Big Baby

Note: First, I'd like to thank Hersey for the photo of Big Baby posing with the Larry O'Brien Trophy. (Supahstah!!) Second, excuse me if this post is rambling and poorly written. I've been waiting 22 years for this. As a consequence: I can't brain today. I have the dumb.

The Los Angeles Lakers: Damn. I mean...damn. Game 6 was a massacre. It was a slaughter of epic, even Biblical proportions. And I'm talking real wrath-of-God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the sky! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years Forty-eight minutes of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes! The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together...MASS HYSTERIA!

Okay. I think I've reached my quota of Waltonisms for the day.

But seriously, sitting -- and jumping, and dancing, and high-fiving -- through that carnage was the basketball-viewing equivalent of watching a kitten get skinned alive and dropped into a piranha tank. The Lakers lost by 39 points. I'm going to type that out again because I find it strangely erotic: L.A. lost by 39 freaking points. And yes, that is indeed an NBA Finals record for margin of victory in a championship clencher. The Celtics started the game intense, and that intensity seemed to grow and grow and kept on growing until the Laker spirit was broken like a little piece of something that is very breakable.

I have not witnessed a defeat so brutal -- so irrevocably and unquestionably final -- since this one time at Mardi Gras when an unnamed buddy dragged me back out to a bar at 4 a.m. so he could hook up with a skanky waitress who had clearly (to me at least) been flirting with him several hours previously for the express purpose of selling as many shots as possible. We found her crumpled against a wall and looking miserable. She had a tray with three shots left. My buddy went straight up to her and, with all the eagerness of a puppy humping a leg, asked when her shift ended. She said: "As soon as I sell these last three shots, I get to leave." He then asked what she was doing "later" (read that: can we have sex?). She groaned and replied: "I'm going home. I've been working for 12 hours straight. I'm so tired. And before I even came to work, my baby daddy grabbed me by the throat and slammed me against a wall. So it's been a long day." Then she kind of whimpered and added: "Please. I just wanna go home..."

My buddy pulled out a $20 bill and said: "I just want you to be happy." Then he wadded the cash into a ball, stuffed it back into his pocket, and walked away. That is pure and unfiltered superdickery, my friends. I think the poor girl would have burst into tears if she'd had any strength left. Either that or punk-slapped him. One or the other.

(For the record, he claims he does not remember doing this, and that he wouldn't have done it if he hadn't been almost-falling-down drunk. But he still laughs every time I retell the story, so I can't help but wonder...)

I have to admit: I had mixed feelings about the blowout. On the one hand, I loved it. I'm not going to pretend to be one of those fans who wants his team to win in thrilling, last-minute fashion. I like it when they secure the game early so I can wipe the sweat off my hands and just enjoy it. Plus, it eliminates any what-ifs. I mean, had the game been close, we might have had to listen all summer to Laker fans saying it could have gone either way.

On the other started to feel a little anti-climactic in the fourth quarter. Except for a spurt of aggression here or there, it felt like the Lakers were just playing out the clock. Or maybe it just felt that way. I don't know. It hasn't even been 24 hours and I feel like I'm losing a little perspective. So let me get into some individual insults...

Mark Jackson: This guy has been slobbing Kobe Bryant's knob since the playoffs started. Is he on the Lakers' payroll? Is he an official member of Mamba's posse? What's the deal? It reached the point where I made the conscious decision to smash my TV if I heard him call Kobe "the best player in the world" one more time. (Fortunately for me and my TV, I changed my mind.) During (I think) the second quarter last night, Jackson uttered the following brain-turd: "Paul Pierce realizes that Kobe Bryant is the better player, the best player in the world, but he says 'You know what, that doesn't mean I can't outplay him in a seven-game series.'" As Basketbawful reader Jin pointed out in an e-mail: "I'm not entirely sure, but doesn't outplaying someone in a seven-game series generally mean they aren't better than you, and that they aren't the best player in the world?" Generally, yes, that's exactly what it means.

Bottom line (and I've been saying this for years): Being the best scorer does not mean being the best player. Have we all finally learned this? Michael Jordan just so happened to be both the best scorer and the best player. Kobe is one but not the other. End of argument. (For now.) Speaking of Mamba...

Kobe Bryant: Kobe started out on fire in the first quarter -- 11 points, 4-for-5 shooting, a trio of triples -- just like in Game 5. And just like in Game 5, he cooled off in a big way. Actually, it was worse than a cooling off. It was a freaking Ice Age. Kobe scored 11 points and shot 3-for-15 over the final three quarters. He finished with 3 boards, 1 assist and 4 turnovers. And frankly, his performance didn't even feel that good. I haven't seen Mamba go down that meekly since that infamous Game 7 against the Suns in 2006.

Let it be known far and wide that, for this season at least, the Boston Celtics shut down Kobe Bryant. I mean, I honest-to-goodness stopped fearing him. Up until last night, I had been waiting for Kobe to have an Elgin Baylor game (so named for the time Elgin dropped 61 on the Celtics in the 1962 Finals). It didn't happen. And going into last night's game, I finally realized it wasn't going to happen. Not this year. Not against this team. Not against this defense.

Phil Jackson: The Lakers are young and, once Andrew Bynum gets back, they should be strong enough to contend for a title for the next three or four years (barring injury). So I guess he'll have another few cracks at surpassing Red Auerbach for most titles won by an NBA coach. But it didn't happen this year. Phil was outcoached by the combination of Doc Rivers (who knew exactly how to reach his players) and Tom Thibodeaux (whose defensive schemes, I'm convinced, could hold off an alien invasion). I love that this happened during the same season in which he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The best part is, his little faux Zen mind tricks didn't work. And they just made him look like the big, slimy douche he's always been (it just looks better when you're winning). He openly questioned and mocked Paul Pierce after his Game 1 knee injury, which would be fine if he was simply a fan...but as an opposing coach, that was pretty low class. He whined about the officiating in Game 2. He made unsubstantiated claims that Kevin Garnett was talking trash to Kobe after the Celtic comeback in Game 4. And last night he looked simply disgusted with his team for most of the night. And yeah, maybe he had a right to be, but it's hard not to compare his "I can't believe my guys are shitting the bed" reaction to Doc Rivers' "Don't stop believing!" mantra when his team was down 24 in Game 4. Phil's behavior led to greater disintegration. Doc's led to the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history. 'Nuff said.

Pau Gasol: I have dubbed him the Spanish Marshmallow, but now I have to question that decision. I'm not sure he's even that tough. He is soft and week. I read somewhere this morning that he was "terrified" of the expectations put on him by the Lakers organization and fans. Well, I can believe it. Hey, maybe that Kwame Brown trade wasn't such a steal after all. (I'm kidding; it totally was.)

