Game 7

Prior to these NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics have battled for eleven championships, four of them going to a Game 7 with the Celtics taking them all.

In his 12 previous trips to the NBA Finals (10 wins) Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson’s never had to win the ring in a Game 7. He did win a ring as a player with the New York Knicks in a Game 7 win in 1970 over the Lakers.

Lakers guards Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher have been to the Finals six previous times never having to win it all in a Game 7.

All the current Boston Celtics have never gone to a Game 7 with the ring on the line.

There’s a first for everything and everyone.

It’s a must win for both teams with both team leaders looking at it as just that.  Kobe Bryant and Celtics forward Paul Pierce know what’s on the line and know it’s just about one win.

So, here we go. Sure I’m biased. But, honestly, this series should never have gone this far. The Defending Champion Lakers are, clearly, the superior team and should’ve taken this thing in five games.

In game five, the Celtics took the 3-2 series lead at the Garden playing desperately as they should have. They shot over 60 per cent holding the Lakers to about 33 per cent. The Celtics looked like the 1992 Dream Team. The Lakers looked like the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets. Yet, the Celtics were fortunate to come away with a 92-86 win. Kobe Bryant was the only Laker who showed up knocking down 38.

The unbeatable Lakers showed up in Game 6 holding the Celtics to 67 points while the Lakers tallied 89 points for the win. Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom and the Lakers bench turned it up and showed the world why they’re the defending champions.

Unfortunately for the Celtics, center Kendrick Perkins is out damaging knee ligaments  in the first quarter of the last game. That leaves plenty of room for Gasol to have his way in the paint. “Big Baby” Glen Davis, Rasheed Wallace, KG and others will platoon to defend Gasol. He’ll have another double-double.

Perkins’ injury makes it a “push” with Lakers center Andrew Bynum nursing a knee that will be operated on after the series. Difference is Bynum’s playing.  Bynum’s been tough averaging about eight points, four boards and three blocks in limited minutes. That’s all they need.

It’ll be close for awhile. But look for a Lakers Repeat with another 20 point win. Time for L.A. to party……with championship number 16!

Lakers-Celtics, Chapter 12 Act 1.

What a fabulous time for basketball in the City of Angels……Los Angeles and Boston. Led by Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Phil Jackson the defending world champion Lakers are in the thick of their third straight NBA Finals and facing them, their arch rivals, KG, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics. INCREDIBLE!

63 champions in the history of “the Association” and these two teams have combined to win 32 of them. Boston has won 17 titles in 21 tries while the L.A./Minneapolis Lakers have earned 15 championships in a staggering 30 tries.

Think about it. The Lakers have represented the West in almost half of the finals while the Celtics have represented the East in a third of them. INCREDIBLE!

This is the 12th time these franchises have clashed head-to-head for the title with the Celtics winning a lop-sided nine of the first eleven including the one two seasons ago.

Lakers came out with purpose in game one of the 12th installment, their 31st finals appearance, at Staples Center in Los Angeles Thursday night beating the Celtics, 102-89.

The Lakers had everything going especially on the defensive end looking like the Celtics usually do……………STRAIGHT UP, PHYSICAL!

Meanwhile, the Celtics looked old, beat up and just plain tired.

The Lakers out-rebounded the Celtics, 42-31. The Lakers limited the Celtics to one for 10 from the three-point line and took the all-important “second chance points” category, 16-0. Quite uncharacteristic of the Celtics.

Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant led everyone with 30 points. Pau Gasol had 23 points to go along with 14 rebounds. Finals “rookie” Ron Artest had 15 points but gave Celtics forward Paul Pierce fits on the defensive end. Pierce did have 24 points but those were mostly in garbage time. Same goes for Kevin Garnett. He had 16 for Boston but looked like his knees were smarting and was completely out-played by Gasol.

OK. Remember, it’s just game one. In four other meetings between the two teams in the finals, the Lakers have taken the first game only to see the Celtics come back to win three of their 17 championships.

You can bet the Celtics will play more like themselves come game two Sunday back at Staples. They’re champions and Celtic Pride is quite a force when summoned.

Expect game two to be much closer and much more physical on both ends. Expect the Lakers to get a hard-fought win and a two-zero series lead going into Boston for the middle three games of the series next week. ENJOY!

“Bloop Singles”

  • God bless “The Wizard of Westwood“, 99-year old John R. Wooden.
  • The former UCLA Basktball Coach who led the Bruins to 10 NCAA Championships lies in grave condition. Talk about a man who lived by “carpe diem“.
  • Considering freshmen couldn’t play when Wooden coached and he practically had to change his roster every three years, Wooden is the greatest coach in team sports history.
  • Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success” is a blue print for, not only sports, but life in general.
  • As a sports fan who was raised in Los Angeles loving the Los Angeles Rams, Lakers, Kings and Dodgers, is it wrong that my favorite baseball player is New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter? As a fan mind you, I CAN’T STAND THE YANKEES!
  • LeBron may be known as “King James.” But Kobe Bryant’s “The Lord of the Rings.”
  • “King James” might be the reigning two-time NBA MVP, “Kid Kobe” is STILL the best basketball player on the planet.

