BOSTON -- That was a tad late to remember who you are.
Just a bit late in the game, as they say, to suddenly remember where you are.
Playing for the NBA championship. An entire season's worth of effort on the line.
And for 41 minutes, the Lakers were an unrecognizable team. Played like they absolutely forgot what had gotten them to this point.
Don't get too excited over that belated comeback try. It certainly beat rolling over, but despite the would-be fourth-quarter heroics, the Lakers still came up short, were still left in one miserable position.
The Lakers played so badly for most of the game, were so completely lost and bewildered, that even a 31-9 run in the fourth quarter wasn't enough to pull out victory.
You have to play pretty horridly for the rest of the game to outscore a team by 22 points with a fourth-quarter charge and still lose 108-102 like the Lakers did to the Boston Celtics on Sunday night.
"We got anxious," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We got out of our offense."
The Lakers' biggest fear might be all that failed late charge really served to accomplish was to wake the Celtics up.
"We definitely learned a valuable lesson," Celtics forward Paul "Wheelchair" Pierce said.
That would be the poor hobbled Pierce who hurt his knee so severely in the opener that all he could do in Sunday's Game 2 was score 28 points and pass out eight assists.
The Finals now move to Los Angeles for three games, where the news is just about all bad for the Lakers. Only three teams have ever come back from a 2-0 deficit in the 62 years of the Finals to capture the championship.
The Lakers badly needed to take one of these first two games in Boston, yet after losing the opener and not looking too impressive in the process, they came out Sunday looking like ... looking like what?
They should have come out with a near-desperate quality, with their most determined and passionate effort of the season. Instead they were slapped around. Played with. Left looking frustrated and confused.
Staring down officials.
The Celtics led by 12 at the half and then just poured it on. Pushed their lead to 22 points by the end of the third quarter.
Second-year guard Rajon Rondo, he of the 16 assists, came down the court laughing at how easy it all was. Reserve Leon Powe - Leon Powe? - dominated inside with 21 points.
The Lakers sputtered and stalled. Let Boston completely determine the game's flow. Let them impose their will. By the middle of the fourth quarter, they were acting all giddy on the bench. Laughing it up, celebrating. Think I saw them measuring for a 17th banner.
The Lakers looked lost, confused. In their most important game of the season, they were completely out of sync. Point to that staggering free-throw disparity all you want - Boston took 38 free throws, L.A. just 10 - but it's not like the Lakers were the aggressive team.
"Leon Powe gets more foul shots (13) than our whole team does in 14 minutes," Jackson said. "That's ridiculous. You can't play from a deficit we had in that half ... I've never seen a game like that in all these years I've coached in the Finals. Unbelievable."
Unquestionably, some calls could have gone their way, but aggressive teams typically get the calls. And there's no question which was the more physical team early.
The Lakers stopped moving the ball. Stopped moving their feet. They didn't box out. They didn't dunk when they could. Didn't dive for loose balls, play consistently active defense, still looked too soft.
And dug a hole so deep, so dark, that even that stunning comeback - cutting a 24-point deficit to two with 38.4 seconds to play - couldn't save them, couldn't turn the game around.
"It means we're up 2-0," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.
That is what it means. That's what matters in the end, who wins, who comes away with control. And don't think for one second the Celtics are not in complete control. No matter how they might have backed off at the end while the Lakers suddenly rained 3-pointers - seven in the fourth quarter - the Celtics are in firm command heading to Staples.
The Celtics struggled on the road during the playoffs, before finally winning two at Detroit in the Eastern Conference finals. Yet Jackson's concern is hardly over which Boston team arrives at LAX.
"I'm not worried about which Celtics team shows up," he said. "I'm worried about what Lakers team shows up."
It had a better be a tougher one than the team that showed in Boston. Had better be one ready to play smart, dig in, play in control, be ready to draw a line in the sand and make its biggest stand of the season.
If that sporadic team shows up, the one that forgets ball movement and how to play aggressively, the Lakers could be looking at a sweep.
There is no time to back down, to do anything but play with zeal for four quarters. To play very unlike that strange Lakers team that was on the floor Sunday for the game's first 41 minutes.