For the record, people should not lay this loss at the feet of Lamar Odom. Yes, he shot 2-for-8. But he went to the line 16 times and had a team-high 10 rebounds. I'm just sayin'...

The Lakers' rebounding: They got pounded on the boards 48-29 and had only 2 offensive rebounds (one each for Kobe and Sasha Voojychick) compared to 14 for the Celtics.

The Lakers' butterfingers: They turned the ball over 19 times. And 18 of those were Celtic steals, which constituted an NBA Finals record for a single game. The Lakers big guns (Kobe, Gasol, Odom) had 12 of those bumbles.

Certain Lakers fans: The Purple and Gold army didn't get to watch Game 6 on the big screen at the Staples Center because of what happened during a similar setup for Game 2: A Celtics jersey was attacked by a mob and struck with a chair. Ultimately, this was probably a good thing for them. But still...what a bunch of idiots. Who does that? Lakers fans, apparently. (And no, I'm not laying this tag on all L.A. fans.)

Certain Celtics fans: Hey guys. I'm happy for the Celtics, too. But don't desecrate Red's statue, mmmkay? There's a right way to celebrate and a wrong way. That's the wrong way.

Speaking of which, several idiots were arrested in Boston after the game for "tearing apart park benches, flipping over flower pots, trash barrels, and newspaper boxes, and trying to light fires with the garbage." What is it about winning that makes people start acting like rabies victims? Want to see some of the damned fools in action? Here you go:


Michelle Tafoya: She provided more proof -- as if we needed any -- that all sideline reporters (with the possible exception of Cheryl Miller) are inane and useless. Look, ABC (and anyone else who broadcasts live sporting events): If you want window dressing, just hire a Hooters girl and show her on air every 10 minutes or so. We don't need updates like "This is taking a lot longer than it should to wash out an eye." Nor do we want them. I didn't just arrive on this planet. I know it takes about two seconds to wash out an eye, okay?

Kevin Garnett: He's my boy and all, but post-game interview with Michelle was insane enough to earn him a lifetime's worth of Tommy Points. I'm not going to say anything else about it. Watch for yourself.

Update! Sam Cassell: Oops. I almost forgot Sam-I-Am. Last night he earned two things: A DNP-CD and an NBA title. His game of championship piggyback is now complete. (Thanks for the reminder, Rainbow Brite.)

Update! Basketbawful readers Austen and Mithat both noticed that thought the Lakers won 92-131 last night. And Mithat even got me a screen capture...


Update! Brian Scalabrine: Best. Press conference. Ever. I never knew Brian had such a cutting wit. Or any wit at all. (Thanks, Danny.)

Update! Me: In today's NBA Closer column on Deadspin, I noted that Rajon Rondo had a great game in the face of the fact that everybody outside of the Boston locker room had given up on him. I had also said, more than once, that he should have been benched in favor of Eddie House or even The Human Gun (aka Sam Cassell). The Lakers has so disregarded his offense that Rondo looked afraid to shoot, especially in L.A. To his credit, he came out aggressive last night. And even though he wasn't hitting early, he kept jacking it up and finished with 21 points on a team-high 20 shots. Moreover, his aggressiveness spilled over onto the defensive end, where he had a game-high 6 steals (the entire Laker team, by contrast, had a total of 4 steals). My point: Doc knew what he was doing in sticking by the kid...and I was wrong.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
While we're losing the sidelines "reporters," can we also shit-can the Wired segments? Don't get me wrong, I'd absolutely wet myself at the chance to actually hear, uncensored, the happenings in a Jerry Sloan locker room, or find out if Kobe and Phil sound like the douches they appear to be, but that can't happen for some pretty obvious reasons.

And since that leaves us stuck with just 5-10 seconds of insightful bits like "Good job! D-up!" and "Over there!"? Just lose the whole thing.

In fact, the only drama wiring coaches has brought to the game was the brief moment last night when I wondered if Doc Rivers might get electrocuted when Paul Pierce dumped the Gatorade on him, then spent the next ten minutes debating with my wife whether or not he'd get charged with involuntary manslaughter as a result. (probably not in Boston, but if they'd won in LA?)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I wouldn't call Kobe the best scorer in the league. Bron led the league this past year. yea Kobe dropped 81 last year or a couple years ago..whatever. If i needed someone to get a ton of buckets for me I'd still call AI first. Kobe is only the best at getting undue praise. He's not the best player Duncan still is and Bron is closing fast(among a couple others) He's not the best scorer. He's talented but shit man. Its like nobody can just flat out criticize Kobe it always comes with a disclaimer. He's not the best but he is the best in this series, or he's not as good as jordan but he's top 5 all time. What's with all the buts? Just make a statement about him and leave it alone. I'll say this a team always follows its leader and in this series the Lakers stunk up the joint, they folded. So what does that say about Kobean?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
That game gave me a woody that lasted for more than 2 hours, WITHOUT VIAGRA.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The best use of the mics was near the end of the game after the C's sat their starters. All of a sudden the sound kept cutting in and out. At first I thought they were having technical difficulties. Then I realized it was the censor delay.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
My favorite moment was Kobe's smirks and smiles after the first quarter. Oh how quickly they faded. Sorry Kobe.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I loved it. Only thing it was missing was the human victory cigar known as Sam Cassell (DNP-CD) and of course Kobe throwing a shit-fit like that goof Sasha.

And that KG interview almost put him up there with Stephen Jackson and Ron Ron.

Blogger Pulp said...
The thing the guy on the far right of the statue picture was smoking didn't look like a cigar.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
As someone who's been a KG fan longer than he's been a basketball fan: that post-game interview was one of the best things I've ever seen on television.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Since everyone seems to want to talk about Kobe, I'll give my take on him in this series. I think he's still trying to figure out how to balance what he was in years past with what he was this past year. I think he got so much praise and the MVP award for being patently unselfish all year and by involving his teammates and all that, that when it came time for him to really just take over on the world's biggest stage he didn't even try to. Right till the end he kept playing the same way he did all year. Maybe he was afraid he'd be criticized if he suddenly went for 35+ shots and his team lost (he probably would have been), or maybe he just truly believed the Lakers were only going to win if everyone contributed equally, I don't know.

