I had to start with this, because it just irks me. I wanted to start with the USA Today cover story about how Los Angeles is so busy this playoff season: With two basketball teams and one hockey team—Stanley Cup Finals bound—sharing a building. And then this.
(I know they’ve since apologized, but how do you even make that mistake in the first place; it doesn’t make any sense.)
Anyway, there was basketball, and although there’s more to come, I’d like to share my thoughts on the three games that’ve happened in the Lakers/Thunder series; and then, I’ll get on with the rest of the National Basketball Association’s antics.
The two games in Oklahoma City were all about coping mechanisms. I’m not even a fan, but when you’ve hitched your wagon to a team for an entire season, you can’t help but feel something.
So Game One made me want to hang myself, and needing a laugh, I found…
Gone were my thoughts of suicide—for that night, at least—and even though the Scotland shows proved to be a lot less than the time the show went to France, Craig Ferguson still produces the best late-night talk show on network television.
Following Game One’s ghoulish occurrence that brought nothing other than my worst fears to life—you know, those ones that reside somewhere beneath even the repressed memories—yeah, that deep—Game Two proved even more nerve racking.
The Lake Show played exceptionally well, but the nail-biting basketball game ended in heartache for LAL, so back to CBS to hopefully cope and make peace with it all…
Too early for Craig, and having never heard of the band Best Coast, it didn’t look good, yet none of that mattered, for I found the key to the whole ordeal that made it all so pleasing in my trusty notes: “Look at those shoes…” Indeed.
(Note: The rest is illegible; sorry.)
A Back-to-Back in the Playoffs?
Momentum is an important word in talking about the second season of any sport, so that’ll be a common line of thought in what’s to come.
The Lakers have had it for the last two games, emerging only .500 in said contests, but this thing is far from over. Game Two, as mentioned early, might’ve registered a devastating blow to a weaker team, but the Lakers have fostered on—a good sign for Laker fans.
With the Game One loss fresh enough in their heads, LAL came out swinging in the games to follow, and more importantly, they seem smarter for having such a lop-sided loss happen to them to get this series going.
Bryant and Bynum are humming offensively, and Kobe has turned over a new leaf as a true on-court leader in this series, something the Thunder haven’t had in all three games collectively.
Expect the Lakers to keep the ball rolling tonight as they play the second of a back-to-back in the City of Angels, to the tune of…101-95…LAL—Kobe going north of 30 pts yet again, and Ron Artest playing more awesome D.
The Other Team in LA
I wish I could say the same of the Clippers, yet the momentum in this series is going the wrong direction for them to have any hope.
LAC can’t hang with San Antonio; they haven’t been competitive in either of the first two meetings in this series, and the Spurs want only to split the two games in LA, so they can go home and clinch this thing in Texas. Then, it’s all over but waiting for an opponent—and there’ll be at least six games in the LAL/OKC series through which they have to sit, and watch and prepare.
Don’t Call it a Comeback, They’ve been Here all Year…
Philly’s got heart—goes a long way, doesn’t it?
Sadly, for Boston, that makes the 76ers a pretty tough out. And the secret to the Celtics’ success in this series has been much different than the one against the Hawks. For Philadelphia, however, it’s been much of the same: Effort from anybody and anybody in order to win.
Kevin Garnett’s second coming in this series is the difference maker, and just like the secret to Boston winning versus the Hawks was Paul Pierce, now it lies in the hands of KG. Every time he leads the way in scoring they win; the other times, not so much.
The separation between the two teams in Games One and Two was 2 points—total—but in Games Three and Four it was 25 points, so if you can’t find momentum, I don’t blame you, but remember: Two of the last Three games are in Boston, and that’s about as much of an advantage as you’re going to find in this one.
Don’t say Coaching Doesn’t Matter!
Frank Vogel v.) Eric Spoelstra
This matters more than what happens on the floor—and I am not kidding. Have you seen how organized the Pacers are? Or, how they always seem to have the right people on the floor? Or, why has it gotten harder for Miami to score as this series goes on?
All of these questions point to the matchup I’ve written above. Frank Vogel has turned this series into a chess match, and Eric Spoelstra can’t keep up, for he’s always been a so-so checkers player at best. Spoelstra just wants to not make any stupid moves and protect his back row—i.e. hide the flaws, stay out of the way, and keep the thing from spiraling out of control.
Vogel looks like some sort of grandmaster against Spoelstra, because he’s obviously been thinking a dozen moves ahead of Miami—and it shows. Mainly the biggest benefit the Pacers have granted themselves is home-court momentum.
By winning Game Two in Miami, they’ve shifted the series in their favor with three-of-the-last-five games in Indy. I’ll claim ignorance on this one, for what once looked like terminal boredom has beautifully transformed into textbook basketball.
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