The Lakers revealed their true character again tonight -- a character that I've written about on here extensively and one that Lakers' fans hoped was a thing of the past. But, sure enough, when faced with an aggressive, organized and sharp-shooting Boston team tonight, L.A. reverted back to their petulant ways. Pau Gasol was indignantly shoving players after he got stuffed, Derek Fisher was flopping all over the floor and Kobe was shaking his head in disgust at a supporting cast that, again, withered in the face of adversity.
Kobe was phenomenal, but as the night progressed, it was clear that he was the only one who understood what it would take to win. On both the defensive and offensive end, his teammates were largely inept, leaving him to ensure the game stayed competitive.
The big problem for the Lakers at this point is accountability. I'm not saying the rest of the team doesn't care, but no one seems to take ownership for the outcome except for Bryant. On the other side, everyone on the Celtics is invested and takes full accountability for what happens. I'm not sure if this is a coaching problem or a case of Kobe still not understanding how to share the load and motivate his teammates -- or both. But, no matter what the reason is, it's a big problem.
Fortunately for L.A., they get to go home, where they have an uncanny ability to morph back into the unstoppable team they should be all the time. Still, if anyone relishes the idea of having to win a game at Staples Center, it's Boston. Game 4 of the 2008 Finals is all the evidence you need.