2008 NBA Finals – Lakers vs Celtics

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21 years, that’s how long it’s been since these two teams last played for an NBA Championship. 1987, that was the last time the Boston Celtics even played in the Finals! Boston hasn’t won a title since 1986; LA has won 3 more championships since then. You have to have been living under a rock not to know the history and the storied rivalry between these two franchises. Who hasn’t heard of the famous battles between Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell or Magic Johnson vs Larry Bird? Well, now we have Kobe Bryant and company taking on Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce…a/k/a Jesus, The Ticket and The Truth. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this is going to be the most watched NBA Finals series ever. Young and old alike will be tuned in to check out this matchup. Not only will this be great for fans, but it’s going to be even better for the League; this marks the 11th time that LA and Boston have met to play for a championship (Boston is 8-2 in their Finals matchups against the Lakers).

I have to say that I haven’t been this excited about the NBA Finals since MJ was bringing titles home to the west side of Chicago. I know that I don’t speak for everybody but I was sick of watching the San Antonio Spurs play in the Finals (booorrrrriiiiinnnnnggggg). I will say that everytime the Spurs played for the ‘ship, I didn’t watch. Especially not last year because not only am I not a Spurs fan, I’m not a huge Lebron James fan either (although I did enjoy watching him thrash the Detroit Pistons by himself). But the Finals this year will be way more interesting. We have two “new” teams in the Finals, a rivalry has been resurrected and the leage MVP will face the defensive POY and that hasn’t happened since 1996 (Michael Jordan & Gary Payton). How cool is it going to be on June 5th when the crowd in Boston will start chanting “Beat LA!”…if you’re a true fan of basketball, you’ve got to be pumped up about this one!

 

Boston Wins The East…Will Play LA In The Finals

Well, it’s official…a rivalry will be renewed! The Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics will meet in the NBA Finals this year. The C’s dismissed the Detroit Pistons to win the series 4-2 to advance to the Finals. I have to say, I’m a very big fan of Kevin Garnett and I’m really happy to see him have a chance to play for a ring…he’s earned it and he certainly deserves it. But there’s just something about betting against the “Black Mamba”. I’m going to be impartial on this one and I’m going to just sit back and enjoy it. On the one hand, I’d love to see Kobe win a ring without Shaq which essentially would legitimize his greatness. On the other hand, being from Chicago I would love to see KG get a ring. I’m so torn and conflicted on this one. From my emotional standpoint, it’s a win/win but honestly speaking…I want to see Kobe bring it home. But that’s not a prediction!!

Lakers Win The West…Will Play In The Finals

It’s been a long time coming, but Kobe Bryant finally has a chance to win an NBA Championship with “his” team and put to rest any suggestions that he can’t win a championship without Shaq. Last night the Lakers beat the Spurs 100-92 to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2004. They will face either the Detroit Pistons or the Boston Celtics. It’s been an interesting year for the Lakers and Kobe. There was speculation throughout last summer and early into the season that he was coming here, to Chicago. That obviously never happened and the team was actually playing very good basketball early in the season. And then there was the trade with Memphis for Pau Gasol after Andrew Bynum went down with a knee injury that pretty much solidified them as a title contender. Kobe went on to lead his team to the #1 seed in the west while bringing home his first ever MVP award. It couldn’t have been scripted any better. Congrats to the entire Lakers organization and good luck in the Finals.

In The News…Doug Collins To Coach The Bulls?

 

OK…so it’s being reported that my beloved Chicago Bulls are prepared to name Doug Collins as the teams not-so-new head coach. The only question that I have is why? I thought we were trying to win here, not engage in some weird “Manhattan Project” experiment that’s going to blow professional basketball in this town to smithereens. Seriously Mr. Paxson and Mr. Reinsdorf, I know you guys blew it with the whole Mike D’Antoni thing but you mean to tell me that there was not a single candidate out there better than DougGet the ball to Michael and get the hell out of the way” Collins? He coached the best player EVER (twice) and couldn’t get it done; so how many games do you think we’re going to win with a team that doesn’t even have the best player in Chicago? All I know is, you guys in the front office had better draft Derrick Rose now otherwise I’m calling for heads…and for Mark Cuban to buy the team. At least he knows what it takes to buld a winner. Gimme a break…Doug Collins; wow! What’s next? Chris Collins of Duke – his son – will be named assistant coach and eventually take over as head coach?! I would’ve felt better if it was Dr. Jack Ramsey, or what about Hubie Brown; did anybody call him? Doug Collins?!?! I suspect that Paula Abdul will be getting a call to be the new coach of the Luv-a-Bulls real soon. Joakim Noah…your troubles are officially an afterthought my friend. You have the owner and the GM to thank for that. Stay tuned Bulls fans…

In The News…Joakim Noah

 

Ahhh…Labor Day Weekend. A chance to break out the grill, barbecue, relax and enjoy spending time with family and friends. Like most people, I’m sure Joakim Noah did all of these things…and probably like some people did that weekend, he was also arrested. He was charged in Gainesville, FL with having an open container of “cognac” (probably Louis XIII because it’s $1,500/bottle and it’s also French) and marijuana posession (surprise, surprise). On top of that, he was also given two traffic tickets for no seat belt and driving on a suspended license. Wow…what a weekend!

