Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Congrats to the Celts, Doc Rivers, and Paul Pierce. They showed how good they were, while the Lakers showed how little they cared. All the Celts certainly outplayed their counterparts, Doc showed up Phil Jackson, and Pierce put himself in close to the rest of the Celtic greats. Give credit to the Celts’ defense and toughness for their 17th championship. So much for the Laker-Celtic rivalry… As has been said, it’s only a rivalry if both sides win; it’s a feud if one dominates the meetings.

I spot-watched the first half of Game 6, getting more and more disgusted as the game went on. Of course, this continued my disgust from Game 5, which I didn’t bother to watch much of. The Lakers showed no passion, which speaks to their lack of desire, professionalism, and perhaps their unity. It has been suggested, while most of the Lakers seem to like each other, they don’t particularly care for Kobe (and maybe Phil).

On that note, where were Kobe and Phil this entire series? As Jim Rome said after Game 4, Kobe can forget all the MJ comparisons. There’s no way MJ would’ve let his team look as bad as the Lakers looked, and Kobe’s performance throughout the Finals seemed oddly lethargic. As much as people can talk about Kobe sharing the ball, this Finals was probably the opportunity for him to be more aggressive, while the other guys shared the ball and played four-on-four against the rest of the Celtics.

As for Phil, for being talked about as the best coach of the last thirty years, he looked remarkably inept. He made no major adjustments, couldn’t get his team to defend, couldn’t put enough wrinkles into the offense to get his scorers into position to make plays, and couldn’t find the right players to put on the floor. He was going for his 10th championship in 11 opportunitites and failed miserably. It looked like, as was noted in a number of outlets, that Doc Rivers was hungrier than Phil, which has to be true.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t blame just Kobe and Phil. The entire Laker team looked slow, unathletic, and dispassionate. They’d better find some guys to take roles similar to the Celts’ Eddie House, James Posey and Kendrick Perkins, while the “big three” of Kobe, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom better find some cajones. Where will Kobe go after his tirade last summer and the apparent change in his attitude during this season?

Okay, not to be too bitter, it was an amazing run to the Finals, which was unexpected at the start of the season. The Lakers really weren’t as good as everybody thought they were when they got Gasol, and they will have Andrew Bynum (hopefully) next year. They still need to get more athletic, defend better, and be mentally tougher, but they should still challenge next year.

Back in the 80’s with the Showtime group, they were wildly erratic, especially in the 1984 Finals. They came back to look pretty good in ’85, ’87, and ’88, so it might be possible for this team to do something similar. They just won’t have the air of mystique they would’ve had if they had won (or even competed) during this Finals.

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