This whole series I kept thinking about Jordan in the 1993 Finals, specifically in Game 4 when Jordan took 37 shots, got 18 free throws and scored 55 points. In that game Jordan just decided beforehand that he was going to drive to the basket all game long, and in doing so he dominated the game and willed his team to victory (of course, the 1993 Suns were not a great defensive team, which helped). Like Mr. Bawful, I was waiting for Kobe to have one of those types of games, but he never did. What was most surprising wasn't that he didn't come up huge like that, but that he didn't even try to. For all his reputation about how selfish Kobe is, and for all the predictions of people like Bill Simmons about how Kobe would revert to "me mode" in the face of adversity, in the Finals Kobe only averaged 21.8 shots per game; and after the Lakers went down 0-2 Kobe only took 20, 19, 21 & 22 shots in Games 3, 4, 5 & 6, respectively. The thing was, Kobe should have been more selfish in this series, and should have taken around 30 shots in many of these games. The game's ultimate selfish player in the end seemed to resemble more what Kevin Garnett's reputation has been over the years, in that he just never displayed that attitude that the greats usually have in wanting to take over and dominate the game.

Clearly you have to give Boston's defense a lot (maybe most) of the credit for this. If they hadn't done the same thing to LeBron James in round two (22.1 shots per game for LBJ), then it would be easier to just say that Kobe came up small, but the Celtics just totally stymied the two greatest scorers in the league in a matter of weeks. People may debate whether Kobe or LeBron is the better scorer, but make no mistake: those two guys are the two best scorers in the game. LeBron is the most dominant scorer and Kobe is the most versatile scorer and Boston flat out shut both of them down, and did it by mainly just taking their shot attempts away from them. Would 1993 Jordan have been able to drive for 37 layups and 18 free throw attempts on this Celtics team? I have my doubts, although Jordan was definitely a better slasher/driver than either Kobe or LeBron is, and Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant were better than anyone on either the Lakers or Cavs this year (outside of Kobe & LeBron, of course).

I think Kobe may take an important lesson away from this postseason and these Finals and he may learn in the future to have a better instinct for when to really take over the game, something Jordan was an absolute master of in the 2nd half of his career. This year though, and in these Finals, it seemed as though the pendulum had swung too far in the other direction with Kobe and he just wasn't greedy and selfish enough, and it might have cost his team wins in a couple games in this series (not last night, of course, but maybe in Game 4 at least). The Lakers will be back next year, albeit with a slightly different roster. Bynum should return, and there are a couple free agents the Lakers may or may not re-sign, and it's even possible they could go dangling Odom on the trade market this summer, but the Lakers have enough good pieces to put together another contender next season.

The Celtics are more up in the air though. The Big 3 should be back, but a year older and much more satiated will probably have some effect on them, but then the youth of the bench (and Rondo/Perkins) may offset that to a great degree. Some of the key vets may consider this their swan song and choose to retire (Cassell & PJ Brown), and it's possible that Posey will go elsewhere this summer (I've seen some rumors that have him signing with the Lakers of all teams, though I don't know if LA really needs yet another role player small forward unless they can find someone to take Radmanovic and Walton off their hands, which is unlikely). Of course the main question regarding the Celtics may be what happens to Tom Thibodeaux, and if he leaves what effect that will have on the Celtics' marvelous defense. Much remains to be seen, but I would assume that both the Lakers and the Celtics will both be back in the title hunt next year and we very well could see a rematch a year from now.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Something you could add: Apparently during the first quarter Kobe was jawing with some Boston fans, saying "Not tonight." I suppose it was an accurate enough statement but not in the way he presumably intended. When you back up the talk you look awesome, when you don't you look pathetic.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
justin -- Agreed. Wired needs to go. Like, yesterday.

aaron -- I wasn't trying to add a disclaimer to my criticism (and trust me, nobody criticizes Kobe any more as I do). But perhaps I should have said, rather than "best scorer," that Kobe is the most versatile scorer (as Wild Yams also pointed out). If I had to pick one scorer to defend the world, it would be either Kobe or LeBron, and it would depend on what kind of alien menance were were facing.

wormboy -- Dude, I still HAVE my woody. Medically speaking, I'm probably way past the danger zone.

joe -- Heh, yeah, that was awesome.

anonymous -- True dat. Kobe was also talking to the Boston fans in the first quarter. At one point he said something like, "Not tonight!" Very reminiscent of him holding his hand to his ear Hulk Hogan-style to mock the Phoenix fans back in '06.

rainbow brite -- You are so right. In fact, I just added Sam to the post. Thanks!

pulp -- It was, uh, probably just cloves or something. Or something...

jonathan -- Putting aside my "slightly biased" hat and putting on my "totally biased" hat...I completely agree. I was so happy for that dude, I could have peed myself. That was as close to pure joy as somebody can get, and he freaking earned it. Fan-fucking-tastic.

Wild Yams -- Total agreement. One of the things I've always disliked about Kobe as a basketball player is how he doesn't seem to "get" it. Not the way that the Birds and Jordans and Magics and et al.'s got it: When to work within the team concept and when to take over. For most of his career, his solution to any problem was to take over. The "new Kobe" trusts his teammates, almost to a fault.

The funny thing is, the very same thing happened with Wilt Chamberlain back in the day. At first he lost because he was selfish and only cared about scoring. Later he lost because he wouldn't step up and assume the scorer's role when his team needed it most.

And Bill Russell thought Wilt didn't "get" it.

That "getting it" thing is so subjective. You can't quantify it and it's hard to explain (especially if someone is determined to disagree). But my hesitency to annoit Kobe as The Best has been because of that. Steve Nash doesn't have half of Kobe's physical talent, but he knows when to set up his teammates and when to score. It just comes naturally to him.

It's not natural for Kobe. He has to force it. The one thing that comes naturally to him is to score. And when that's taken away from him -- which doesn't happen often -- Kobe seems helpless.

Anyway, just random thoughts. I still can't brain.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wow. KG is (in a frankly disturbing way) reaching a point where his intensity could drive him to total insanity... I guess he's this close to the Tyson Zone.

Imagine if KG was the President of the USA. Not only would he invade Iraq (and then Siria and then Iran and then maybe even Sri Lanka), but he also would lead the troops in first line, believing he could smother Iraqi houses just whistling. Hmmm. Disturbing enough.

PS: word verification: kbron. Is a strange human being who wears a jersey #47 and has the monopoly over NBA Top 10?

PPS: I need Mario West news! Is he alive?

Blogger acnefighter said...
Wild Yams, that is an excellent post.

For the record, I'm sick of people saying this loss taints Kobe's legacy, he's overrated, etc. Lebron James frickin got swept out of the NBA Finals, it didn't do jack to his "legacy", why should it hinder Kobe's? Shaq's lost in the Finals before with the Magic, yet his legacy reminas intact, obviously because he won more rings later on, but who's to say Kobe won't win any more rings?

People just love t give knee-jerk reactions. People forget that the Lakers were not even supposed to be here, and we can take solace in the fact that they did push the Celtics to 6, even though the Celtics proved themselves to be much more dominant. Kobe can't win, no matter what he does.

If he had won the championship, it would have been: "Kobe only won because he got Pau Gasol handed to him", or something similar.

Now that he lost, it's: "Kobe Bryant should have been in "me-mode", he should have turned into Jordan. He's not Jordan, he's overrated."

The media in general loves to give knee jerk reactions to everything. When Lebron lost last year, I didn't sweat anything about him because I knew that his team was crap and there was no way they would beat the Spurs. Coming into this series, I thought the Lakers would win because they dismantled the Western Conference, but Boston's had thier number the entire year, and in the end, the Big Three was way too much. Let's not forget the fact that every other Laker except Mamba and Pau, and sometimes Lamar, played absolutely BRUTAL basketball most of this series.

Blogger Austen said...
How about a Worst of the Night for For most of the night after the game, their scoreboard on the lefthand side of the home page had the Lakers hightlighted as winning 92-131! What a history-making moment!

They have since fixed that error, but not before I got a picture of it. A link to follow...

Blogger mrblinky said...
Nothing about Scalabrine's press conference performance?!

For being scrimmage-fodder this season (career), the man talks a sick game...

Blogger Basketbawful said...
farfa -- Word has it that Mario got a seven-second stint in a church league game last weekend.

karma -- I agree that it doesn't taint Kobe's legacy. Particularly since (as Yams once pointed out) this is just one chapter of an ongoing career. It does alter the current perception of him, though.

austen -- Added! And I even got the graphic from another reader. Good catch!

What about the fact that the best defensive player IN THE WORLD spent his time covering the worst offensive player on the Cs. Shouldn't he have been covering Pierce? Would Jordan ever have allowed that to happen?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful, I disagree with you about Nash: I think he too often seems to fully not understand when to step up and take over as a scorer late in games. That's way off topic though.

Kobe is an eternally fascinating person and player, with one of the most complex mental makeups I've ever seen in sports. It's a big part of why he's so discussed, I think, because he's just so damned impossible to figure out. I think that Kobe could "get it" but I think he's spent a long time trying to untangle himself from a mental web of garbage that has kept him from just letting his game flow for years. I think Kobe was a bizarre person when he came into the league and was suddenly thrust (or he suddenly thrust himself) into The Shaquille O'Neal Legacy, and it really screwed him up. The endless criticisms by coaches, teammates, the media, etc I think made him at first just withdraw in himself and stubbornly go about his "pursuit of greatness" or whatever.

Eventually after the rape case was dropped and Shaq was in Miami, Kobe found he had to re-emerge and try to be what he had always wanted himself to be, and what the media, his teammates and fans wanted to be. I genuinely think he's just been confused for a long time now. I think he was confused early in his career that the coaches and Shaq were upset with him for what he perceived as "trying to be as good as he could", and I think he's confused now about how to balance being the best player out there by performing as an individual and within the context of the team. I think most people mistakenly think he's so super in control of what he's doing, and that he's extremely calculated, but I genuinely think he's often somewhat lost.

The reaction people had to Game 7 of the 2006 Suns series always struck me as odd, how people said he was tanking or trying to make a statement or something. I mean, why would he tank and what statement would he make by doing that? It was already his team at that point, so what good would it do to intentionally lead them to a spectacular failure? In that game you had a guy who shot a lot in the first half and hardly at all in the second half, and his team got killed in both halves (outscored by 15 in the first half, outscored by 16 in the second half). To me he just looked like a guy who was confused about what to do. In Games 3 & 4 of that series Kobe scored 17 & 24 points and didn't lead the Lakers in scoring in either game, yet the Lakers won them both. Then in Game 6 he scored 50 and the Lakers lost. I think he really just didn't know what he was supposed to do by Game 7, and after trying to "take it over" with no success in the first half of that game, he tried it the other way with no success either. Much like this year, I think the real difference was just that his Lakers ran into a better team and you couldn't deny that in the end.

This year it looked like he'd better figured out how to balance that until he ran into the buzzsaw that is the Celtics' defense. Like I said, it would be easier to criticize Kobe's small Finals performance if not for LeBron's equally small performance against these same Celtics just a few weeks ago; but even so you still would think Kobe should have been shooting it more than 22 times a game in this series. I will give Kobe this though: he does seem to be learning and is always trying to improve his game, this whole season was a clear indication of that. I have a feeling he'll eventually figure it out and he's just going through the growing pains of learning how to lead a team on his own, just as Jordan had to. For now though, Kobe definitely seemed unsure of exactly what he needed to do to lead his team to victory. However, ultimately it may have just been out of his control - Boston seemed to me to be the clearly better team. Kobe coulda gone for 50 last night but it still wouldn't have fixed the defensive holes inherent in this Bynum-less Laker team.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
danny -- Dude, right on. The post has been updated.

dan l -- Well, the thing is, I'm sure that putting Kobe on Rondo was Jackson's idea. He did the same thing with Jordan back in the day. Go back and watch the '97 Finals and you'll see Jordan guarding Greg Foster. In the '98 Eastern Conference Finals, he guarded the slow-as-mud Chris Mullin while Ron Harper harrassed Reggie Miller (but note that Miller guarded Jordan).

So yeah, probably wasn't Kobe's idea. BUT...Jordan, in the same situation, would have demanded to guard Pierce if Pierce was obviously killing his team. Hell, Pierce wanted Kobe in Game 4, bad knee and all. I have to tell you, though, Kobe looked tired.

Blogger Hersey said...
Good points Yams

To back up what you said: in the Game 7 showdown with the Cavs (the best game of the playoffs IMHO) Lebron took 29 shots and 19 free throws for 45 points in a game EVERYONE knew he would try to take over. The Cavs only mustered 92 points but barely lost. I was thinking this would be the game Kobe would go into Mamba mode because it was so obvious the team needed it. He didn't and they got DESTROYED.

He passed well in the series but it seems to me a big scoring night would have opened some things up for his teammates and lifted some pressure. He just launched a ton of jumpers, didn't really create and the Lakers quit Just like in 06 against the Suns.

Kobe needs another All Star if he's gonna win a title. Gasol has made one All Star team and probably won't make another given the quality of bigs in the West. There are few exceptions to that pattern. Jordan had Pippen, who was a top 50 player. Hakeem Olajuwon in 1994 is the only exception I can think of but he clearly the best player in the league for that brief post Jordan period.

Plus that Rockets team was balanced and 'clutch'- coming back from losing 2 home games to beat my Suns in 7 and holding off the Knicks in 7 games. In 1995 he repeated with Clyde Drexler, another top 50 player.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Dan L - "What about the fact that the best defensive player IN THE WORLD spent his time covering the worst offensive player on the Cs. Shouldn't he have been covering Pierce? Would Jordan ever have allowed that to happen?"

First of all, Kobe is not the best defensive player in the world; but I wanted to respond to this as a great example of how people mis-remember Jordan and/or use their faulty memory of Jordan to bash Kobe whenever they can. Jordan was a great, great defender, and anyone who tries to deny that is just stupid. However, it was usually Pippen who guarded the opposing team's best offensive player, not Jordan. The reason for that is the same one that accounts for why Phil had Kobe guarding Rondo instead of Pierce: Kobe needed all his energy to score, and he needed to stay out of foul trouble just to make sure he stayed in the games.

The Celtics had the luxury of having 3 very quality players they could throw at Kobe without having to totally disrupt their offense to do it. Allen, Posey and Pierce all took time guarding Kobe while the Celtics' team defense was able to focus on him as well. The Lakers happened to be the absolute weakest defensively at the position that Pierce plays, and Pierce and the Celtics exploited that masterfully in this series. But Kobe alone wearing himself out on defense and saddling himself with fouls by trying to stick Pierce in every game wouldn't have delivered the Lakers a title, and trying to lay that on Kobe as the reason for why the Lakers lost is just not being honest.

Usually the better team wins in a seven game series, even if the losing team happens to have the best individual talent. Jordan's Bulls lost for years despite having the world's best player on the team. Watching that game last night, there was no doubt that the Celtics playing at their best was head and shoulders above what the Lakers could have done if they'd put forth their best game. I thought the Lakers actually came out with a lot of intensity and hustle, the Celtics just completely overwhelmed them.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Wild Yams -- I touched on the subject of Jordan's defensive assignments above. And while it's true that Pippen was usually the defensive stopper for the opposing team's best perimeter player, Jordan often demanded that assignment in his younger days.

By all accounts, Kobe didn't do that in this series. And I think that's because he was tired. I mean, seriously, he looked worn down in Games 5 and 6. You recently stated that Kobe's at the mid-point of his career, but he's a 12-year vet with a lot of mileage on those legs. Plus, and I'm not making excuses for him, but he probably has one of the greatest psychological burdens in basketball. Because of all the mistakes he's made, because of all the hate he encounters, because he always has to be on guard, it's not easy being Kobe Bryant. It just isn't.

I just don't think he had a lot left at the end.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful, you're probably right about Kobe being just worn down, physically and emotionally. He did play in the Olympics last year, and that came on the heels of the psychic hell he created for himself with all that "trade me" crap. Everyone is very hard on him and he rarely makes it any easier for himself. In some ways I think Jordan was able to continually succeed the way he did in large part because he took almost two years off from playing. I remember watching what Jordan looked like during the 1993 playoffs and he too just looked worn down by it all. Kobe has some of that about him, albeit with a big chip on his shoulder cause it's coming with years of failure instead of the 3 titles that preceded Jordan's first retirement.

Kevin Garnett is a guy who also had that same look about him in recent years. Going back and remembering who he was and what he was like publicly during the 2004 playoffs and how animated he was, then seeing how he was in that John Thompson interview the following season, and how he basically retreated into a shell after that, I was so happy to see him burst out of it the way he did last night. I don't think his reaction was scripted or forced in any way whatsoever, and the reason it was so compelling was because it was so genuine. Garnett is a guy who has been released from a long prison sentence, one he imposed on himself and one he's served in his own mind. He was in that jail for a long time, and in 2004 it was like he was given a brief reprieve to go walk around the yard or have a conjugal visit or something, only to have it violently ripped away from him, making the prison even worse afterward. Last night he was purely jubilant at being released, at never having to doubt himself or question himself or be unsatisfied. Like he said, he is now certified, and he means that for himself, that his jailer finally recognized he no longer belonged in that prison. Watching him celebrate last night was one of the great pleasures I've ever had as a sports fan; and I hope he never goes back to that jail ever again, cause his indomitable personality is something that the league is in dire need of :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I know this is off topic by why the lebron bashing? Despite how bad he shot he still was the best opposing player against the celtics, an absolutely scary defensive team that almost totally shut down kobe and to me seems tailor made to shut down a superstar scorer . At some points in the series lebron was truly dominant and he did score 45 in game 7. He also contributed in ways beyond scoring, something that kobe didn't do. Lebron wasn't jordan but with the entire team focusing on stopping him he played almost as good as you can. Kobe didn't shoot that well either and he is many times a greater shooter than lebron is. Plus lebron had quite a few memorable moments including the "with no regard for human life" dunk. just saying

Anonymous Anonymous said...
First of all, congrats to you Mr. Bawful and Evil Ted for running an entertaining and informative site. I've really enjoyed reading you this playoffs. Also, congratulations to the Celtics on their championship and one of the most thoroughly dominating NBA Finals performances I have ever seen.

As a Laker fan, I am thoroughly disgusted by the complete lack of heart, energy and desire they displayed last night. They looked like they just rolled over and gave up partway through the third quarter. The Celtics outplayed, outhustled and outcoached them in pretty much every game this series.

At the risk of sounding like sour grapes, can I get a worst of the night for the Celtics sportsmanship? I thought it was pretty classless for KG to flop when up 30+ with under 7 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. Not to mention the endless parade of 3's the C's kept jacking up in the final few minutes. And I know the players were giddy with the joy of victory, but dumping Gatorade on your coach with 3 minutes to play? In basketball? Never seen that before. Not very good sportsmanship.

How come nobody mentions this, when Vujacic was vilified for putting up his spread-covering 3 at the end of that game against the Spurs?

Plus I'm absolutely disgusted that nobody on the Lakers had the testicular fortitude to get in anyone's face about that kind of disrespect. Actually, Lamar Odom of all people did get a bit fired up towards the end. The Lakers definitely looked very soft this series all the way around, with the possible exception of Turiaf.

Blogger spongefrob said...
Kobe just doesn't have experience playing IN a team and AS A MEMBER of a team. Simple as dat.

Not only was this a victory for the Celtics and some long awaited (long denied) recognition of The Truth, but this was a validation of the game of basketball. It's. A. Team. Game. Always has been...

People forget that while Jordan has Six Rings he also has some five or six (consecutive) playoff appearances where he went home the loser. He even scored 63 points in a playoff game. Guess what? The Celtics won that game, and that series in a sweep.

You know what made Jordan? Scottie Pippen developed into a All-Stah playah. J Paxson and T Kukoc helped a little too...

For so long now, NBA GMs have been trying to emulate the MJ model: one superstar, multiple role players, rinse, lather repeat. It don't work. IT HAS NEVER WORKED....! Not even for MJ has it worked.

Championships are played AS A TEAM. TDuncan wouldn't be where he is if he didn't have first the Admiral and then Tony Parker. Bill Russell had Heinsohn, Cousy, KC Jones, et al... And the Lakers they played had Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt, amongst other luminaries. The Detroit Pistons are consistent and perennial playoff contenders because they play TEAM BALL.

That's what the Celtics did and they did it with more heart than all the rest.

KG: "Whattya gonna say now?"

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I think you need to call Hakeem part of the "first inter-Jordan period." Gack.

I agree that the "not Jordan" bit is unfair to Kobe. Pair him with a Pippen caliber slasher/defender and a Grant or Rodman at 4, and see what happens. 3-peats would be my guess.

The main kudos need to go to the Boston defense. But another issue was size in the post. Odom plays like a tall 3, and Gasol is soft. It's often about matchups, and the Lakers frontcourt got eaten alive.

What also interested me was the PG play. Rondo's shot selection and ability might be suspect, but the kid sure can handle the ball. Contrast that to Fisher, who really didn't matter much in this series.

In addition to defense, I think what really raised the Celtics was their non-big 3 guys: they played great, and they played real team ball. Last night was a bit of a travesty, since the whole damn team was hot, but in general Perkins and Rondo played much better under pressure than others expected, and they had various deus ex machina events, like Powe's outburst, PJ Brown in that key Cleveland game, James Posey here and there and House. It seemed that every game there was some guy who had an unusually great game, so in effect it was a "big 4," with the fourth being in rotation amongst the other guys. That's pretty tough to beat. And I suspect a lot of it is team chemistry and being on the same page. Gotta give credit to Doc Rivers--this team really improved through the playoffs. Credit to Thibodeau as well.

Blogger eileen said...
Anon- your comment about the Celtics being tailor-made to shut down a superstar scored brings up somthing I thought about during the Lakers-Spurs series. As a Celtics fan, I was rooting for the Lakers. Not because I wanted to renew the historic rivalry or whatnot, but becuase I thought that the Celtics would have a much easier time beating the Lakers than the Spurs. They handled the Cavs, who are similar to the Lakers in that they both have one superduperstar. The Spurs, however, are a much more all-around solid team, and therefore tougher to defend.

By the way, I just discovered your blog a couple of months ago and have been loving it.
That picture of Big Baby flat out kills me.

Blogger Michael Hsu said...
Why was Brian even interviewed he played a whole 0 minutes in the NBA playoffs? I didn't see him "try" anything.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Kobe is a loser who failed.

That feels so nice I will say it again- Kobe is a loser who failed.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Anonymous, who is "bashing" LeBron? The dude was shut down as much as Kobe, albeit in a different way perhaps, and his team lost just like Kobe's did. Trying to compare who was better in their losing effort to the Celtics seems odd to me. One could argue LeBron's 12 points in that narrow Game 1 loss were even bigger than the 45 he scored in the narrow Game 7 loss. Both Kobe and LeBron came up small in big spots against Boston, and saying so isn't "bashing" those guys, it's just crediting how good Boston's defense is that it could so limit these two prodigious scorers.

Furthermore, saying Kobe did nothing to help his team win outside of scoring is just wrong (see Kobe's 8 assists in Game 2, his 10 assists in Game 4, his 7 boards, 4 assists & 5 steals in Game 5). Both players made big contributions to their teams throughout the year and throughout the playoffs. Your "LeBron > Kobe" agenda is misplaced in these comments.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
that KG-prison analogy was seriously freaky. just like that pile of hamburgers in the KG-TV commercial. the C's freak me out. i miss the Spurs.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm with Yams. I found Garnett's response totally natural, especially given the emotional level at which this guy always does business. I greatly prefer the bizarre primal scream and the tears to the usual Bull Durham-ish platitudes.

Fact is though, it was a pleasure watching the Celtics win. Those guys really wanted it in the worst way, and we were seeing raw happiness when they got it. Can script that stuff.

PS I also agree with Bawful--it's tough being Kobe Bryant in some ways. It was also fairly grim to watch him come to the realization that Gasol, while a good all-around player, couldn't provide the post domination the Lakers needed to win. The dude looked SO disappointed. I think he really assumed they were good to go.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I think Gasol gets that "soft" reputation somewhat unfairly. Actually, totally unfairly. The guy is not a center, period. He was forced to play center for Memphis for a long time, then they brought Darko in there supposedly so he could move to his natural spot at 4, but then he got traded to the Lakers to fill in at center while Bynum was rehabbing, only Bynum never came back. So Gasol ends up playing center for the rest of the year, and he gets muscled around by guys like Perkins (look at the two players' physiques, it surprising Gasol can't bang with guys like Perk?). Gasol's offensive strength is not in his ability to dropstep from the low block, it's in his versatility and ability to step out (something you don't usually see in centers). On defense his strength (what little there is) comes from his ability to cover the weakside and bother shorter players with his length as they try to shoot over him, not in his ability to bump them out of the paint.

Odom is more of a power forward than Gasol is a center, but Odom is also not a prototypical 4 (though he's not a prototypical 3 either). Odom's got some height and some bulk, but he's more finesse than power, and even though he gets good rebound numbers it's more due to athleticism and long arms than to great positioning and boxing out. While I think Gasol will definitely flourish next year at power forward alongside Bynum at center, I'm less convinced of what Odom will do at small forward. The Lakers will have an absolute logjam at the 3 next year though unless they make some moves: Odom, Radmanovic, Walton & Ariza (hell, even Ira Newble). I wouldn't be that surprised to see Odom get moved this summer, especially if the Pistons are looking at trading Prince, but either way we'll have to keep an eye on what happens there.

The Lakers were able to get away with their undersized (read: lightweight) front court tandem against K-Mart & Camby in the 1st round, perimeter-oriented Okur & slightly undersized Boozer in the 2nd round, and Duncan and friend in the WCF, but I knew that they'd have trouble going up against a team with a lot of frontcourt size like Boston (Detroit or Phoenix would have proved equally difficult).

It should be an interesting off-season, if for no other reason than the Olympics promise to be damn exciting. I'm curious to see how many people will react when they find themselves rooting for Kobe for a change :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Some of you on here should be baking Rajon Rondo a big, fat apology cake (you know who you are).

Blogger Basketbawful said...
greenroom -- Thanks for the kind words. Regarding the Lakers going out with a whimper: I understand where you're coming from. If I was a Lakers fan, I'd be pissed too. But from the opposite perspective, I felt like they were simply overwhelmed by a superior team with superior intensity AND the crowd was absolutely nuts. Take away that rabid mob, and I think the Lakers play better. But remember: Most of those dudes are young and inexperienced. This was their first taste of manhood. If they get back, I bet they'll be made of sterner stuff.

As to the Celtics sportsmanship, or what you felt was a lack thereof, I think that in part due to how badly they almost blew the huge lead in Game 2 (and all the criticism they took for it). No team wants to be accused of not having a killer instinct, so they were proving something. Plus, the fans wanted blood, and I swear it felt like, at some point, the team because an instrument of the Boston crowd. That may sound corny, but that's how it felt.

spongefrob -- You're certainly right about that. But I think what was so surprising to many people was that the Lakers have been playing really well as a team...particularly since the Gasol trade (at some point they were something like 35-6 with him). Lakers fans have to be wondering what happened to those guys.

wormboy -- The Boston roleplayers did indeed to a good job of making timely contributions throughout the playoffs. Such was always the case with Jordan's teams, too (think Stacey King, or Jed Buechler, or Bill Wennington, et al.). You could argue that Kobe didn't get the same backup.

eileen - Thanks for the compliment. You bring up an interesting point. But then, the Celtics defeated a well-rounded team in six games...the Pistons. Plus, it's hard to get a handle on how good the Spurs SHOULD have been because of Manu's injury.

mike -- Hey, Brian contributed!! He helped carry Pierce off the court in Game 1...

anonymous -- Yeah. It does feel kinda good.

manu -- Please feel better for next season. How's the ankle?

wormboy (again) -- Double agree. KG is finally out of prison, as Yams pointed out, and I'm so glad to see it. I'm pretty cynical, but just THINKING about his sincere display of awed joy is giving me chills right now. Awesome.

Yeah, much as I don't like the guy, I think it's just harder being the Mamba than anybody will ever really know. Sure, he brought a lot of stuff on himself, but who doesn't? Many of my biggest f'-ups have been self-imposed.

Wild Yams -- I just can't give Gasol a free pass on the whole "playing out of position" thing. Guys do that all the time. Look at Leon Powe. He's not NBA center size, but he plays big and doesn't back down. He's an hombre. Pau? Not so much. Fact is, he COULD play bigger, but he doesn't have the hunger or mentality to do so...which seems odd, considering how much he likes to thump his chest and scream.

anonymous 2 -- I'm already working on my cake.

Blogger DDC said...
Yams, you probably are the best commenter I've seen on any basketball site. Do you have blog? I know it would be on my daily must read list for sure. I'm looking forward to your Worsties Mr. Bawful. Thanks for highlighting the lowlights this season.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Does anybody else have some really mixed feelings about this year's champion?

I mean, I'm ecstatic for Ray, KG, PJ Brown, and even a little happy for Paul Pierce, but ONLY because I would feel horrible for him having to life his life knowing that Antoine Walker won a title and he didn't.

I take that back- two wrongs don't make a right.

Anyway there were several comments on Deadspin relating this team to the Florida Marlins team of 2003, or 2002, whichever it was. I feel like this team was slapped together, and, although they played fantastically together, the whole thing just feels so artificial

KG related this victory to "knocking out the bully" who harasses you at school, but that would imply that he took care of matters himself. What actually took place would be more like bringing your uncle to school, watching him knock out the bully, then letting out primordial screams and popping your jersey and dancing in the hallways.

Too bad KG couldn't get it done in Minnesota. That would have been far more satisfying, for me at least.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
To the Laker fan crying about sporstmanship, suck it up bud, it's the freaking NBA finals. If the Lakers didn't want a bunch of threes and dunks raining down on their heads they should have, oh I don't know, played some defense maybe.

The NBA finals are supposed to represent the highest level of competition and the biggest stage for a basketball team. If the Lakers couldn't handle that, then they should have just gone home.

Run up the score like that in almost any other game during the season, and I totally agree, bad sportsmanship and bad form. However, in the last game of the NBA finals, with no reason to conserve energy and a group of guys that are playing to validate their careers, I would expect nothing less than what we saw in that fourth quarter.

I think it was kind of indicative of the whole series that you saw a Boston team that was supremely focused and motivated throughout the entire third quarter and most of the fourth quarter, but the only fire that you saw out of the Lakers was Lamar Odom getting upset that the Celtics were running up the score. Odom proved in that fourth quarter that he was capable of playing with intensity and physicality (or at least some semblance of physicality, he was still pretty weak) but for whatever reason, the NBA finals alone were not enough motivation to bring that out consistently.

The Lakers got their weak shit stuffed right back in their face last night, and they deserved it for the effort they displayed.

Blogger spongefrob said...
spongefrob -- You're certainly right about that. But I think what was so surprising to many people was that the Lakers have been playing really well as a team...particularly since the Gasol trade (at some point they were something like 35-6 with him). Lakers fans have to be wondering what happened to those guys.

I think that underlines my point: a record of 35-6, however good, is not enough team based experience to take into the playoffs. I think that's what happened. What's clear is that the emotional toll forced them to crack. Basketball, more than any other sport relies on chemistry. There's no denying that Pierce, Allen and Garnett all possess class, character and determination. What's more, they have a genuine (it seems) liking for each other. I don't know if Kobe can tell the difference between Vujacic and Radmaninoff...

Whether Kobe really is a loser will depend not what just happened but on what happens next. If he really has any character whatsoever he'll turn to Kupchak and say "I want the same team next year. Let's continue to play together and get past this as a team." If he does that... well then next years finals really will be a knockdown...

Blogger Evil Ted said...
I know it's at the top of this comment string, but I have to add something to this item:
"WIRED" - I'm a little stunned that there are votes to banish "WIRED." I personally very much enjoy getting a listen, however brief, into the locker room and the huddle. Yes, there are a number of trite things said, but there are also things said that add to my understanding and enjoyment of the game, and I will gladly take the good with the bad.

I WANT to hear a little of what a coach told his players before a game and at halftime, because that knowledge may enhance my view of what I see out on the court. And I especially wanted to hear it during this series to compare the approaches of an experienced Phil Jackson to a relatively inexperienced Doc Rivers.

