NBA Playoffs

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a basketball FANATIC.

I can watch pro ball at anytime, so long as I am sober enough to comprehend and awake enough to be cognizant.
Yes, I am a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, and I would STILL be a fan of the Lakers if Kobe Bean Bryant left the team tomorrow...

I can fully respect the body of LeBron James' work this season, but I have been preaching to all that would listen that he just was not "there" yet, and by "there" I mean "where they actually BEAT someone who is 'somebody'." More on that in a while, I promise...
At the beginning of the season, we were all instilled with "King James" and "I am a witness" and all that extra shit about LeBron James, he was installed as the 2008/09 league MVP before the FIRST jump ball was thrown in the air on October 28th, 2008. I commend LeBron for keeping the pedal to the floor and enjoying a soft schedule for the duration of the regular season to lead the league in wins, then the weakest schedule of anyone in the playoffs, playing the worst 2 teams not already on vacation. What I chide them for, though, is behavior as if this was some kind of divine -- as evidenced by coverage on ESPN, TNT, and their respective websites -- edict that the playoffs would be a cakewalk for them, no one would even come CLOSE to challenging them en route to the inevitable championship.

Oops...

Take a walk with me here... In the regular season, The LeBrons split 4 games (2-2 for those of you in need of retard chinstraps) with the Boston Celtics, lost 2 of 3 to the Orlando Magic and blew BOTH games to The Lakers, while sweeping the Denver Nuggets in 2 games. That equates to a 5-6 record against the best of the best by a team who is supposed to be the best OF the best? Sheeit... Showtime Lakers put a bunch of points up on people and allowed few, Bird Celtics never let up and made you look dumb, Bad Boys Pistons literally kicked your ass for 48 minutes, Jordan's Bulls were already better than everyone, but were so such adept to get rule changes slighted in their favor, no haps. Hell, even the Kobe/Shaq Lakers were that much better than the rest of the league.
This group that LeBron Raymone James currently helms has no real major triumphs to their credit. 2 years ago, they beat an aging Pistons with terrible team chemistry half a Ben Wallace (who Cleveland now EMPLOYS) en route to being KILLED in 4 games by the Spurs. Yes, swept.
I would be inclined to give them a pass on the 2007/08 playoffs as a result of being beaten by the eventual champions, who were just simply better than anyone who might have been placed in front of them -- yes, even my Lakers.

The problem honestly begins in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Kobe Bryant, reigning MVP (and 'real' best player in the league) leads the US to Gold.
Yeah, this is the 'more on that later' from earlier...
The problem (well, Kobe's problem as presented) was that in order to win in China, he would naturally have to work out, practice, workout, practice, workout, practice and do the shit that perfectionists do. This is a "problem" in application, because the people who were his colleagues/teammates for this round robin (anyone care to explain how a round robin works?) tournament would resume being his closest competitors when they return to their day jobs 11 weeks later.
Whaddyadamned know... Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr. (who in the FUCK decided it should be spelled like that, not once but twice?) leads the league in scoring and has a case for MVP, Carmelo Kiyan Anthony (who I hope enjoys the vacation he got for his birthday tonight) has a breakout season, winning more than he has ever, playing better and more entertaining ball, and then there is LeBron, who has an MVP season.

Need a parallell?
Michael Jordan did NOT do the 1996 Olympics... After the 92 ones, all around him not claiming to be HIV Positive had breakout seasons, including an MVP seasons from Barkley and Stockton becoming a step better in the league's heirarchy.

What does that mean?
He showed them his hand... Basically, a cliff's notes on "why is he better than us, and what we can do to bridge the gap." D-Wade and LeBron acted immediately, Melo was quiet about the effectiveness of the lesson until the playoffs, but has turned it up when it has counted to this point. I am discounting the fact that Kobe will be weeks short of 34 and likely on the downside of a 17-year career by the 2012 Olympics when I say that he will more than likely NOT be doing the Olympics again. Even when THAT counted, the team stood and watched Kobe monster on Spain in the 4th quarter of the gold medal game. Concession of Alpha Male status, perhaps? Fact remains, though, that if Kobe does not do the Olympics, D-Wade, Melo and LeBron ALL have about another year or 2 before fully turning the corner.


Back to The LeBrons...
Ran through the league, beating no one in particular to the tune of 66 regular season wins. Monster on the worst teams in the playoffs for 2 rounds, then come up against a legitimate contender.
What happens?
4 games in and the only thing that saves them from being swept is an off-balance, shitty-mechanics, at-the-buzzer 3-pointer from LeBron. They got one off in game 5 to get a step closer, thus removing the sting of an inevitable failure to be what everyone -- "fans" who dislike others for no reason, who believe the hype or just don't REALLY watch and comprehend basketball at the same time -- was convinced they were in the face of the fact that they're far and away the same damned team who was swept in the finals 2 years ago, just with better scrubs surrounding the big dog on the team.

I will say this right here and now... The Cleveland Cavaliers will NOT beat Orlando 2 more games.
Screencap it, I will not edit it later if I am wrong.

*BUT*

As a Lakers' fan, I do NOT want to play against the Magic next week, fresh off of a beating of the LeBrons.



... to be continued...
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