LeBron May Be “King James,” But Kobe IS “The Lord of the Rings”

Individual stats don’t mean a thing here. I could throw them down. But why? You already know them, can find them on many assorted web sites and they speak for themselves.

No doubt that at the moment LeBron James is the most talented basketball player in the world. As he should be. He’s been in the league seven years and he’s only 25. LeBron, the two-time reigning NBA MVP, is “The King of the Court.”

We are ALL WITNESS to the ONE.

Reminds me of a story.

Not too long ago in the “Hoops Kingdom,” there once was a little prince Los Angeleno’s affectionately called “Kid Kobe.” Like LBJ, Kid Kobe entered the “joust” at the tender age of 18 years old. The little prince took his lumps.

Then, under the huge wing of “The Big Aristotle” and a wise wizard, “The Zen Master,” he learned and matured.

The three, along with their merry men, formed a magical “Triangle” that conquered the kingdom for three straight years and they all became “Lords of the Rings.”

Until the political power-struggle between the trio during the fourth attempt, where they relinquished the kingdom to the “Mad Men from the Motor City” who were guided by the powerful “Larry the Nomad.”

Aristotle left for greener everglades in the “Land of the Sun, Sea and Damsels with Blue Hair.” Zen did as well, riding his motorized stallion to his lair in the North. Kid Kobe was crowned Sole Ruler of the “City of Angels.”

The going was tough for the young and hungry ruler. Many changes occurred at his triangular table. He soon realized “the needs of the many, out-weigh the needs of the one.” He threatened to leave his kingdom to try and conquer another if he couldn’t surround himself with Knights worthy to become “Lords.”

Seeing the unrest, and at the behest of “The Doctor,” the Zen Master returned from the North to reunite with his Young Ruler. Oddly enough, the Ruler HAD knights worthy surrounding him all along. The “Power of the Triangle” was what made the Ruler and his Knights a fabulous show for all times. However, as valiantly as they battled, “The Angeleno’s” could not climb out of the “Valley of the Sun.” The ruler pleaded for help.

During the middle of the next attempt, a “Spanish Conqueror,” majestic among his people and ruler of his court, was summoned. The new trio and their band of merry men began to steamroll through the Western Civilization, which included “setting the army from the valley of the sun.”  The, now, experienced Ruler was happy again and loaded with knights to again take his rightful place atop the whole hoops kingdom.

Alas, in his quest, the Ruler and his army were stopped by the “Green Leprechauns” from the East who, at the expense of The Angeleno’s, added rings to their not so hidden treasures.

The Ambitious Ruler vowed he would regain the ring. In the next attempt, his 30th year on this Earth, The Angeleno’s ascended to the top of the Hoops Kingdom.

The Ruler was “Lord of the Rings” once again. And they lived………………

Of course, the story was about Kobe Bryant and the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers. What drives “Kid Kobe” is winning. In the Kobe Era, the Lakers have won four rings in six attempts. Kobe’s got one league Most Valuable Player Award and one Finals MVP. The difference, the Four Rings.

At the moment, for “King James” it’s about individual stats. Two league MVP’s. Zero for one in the Finals.

Brings me to this. The Cleveland Cavaliers have assembled a team around LeBron that’s absolutely good enough to win a World Championship. After two straight bad losses in the Eastern Conference Semi’s to the Boston Celtics it looks as if he seems to lack two skills Kobe’s mastered. LeBron’s not a facilitator, meaning he still doesn’t know how to bring out the immense talents of his teammates, especially when he’s having an off night. Also, LeBron’s clearly not the closer Kobe is. He can, but not consistently, go for the jugular and put an opponent away the way Kobe can.

In the Cavaliers 32-point game five loss to the Celtics, Lebron was so not in the loop, he looked more like the 12th man off the bench. Subsequently, his teammates, who are programmed to defer to LeBron, looked so lost it appeared they had never played basketball before that particular game. Except for four-time world champion Shaquille O’Neal who is playing consistently well in these playoffs.

Sure, you’ve got to give plenty of the blame for the Cavs horrendous play on King James. But, I think Cleveland head coach Mike Brown has to take plenty of heat because the rest of the team seems lost when LeBron is having an “off night.”

Says plenty about Lakers coach Phil Jackson. He won his ten rings, and is on his way to battling for number 11, because all his players are big parts of any game-plan. Kobe’s the focal point as Michael Jordan was with the  Chicago Bulls. But the rest of the team, which is ten deep, understand they have to contribute, even when Kobe has an “off night,” if the Lakers are to win.

At the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, both LeBron and Kobe were part of the Gold Medal winning Team USA. Who was the absolute leader of that team? Kobe.

Realize LeBron’s just 25 while Kobe’s now 31. “King James” will have his moments and championships. Realize the Cavaliers, despite that tank-job losing to the Celtics 120-88, are still alive. Free agent to be “King James” can still conquer the court and get a ring this year.

However, I think it’s way pre-mature that people have passed the “Best Player on the Planet Torch” from Kobe to LeBron. For one reason and one reason only.

LeBron may be “King James”. But Kobe IS “The Lord of the Rings.”

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