not getting caught up in that.''
Jackson also is trying not to get caught up in his amazing stat. But he's certainly well aware of it.
"I wish we had put it in the bank, so to speak,'' Jackson said. "We've got to play this out, and we know this is a team that's got a multitude of changes, lineups, activities, capabilities. ... So we've got a lot of work ahead of us, but it's nice to know that (the 47-0 stat) is on our side.''
Jackson also would be pleased to know his players are saying the right things to make sure his record stays perfect, which would give him a staggering 12th ring.
"We don't want to be 47-1,'' said guard Jordan Farmar. "Just keep playing. ... They're a tough team. ... Throw (records) out the window. We're trying to make history. We've got to stay focused. We got three more wins to go, and that's all that matters.''
But winning Game 1 sure mattered for something. When the Celtics won 4-2 in the 2008 Finals, they set the tone early in winning the first two games that they would be the more aggressive team.
The Lakers turned the tables on that Thursday, outrebounding the Celtics 42-31, outscoring them 48-30 in the paint and 16-0 in second-chance points. Power forward Pau Gasol was powerful inside, totaling 23 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.
Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant is determined to make up for a mediocre 2008 Finals. He took the ball more to the hoop, rather than settling for jumpers, and finished with 30 points to go along with seven rebounds and six assists.
"A good start,'' Bryant said. "That's absolutely the key. You want to take Game 1.''
Of course, it's a big key. When Jackson's teams win the first game, as another Jackson would sing, the opponent always has ended up "Running on Empty.''
The Celtics, though, no doubt wouldn't mind having some pertinent lyrics lifted from a Boston band. In fact, Boston sang "Don't Look Back,'' which is what the Celtics are certainly hoping is the case with Jackson's perfect 47-0.
Then again, Ray Allen really did like taking a look at that stat Tony Allen provided.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson