Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The NBA Finals = OK, I bonked

So I went 1-for-2 on the NBA Finals, right? I picked the number of games, I just missed out on who'd win.

And kudos to the Celtics, who humiliated the Lakers 131-92 last night to wrap up a series in which they completely outplayed their Western Conference opponents. Not since the Spurs whacked the Knicks has one team's defense so thoroughly stifled its opponent, and unlike the Lakers, the barely over .500 Knicks were never supposed to be a match for their opponent.

Look: I only preferred the Lakers because I cannot stand Bostonians (I lived there for a year when the Yankees-RedSox rivalry was relatively dormant and the place still sucked, what a racist dump).

Personally, I like KG and Ray Allen. Both are solid guys, good team players, not pigheaded and unselfish (aside from their desire to win). I like Doc Rivers -- he's a former Knick, was a decent coach in Orlando, did a fine job as a color commentator on NBA broadcasts and seems like a man with integrity. His new teeth are cool too (Doc was infamous for his UK quality orthodontics while he played). Pierce is a decent fellow, too.

And I cannot stand Phil Jackson, who is really looking more like the pathetic little man behind the curtain than the great and powerful wizard after his Lakers teams have been killed in their last two Finals appearances (they were a Kobe miracle away from getting swept by Detroit in '04, which wags called a "five-game sweep" after the Pistons dominated the games in Detroit). Don't be fooled: but for the Lakers' FT disparity in game 3 and a clutch defensive play in game 5 by Kobe, this series would have ended in LA. The Lakers never effectively adjusted to the Celtics, but the Celts had answers for LA's tactics. Jackson shepherded two all-time greats to glory (Jordan x6, Shaq x3) by helping them and the team get their mental approaches correct, but as a tactician he was outperformed by Doc this year, and by Larry Brown in '04. And nothing excuses a 39-point buttwhipping to lose the series in game 6.

Colin Cowherd was right when he observed after game 1 that the Celts got the shots they wanted (layups, open jumpers) a lot easier than the Lakers and if that continued in LA (it did), the Celts would win. Mike Tirico was right when he proclaimed on the radio in game 5 that "THE LAKERS ARE LAZY" as they stood watching the Celts charge after rebounds and Jordan Farmarr did a matador imitation while covering a Ray Allen drive. That's a problem. The Lakers never fixed it.

Congrats to the Celts.

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