On the John
And the Finals MVP trophy goes to…
Originally completed June 3, 2010
Neil the Boston Fan was fired up. “This is probably the least liked Celtics team that could possibly reach an NBA Finals. Because if there’s two things that Celtics fans hate, it’s flopping and Rasheed Wallace.”
Who else flops beside Sheed?
“Are you kidding??!! Perk for one. Rondo, huge flopper.”
“No, not Ray.”
“Some, but come on. You’re missing a big one.”
Ah, I know. Pierce.
“Paul friggin’ Pierce. God damn right.”
So you don’t buy all that Game 1 stuff, the wheelchair and all that…?
“He was carried off the court,” he said. “If you’re carried off the court… come on. Vince McMahon couldn’t have scripted a better phantom injury.
“Sheed is a thug. He basically taught everyone that the regular season is a crock. He’s money, so long as your currency is 8 minutes, 4 fouls, 1 tech, 4 points, and 1 board. You’ve got 11th man Sheldon Williams tweeting about Pierce’s injury. We traded Eddie House for some guy who can’t get off the bench. Just brutal.
“At least Rondo’s incredible now. Flopping aisde, he might be the best athlete on the floor at any given time. And KG might be a thug, but unlike Sheed, his intensity toward defense forces everyone else on the floor to also care about defense. Otherwise he might deck you. Ray Allen? I wish I could spend a day with that guy…
“Sadly, Kobe can be contained, but not stopped. He’s better than he was two years ago, better even than last year.”
“Celtics in 6.”
There you have it, straight from the Sully’s mouth. Spend a half hour bitching about your team, dissecting their flaws, claiming only one pure lining that isn’t even sport-related, (the dreamy wish to “spend a day with that guy”), and then pick that same team to win the series in six games? Homer move, pure and plain.
That sentiment should tell basketball fans just about all they need to know heading into the 2010 NBA Finals.
Picking your team to win in 6 is probably the least confident move a sports fan can make. True confidence leads to statements like: “Sweep! SWEEEEEEPPP!” Or maybe something like: “Oh, we got this. Lakers will sneak a game in there somewhere because of Kobe. But C’s in 5. No prah-blum!”
Or maybe if you just really, really, crazily believe, you might say something like: “You know what? I think we’re gonna pull it out. These guys just want it more. Kobe’s gonna get his, and we’re gonna go seven – ”
And then I would interrupt with something like: “You think the Celtics are winning Game 7 of the NBA Finals on the road in Los Angeles against Kobe freakin’ Bryant?”
And then you would smile and say: “I know man. I know. I just got that feeling.”
…but when you pick your team to win in 6 after Charles Martining them to the verbal turf, what you’re really saying is: “Look, I’m no dummy. I can see clearly who these guys are. But this is my team and this is the NBA Finals and there is no way on God’s green cloverleafed Earth that I’m going on the record and picking my guys to lose. ESPECIALLY against those frilly Lakers.”
Thus, Celtics in 6.
I sympathize. You never want to enter a championship round, (or even a round to enter a championship round), predicting Doom and Discomfort for the home team. Better to be fully objective AND in total denial.
That’s a tough spot, one Lakers fans know nothing about. Lakers fans are not stewing in the soup right now. Lakers fans are probably licking their stretched-and-pulled chops at the prospect of facing the Celtics again. Back in ’08, The Newly Acquired Pau Gasol was starting at center in place of Andrew Bynum. Lamar Odom was starting, and Vladimir Radmanovic was doing his damndest to goad KG to the three point line.
Tonight, Gasol will be back to his natural 4 spot, some portion of Bynum will be starting at center, Crazy Ron will be hounding Pierce from tip to horn, and Mr. Odom will enter it all at the six minute mark of the first to give the Lakers the mutability the Bulls once enjoyed with Pippen, Harper, Jordan, Kukoc, and Rodman.
And of course, in the middle of everything – the Lakers offense, the Celtics defense, the basketball-lovin’ world – will be The Man himself.
Earlier this week I watched Kobe’s 81 for the first time. Of all the incredible elements therein, most amazing was that the first 51 points came in the absolute flow of the game.
The Lakers actually trailed by 18 early in the third… Kobe contributed a quiet 26 in the first half… events did not grow cartoonish until around six and a half to play, when a jumper two feet from the bucket gave Kobe 61 and the Lakers a nine point lead. Until that point, incredibly, even with his team being embarrassed at home by the 14-26 Raptors, Kobe routinely started possessions by passing the ball to Smush Parker.
Seeing Kobe dribble and drain while surrounded by Parker, Chris Mimh, Kwame Brown, Brian Cook, and an unenthused Odom was Wasteful and Surreal, like seeing Denzel star in a Wayans Brothers movie two years after Training Day. What’s going on here? This is Denzel “Two Oscars” “King Kong ain’t got shit on me” Washington! Why is he trading moronic barbs with these bizarre looking White Chicks? What the hell is going on here??!!!
Denzel would have a serious breakdown if he found himself going to work each day with those characters. If he did it for two or three straight films, he might also exude the stench of boredom, frustration, and extreme petulance. That is, I’d imagine, part of the reason Denzel Washington of Mount Vernon, New York adopted the Los Angeles Lakers. He is a Master and Professional who bathes in brilliance, and the Lakers have been brilliant for the better part of their 62 seasons. 1958, 1975, 1976, 1994, 2005: the only five seasons that the Lakers have missed the postseason.
That last one was on Kobe’s watch, and boy was he ever dumped on. That’s just how it goes: Kobe was Unstoppable Force Premier in 2005, 6, and 7, and buried beneath so much mediocrity that fans and critics took him for garbage. Now he plays with two All-Stars and several dignified veterans, and he shines. He needn’t take every shot, only the big ones.
Lately, he’s hitting the big ones, the little ones, and everything else with startling frequency and bloodthirsty zeal. He just posted his best Western Conference Final of his storied career. He is riding a wave into the Finals bigger and bolder than any he ever has. He’s gunning for the Celtics. He’s gunning for LeBron, Wade, and Shaq. He’s gunning for Jordan, Magic, Kareem, and Wilt. He’s gunning for the 81 equivalent of an NBA Finals. He’s gunning for Neil. He’s gunning for us. He will draw blood. Mark my words.
Lakers in 6.
Copyright 2010, jm silverstein
Our President release party coming up! June 11th at Debonair! Performances by FiveSTAR, Eyes Manouche, Jason Gatz, The Atari Ferrari! Guaranteed to be the best show in Chicago that night, unless, ya know, you’re like super huge into Phish or something.
Big thanks to Chris Cason for bringing over the Kobe 81 DVD!
And, because you deserve it…