He’s since been given 6mos probation and a $200 fine for the marijuana and open container charges in addition to having to pay $206 for the traffic tickets. In addition to that, under the NBA’s current CBA any player involved in a marijuana related issue will need to undergo counseling. This was a stupid thing to do; just because you’re a legend down there Joakim doesn’t mean that the rules don’t apply to you (even though you did get off with just a slap on the wrist). Oh well, just look on the bright side…at least your dad isn’t mad at you!

MVP

Ok, so did anybody see Game 1 of LA vs San Antonio? If there was anybody who disputed Kobe’s MVP legitimacy, last night was the perfect example of why he deserved to win. Basically, it went down like this. In the first half, my man was basically a decoy. He was more concerned with setting up his teammates for easy baskets…and he did. After the 1st half however, many people were wondering what the heck was up with #24? Through the first 24 minutes of regulation he was 1-3 with only 2 points. Yeah, you read it right…2 points. Phil Jackson went so far as to imply that Kobe was on vacation by saying he was running the “Bermuda Triangle” and not the sideline triangle.

Early in the 3rd Quarter, the Lakers found themselves down by 20…and that’s when Kobe put on his Superman cape, put the Lakers on his back and “Yooooouuuuu” should’ve seen it…my man went off!! He led his team on a 14-0 scoring run which got them back in the game and raised the energy in the Staples Center. It was very reminiscent of the run that put Portland out of it’s misery a few years back in the playoffs which essentially was the end of an era for them (hint, hint).  Once Kobe started to get it going, there wasn’t much the Spurs could do to stop him. Bruce Bowen, nope. Manu Ginobili, don’t even try it. Ime Udoka, who? Last night’s performance was the reason why he’s the best in the game. Recognize.

With The First Pick In The 2008 NBA Draft…

What are the odds? Try 1.7%, that’s it. That’s the only chance that my beloved Chicago Bulls had of winning the 2008 NBA Lottery. The whole city of Chicago was resigned to our fates of picking no better than 9th this year. But guess what? We did it!! We won the right to select either Derrick Rose or Michael Beasley on June 26th. Screw the Powerball…this is way bigger! 10 years after the “Death of a Dynasty”, 10 years of rebuilding, and rebuilding, and rebuilding, we finally have a chance to push ourselves back into the conversation of perennial Eastern Conference elite teams. Dear Mr. Reisndorf and Mr. Paxson…please don’t screw this up! This is a once in a lifetime shot, this is a position that we’ve never been in before and you guys can’t afford to blow it. Please bring Derrick Rose home!!

Now, I know that you can’t go wrong with Beasley or Rose but let’s look at the state of the NBA today. A league once run by the big man has given way to the little man. In fact, if you take a look at all 16 teams in this year’s playoffs, each team has one thing in common…they all have very good point guards. Check it out:

LA – Derek Fisher, Denver – Allen Iverson, New Orleans – Chris Paul, Dallas – Jason Kidd, San Antonio – Tony Parker, Phoenix – Steve Nash, Utah – Deron Williams, Houston – Rafer Alston, Boston – Rajon Rondo, Atlanta – Mike Bibby, Detroit – Chauncey Billups, Philly – Andre Miller, Orlando – Jameer Nelson, Toronto – T.J. Ford, Cleveland – Delonte West, Washington – Gilbert Arenas

Of these players, 7 are All-Stars, 5 have played for NBA championships, 3 have rings, 2 have MVP’s and 1 has a scoring title. The league is changing and I hope the Bulls are smart enough to recognize the direction that it’s going in. The PG rules…period. Guys like Michael Beasley can be built. You can teach someone to do the exact same things that he does but guys like Rose, you can’t teach that. True point guards are born, you either have it or you don’t and it’s really that simple. You can find scorers, you can find defensive specialists anywhere, but like a “true” center, a “true” point guard is a rarity and when you come across one, you have to take him. Chris Paul is the single reason for the Hornet’s success, Utah can thank Deron Williams for theirs, and Detroit has been to the Eastern Conference Finals every year since Chauncey Billups signed on. I could keep going, but I’m sure you get it. Teams are being built around point guards. Yeah, Kirk Hinrich is good…but he’s no Derrick Rose. I’ll go out on a limb and say that Rose is better than Hinrich RIGHT NOW!! He may not be as a good a shooter as Kirk is, but that’s about the only advantage that Hinrich has over Rose right now. You watch, guys like Beasley will start to come every few years…guys like Rose? Well, let’s just say that Tuesday night the moon over Chicago looked a little blue.