As an example, during the Celtics' big Game 4 comeback (believe it was the G4 comeback - someone correct me if I'm wrong), Doc says to his players in a huddle "Don't EMOTE! COMPETE!" This is not only a great piece of guidance, it gives great insight into Doc's coaching style, and is frankly, kind of inspiring and exactly the way a lot of fans want this game to be played. And I feel I would have missed out in not hearing it.

I also want to hear what a coach specifically tells his players to do better (as compared to the previous game or the previous half of play), and see whether they are able to follow that direction.

I say keep WIRED. If anything, expand it, but if you can't, keep it just the way it is.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
For the Gasol playing out of position thing, it's just something a player has to adjust to if they're put in that position. Amare Stoudemire has basically been playing out of his position his whole career, and while he is still not a great defender, he is a beast on offense and also gives great help defense with his shot-blocking. Gasol may not be a true center but if his team needs him to play the 1, especially in the FINALS, he has to step up to the challenge.

Blogger Evil Ted said...
Post-season anacdote:
I HAD to get this one in while it's still relevant. Talked to my dad (born, raised, and still living in Boston) on the phone after Game 6. During the conversation, he asked me "You know who should have won NBA Executive of the Year?" Now I'm not someone who pays attention to those particular awards, but I assumed with the Celtics' tremendous single-season turnaround that Ainge had won it. Yet, the phrasing of my dad's question didn't make sense...of course he would've wanted AINGE to win it, right? So now he's got me thinking maybe Ainge DIDN'T win it.

"Ainge?" I said.

"No," he said.

Now totally confused, rather than try to guess where he was going with this, I decided to play along.

"Who, dad? Who should have won NBA Executive of the Year?"

My dad's answer made perfect sense to any red-blooded Celtics fan who was more than pleased with the Celtics' off-season moves and subsequent results:

"Kevin McHale," he said, laughing.

Blogger acnefighter said...
"By all accounts, Kobe didn't do that in this series. And I think that's because he was tired. I mean, seriously, he looked worn down in Games 5 and 6. You recently stated that Kobe's at the mid-point of his career, but he's a 12-year vet with a lot of mileage on those legs. Plus, and I'm not making excuses for him, but he probably has one of the greatest psychological burdens in basketball. Because of all the mistakes he's made, because of all the hate he encounters, because he always has to be on guard, it's not easy being Kobe Bryant. It just isn't.

I just don't think he had a lot left at the end."

I completely agree with that assessment. I think what people forget is that the dude is essentially playing with a BROKEN pinky, and has been since around April, I believe. That is not exactly easy to do, and on top of the injury, there is also an immense amount of psychological and media-related pressure. I don't think it's that Kobe Bryant cracked under the pressure, but you have to remember that the Lakers team is young. Pau Gasol is amazingly inexperienced in the playoffs, and hadn't won a playoff game, let alone a series, before coming to the Lakers. I think this Lakers team will be much stronger next year.

One thing that annoys me about Lakers fans is thier knee-jerk reactions to things. I remember reading late last night and atleast 20 of the comments revolved around "trade Pau Gasol". WTF? I don't think some of these fans realize how lucky the Lakers were to even make it this far, considering the positions they were in last year at this point. I know that's just one fan, but there are plenty of people like him that I know...basically, idiots who believe that fixing every problem with a trade after a bad performance is the best way to go.

The only player o nthe Lakeshow that I don't like is Space Cadet. He is seriously lost out there half the time, and I don't think he should have played as much as he did. Granted, he is somewhat of a big body needed for an already undersized Lakers team, but the guy's contributions are far less than the amount of damage he does to the team. I know a lot of people hate him, but I absolutely love Vujacic. The guy is fearless out there, and you have to remember that this is the same kid who two years ago would never get burn because he just couldn't knock down shots in a game...and here he is now, known as a sharpshooter. I don't doub any of these Lakers players, they're all still young and if they got this far on thier first try, then the future looks pretty damn bright.

And oh yeah, Kobe is a loser? The guy was projected to either be traded or not make the playoffs at all. He finished the season as an MVP, a member of the All-NBA and All-NBA-defensive first teams, and was the main reason why the Lakers made it as far as they did. Granted, they didn't win the ultimate prize, but you're kidding me if you don't think the Lakers didn't learn from this experience. You have to fail before you win....just ask KG, Allen and Pierce.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
i don´t know...

the picture of fat baby posing with the trophy makes me hate world

Anonymous Anonymous said...
[i]At the risk of sounding like sour grapes, can I get a worst of the night for the Celtics sportsmanship? I thought it was pretty classless for KG to flop when up 30+ with under 7 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. Not to mention the endless parade of 3's the C's kept jacking up in the final few minutes. And I know the players were giddy with the joy of victory, but dumping Gatorade on your coach with 3 minutes to play? In basketball? Never seen that before. Not very good sportsmanship.[/i]

In general, yes, but not in this series. Look how many monster leads evaporated in this series! Seriously. Do you bet a championship on misplaced sportsmanship? No way. You finish it out full tilt. Plus, look how often Doc Rivers has gotten criticized for playing in stall mode in the 4th quarter.

Also, when the bench guys finally got put in, they were venting their enthusiasm. No coach can reasonably tell his guys to softball it. Fact is that the Lakers starters were getting owned by the Celtics bench towards the end. Not pretty.

Bottom line is that this is pro ball, not YMCA league or high school. You MAKE SURE you win the game. No other choice.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Throughout the series, I heard Lakers fans referring to Kobe Bryant as "The Next MJ." I was totally in agreement until I realized that the "MJ" they were talking about to was not Michael Jackson.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The Celtics played a lot longer leading up to the finals then Kobe. If anybody shouldn't have anything left, it would have been them.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Greenroom I have to disagree with you about the Celtics sportsmanship. When you win a World Title you are bound to go crazy and do things you might not usually do. And I've never seen the Gatorade before either, but so what? When you've spent 10 years on a bad team like Paul, and were ready to be fired like Doc, I don't see anything wrong with doing something crazy and different on the verge of victory.

And as far as the Celtics putting up the 3s in the fourth quarter, what did you want them to do, stop playing? Take no chances and keep it in full force, thats how you secure victories. Especially in a game this important.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"When you win a World Title you are bound to go crazy and do things you might not usually do."

Wasn´t Pau Gasol the only player in the finals who has won a world title?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Wasn´t Pau Gasol the only player in the finals who has won a world title?"

Lol, well if you want to be technical, yes. So let me rephrase my previous statement:

"When your team wins the NBA Championship, you are bound to go crazy and do things you might not usually do."

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Pau says "You might 've won the Finals but I´m still World Champ!"
I say: "You might be World Champ but you´re still a retard"

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Its funny cause kobe goes back to back next two years and yall here saying he cant win