Pap speaks out; Another Game 4 classic?
While most of the Red Sox have been tight-lipped regarding their feelings about the Tampa Bay Rays since the bench-clearing brawl a week ago, Jonathan Papelbon did not hold back while doing his weekly interview with Comcast SportsNet’s Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight.
The station was kind enough to send along a transcript of Pap’s comments that appeared on their airwaves.
On the Sox-Rays fight...
"In my opinion it is a bunch of bull what they did. All I got to say is
what comes around goes around. Payback is a [naughty word]. In my opinion, and
the way I feel right now, this thing isn't all settled and done. We
still got to play them a few more times and I know when we go into
Tropicana things will be a little different than when went in there last
On the Rays staying in the race...
"Those guys have a lot of talent over there. As you can see, it's a war
when we go play those guys. It's the big leagues and you got guys that
can pitch over there and you got some guy that can hit so we've got to
do everything we can to stay atop of those guys and keep fending them
off because they can play."
Sounds good to me. I’ll at at the Trop for that series in early July. What an interesting journey that will be. Three games in Houston, three at Tampa and four in the Bronx against, what is the name of that team again, oh yeah, the Yankees.
I must say, I’m a little revved up about Celtics-Lakers Game 4 tonight. Watching and living through those three Celtics-Lakers tilts in the 1980s, Game 4 was easily the best game in each series. You can make a case for Game 2 in ’84, but there’s no discussion in ’85 or ’87. It’s non-negotiable, as Bob Ryan might say.
Let’s re-live it for a second here:
Game 4, 1984: The Celtics got their doors blown off in Game 3, losing 137-104. After the game, Larry Bird labeled himself and his teammates as sissies. “Magic and them guys were dunking and high fiving each other and you’d think somebody would put a stop to it. Until we get our hearts where we belong, we’re in trouble.”
McHale put the team’s heart in the right place, dropping Kurt Rambis to the floor in an epic Game 4 clothesline. The Celts were down by 10 at halftime and made a tremendous second-half comeback. In fact, they were down by five points with about a minute left. The Chief had a huge three-point play to get them within two and Bird went to the line on Jabbar’s sixth and final foul and tied it. Magic dribbled out the clock with a terrible pass, and Bird won it in overtime by sticking a fallaway jumper in Magic’s mug with 16 seconds left. And with the Lakers down by three and holding one last possession, M.L. Carr stole the inbounds pass and dunked it, putting an exclamation point on the win. He ran off the court screaming into the camera, “We’re coming back, that’s right, we’re coming back.” Bird’s assessment of the win? Were they sissies again? “No, we just played like a bunch of women tonight. We can still play a lot harder.” And so they did, winning that series in Seven.
Game 4, 1985: Just like in ’84, the Celtics were absolutely obliterated at the Forum in Game 3. Trailing 2-1 in the series, the Celtics again came back with a gutsy effort. Bird, nursing a sore elbow and a dislocated finger, had a terrible shooting series. But this was the one game he came through big-time. He had a couple of big steals in crunch time, keeping the Celtics close. Ainge hit two long range-jumpers in the last two minutes, the latter of which gave Boston a two-point lead. The Lakers went to Kareem with about 24 seconds left and he went for the sky hook. He missed, but Magic got the rebound and the putback. Tie ballgame. Celtics ball. They called time-out and then went to Bird from about 16 feet.
A double team swarmed at Bird with the clock ticking toward the finish. Bird swiftly kicked it back out to the late, great Dennis Johnson who nailed a 20-foot jumper at the buzzer. The Celtics mobbed each other as if they had won a championship. Somehow Johnny Most didn’t lose his voice screaming, “D.J. hits the jumper from the left side, it’s all over, Boston wins the all-important, portant game.” That’s right, Johnny skipped a syllable on his second “important”. Those were the days. Anyway, it was the last win of 1985 for the Celtics. And speaking of Dennis Johnson, here is a positively outstanding article written about the interesting legacy of one of my all-time favorite basketball players.
Game 4, 1987: One of the best pure basketball games I have ever seen. Just two Hall of Fame-caliber teams sticking big shot after big shot for 48 minutes. The Celtics, playing with a limping McHale and a limping Parish, were blown out in the first two games at the Forum.But they came up with a big win in Game 3, thanks to Greg Kite of all people shutting the Lakers down with great defense. Game 4 would determine whether or not an upset could be in the making. The Celtics seemed primed for a win, running the break, getting easy baskets and leading by 14 or 15 points at one point. But the Lakers kept chipping away. Still, it looked like the Celtics were going to pull it out. They went up by roughly eight points with three minutes left. But the Lakers went on another run.
The Lakers went up by one on an alley-oop play between Magic and Kareem. The Celtics had the ball and James Worthy decided to guard Bird by holding him by the jersey. Bird somehow snuck free and went to the left corner and drilled a three-pointer with 16 seconds left, putting Boston up by two points. The Garden was rocking. The Lakers had another crack at it. They got it into Kareem and he drove to the right and got fouled on a sky hook with five seconds left. Kareem knocked down the first, putting LA within one. Man, if he had just hit this free throw, history might have been reversed. The Celtics would have had the ball back with a chance to break the tie, or at the very worst, go to overtime. But no. Jabbar had to miss, and the rebound had to go out of bound off McHale’s slippery hands. The Lakers inbounded and Magic broke free for the most famous junior, junior skyhook in NBA Finals history. All net. He drove right through Bird, McHale and Parish. The Celtics had the ball back with two seconds left. DJ made the inbounds pass and I have no clue how, but Bird broke free along the left sideline. He fired it up with his momentum taking him right into the Lakers bench. The shot was down, and then up. Just missed. Ballgame. Unoficially, series over. What a basketball game.
Anyway, if those memories don’t get you primed for tonight, I don’t know what will.