Sunday, June 15, 2008

NBA Finals Pre-Game 5 Thoughts

  • And predictably, Kobe's defenders come charging out out to protect their wounded hero. Actually, there's an interesting little gamble being put together by me and Respect Kobe. It involves his ability to convince a panel of bloggers, three of his selection, three of mine, that Jordan was as fallible as Kobe. If he convinces the majority, we post an apology to Kobe (yes, another one. You'd think I would learn my lesson), Josh gets reins on HP for 12 hours, and I buy him a Lakers' championship or Western Conference championship shirt. That should be fun.
  • I do want to point out two things.
  • The first is that I'm not necessarily putting the game 4 debacle on him. For the most part, I think Kobe played a great game. He didn't try and do too much, he got his teammates involved before they started completely sucking, and for a time, tried to take over the game. I think he could have gone to the rack more in the very end of the game, but that's really nitpicking, and he deserves better. My only point regarding Jordan is that there is a clear separation between the two. Not that Kobe sucks because he's not Jordan, he's just not. And yes, Bulls teams blew late game lead. But not 24 points at home in the NBA Finals. That's an exaggerated feat, but I'll let Josh defend his premise on his own.
    Maybe he'll convince me, wouldn't be the first time.
  • This series is not done. A tenant of Hardwood Paroxysm is this. Everything amazing in sports that's been done was, at one point or another, said to have never been done. So coming back from 3-1 is far from impossible, especially with a team as good as this Lakers' squad. In a chat the other day, I was asked if the Lakers should make any offseason moves. I said no. Even though I'm not as certain as a lot of people that when Bynum gets back this will be the greatest team in the history of the NBA for eleventy billion years, this team still made it to the Finals, has the reigning MVP, and Gasol still hasn't been there very long. And this team can still very easily...okay, not very easily, but most assuredly can win the championship. But it's going to take a Lakers-Game-4-esque meltdown for three games by the Boston Celtics for it to happen.
  • My other response to the Kobe defense is this. Kobe wants this on him. He doesn't mind it anymore. This is his team. It has talent, it has weapons, and it is his team, win or lose. So don't just crucify his supporting cast, questionable as they may be, in order to protect your golden calf. Because that golden calf can take care of itself, and it wants the criticism, because that means he's arrived. And with that comes a certain responsibility.
  • For the Celtics, the question now mounting is the "will the veterans have enough left in the tank?" Which would be a valid question if they had four more weeks of basketball left. But they don't. The veterans will come with more than enough energy with a championship in sight.
  • Why in the name of everything holy is Doc starting Perkins tonight? He was ineffective before, and now he has a bum shoulder. That should help.
  • Keep Rondo in, that one I agree with. He provides a spark on both ends of the floor, and Phil hasn't let Farmar off the leash enough for that mismatch to hurt.
  • If Odom has a good game, a complete game, they win. It's that simple.
  • I know the legions won't believe me, but I'm actually rooting for the Lakers tonight. I want this to go as many games as possible, and while I had a lot of fun with that Lakers collapse, how much more fun would a Celtics subsequent collapse, forcing a game 7 be? I really don't care who wins this thing, and it's not Lakers hate. If the Suns had made it to Game 4 of the Finals, had a 24 point lead, and crapped the bed? There'd be just as many jokes. Same thing with the Hornets, though the Hornets would have the "never been here" card. Oh, yeah, which reminds me...
  • Don't act like this Lakers team has no experience. They have Lamar Odom, who's been in the playoffs several years. They have Derek Fisher, who's been around once or twice. They have Luke Walton, again, been in the first round, but at least it's the playoffs. And Kobe. So I don't think it's fair to say they have no experience. They just have bad experiences in the playoffs.
  • Interesting question, and one I don't have an answer for. Is Phil not taking this one as life or death because he knows they'll be here in this position for the next four years? It's possible, but with the Hornets and Blazers, would you really want to take that chance?
  • Enjoy Game 5, folks. Let's hope it's a good one.

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