A champion is crowned
First off, this is me eating crow...
And boy was I wrong...
[Phlip note - twice at that]
However, it is not often that I am so pleased to have been incorrect in assessments.
In previous posts, I was SURE that this was The LeBrons' year to take that ring, then he would immediately resign in Cleveland without issue.
Boy, was I gladly (and hilariously) wrong about that one.
Now, on to the business of things, here.
That, my two faithful readers, is what it feels like to be the BACK-TO-BACK champs!
Yes, I took shit from all angles on the Facebook and various forums for my undying fanship of the Lakers, up to and including the finals, in which I expected Paul Pierce to famously fake something like a hyperextended gall bladder and go to the locker room only to make a "heroic" return, as he is known to do.
Alas, it was not to be for them...
I will not say that the taking of this one was without worry. Decisively taking game one was nice, especially with a house full of well-fed people, but to turn and play like shit in the second game while Ray Allen has the game of his life was scary. Playing to the height of mediocrity in game 3 and still eking out a win was confidence-inspiring to say the least, and drew attention to the very reason why Trevor Ariza was allowed to skate to Houston in exchange for Ron Artest signing for the EXACT same money.
[Phlip note - a now one-ringed Ariza HAS to feel fucking stupid for that now]
I will not claim that this season and post season were not without their moments that worried me to no end... They, as ever, backed into the playoffs with terribly pedestrian play, and continued to play down to competition that was not quite on their level before demolishing in the first and third rounds.
As it were, coming into the finals, I was worried about what might take place when playing against a team whose parts were about evenly matched, especially knowing that the star and at least one of his Merry Men were not at 100% to begin with.
In so much, I can NOT say that I am sitting here saying "I told you so," because I really fuckin didn't this time.
As a fan of the team that took this thing home, I am as pleased as can be.
[Phlip note - I'm a realist, not a psychic]
That said, I will gladly jump on the Facebooks, still a fan of the now defending champs as people complain about officiating and how the Lakers were "lucky," as I have been hearing for the whole of 3 rounds before this one, plus the regular season.
This was the first series in which there was a legitimate challenge, and it showed in the fact that for the first time in his career, Phil Jackson had to work a full 7-game series. I found that hard to buy, what with 10 rings on his fingers, that he had NEVER coached a game 7 with Chicago or LA.
Things started off really pretty, with a commanding win in game one, followed by the first home loss of the post season in game 2, return to the way things should be done in game three and then an epic (and fucking SCARY) disconnect in games 4 and 5.
The hate from all of Boston's new fans came from everywhere for the entire 2 months of the playoffs, but never any more hard body than in the last 2 weeks.
Yes, this was a SHITTILY officiated series, but the calls going BOTH ways were horrible. Far too many fouls called, too many free throws shot, too much control given to the refs in this series. It took them WAY too long in this one to step the fuck off and let the players play playoff basketball, and by that time they were in so deep that by even doing THAT, they were pegged as wrong for not making the calls.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't. It is the league's fault for not using the best refs for the finals, then daring the coaches to complain with the specter of a fine (larger if Phil complained, by the way) if they did.
Anyway, if games 1-3 (or 4) were decided by the refs, at least that resulted in this coming down to a 3-game series in which the games were won and lost on the floors. We learned -- yet again -- that for all his transcendent talents, Kobe Bryant cannot do it alone, and that he needs a big man to get there. Bynum playing hurt and Gasol playing soft made this series a 7-gamer when it could have well ended in 5, 6 tops.
Oh well, it is all over now... Kobe will have his 5th ring delivered to him in about 5 months. All is right with my world. Say what you will about him (more on that in a later post), but his hall of fame pedigree and move on the legacy of my own favorite Laker ever, Magic Johnson, are etched in history now if they weren't before.
Speaking of LeBron, we can all ignore the success of the champion of a 32-team league in favor of the plight of one player who still lacks a championship.
Oh well, I am (mostly, got one more in the pipeline) done with basketball until October now, see you this fall!