Posts Tagged ‘Ron Artest’

Kobe Bryant doing his imitation of Michael Jordan after last nights win over Boston

Unless you are a Quaker or you just got released from prison or the county jail this morning. You probably watched the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Boston Celtics 83 to 79 to win back to back NBA championships last night by outscoring the Celtics 30 to 22 in the fourth quarter.

I am not a Lakers fan nor am I a hater. L.A. winning last night doesn’t piss me off even though I predicted that the Celtics would beat L.A. in seven games. I can admit when I am wrong and eat crow and be gracious about it. I can also give credit when credit is due.

The Lakers did what I didn’t think they had the ability to do. L.A. beat a team that was mentally, physically tougher and more talented than they were. Out of all of the championships that L.A. has won since Kobe has been there, this one to me is the most significant one and makes me respect them more than I ever have.

So congratulations to the Lakers and the city of L.A. and their fans. I hope the city of L.A. and every Lakers fans around the world enjoys this championship for as long as you possibly can. I am sure Ron Artest and the rest of the Lakers are.

Ron Artest is probably still sitting in a club or lounge somewhere in L.A. telling stories of how the greatest basketball player that he has ever seen or played against was a dude named Mike Chathway from Queens Bridge, New York who went to jail or died last year; or how Michael Jordan said that he wished that he would have played against him (Artest) in his prime. I swear that boy isn’t right in his head, but I am happy for him for some odd reason.

Somewhere Kobe Bryant is doing what God only knows Kobe does during his off time when he isn’t doing lame commercials of him doing soccer celebrations, participating in photo shots of him wearing weird all white outfits or jumping over Ashton Martins driving towards him at 60 MPH. Maybe he is at home with Vanessa planning his next attempt to immolate Michael Jordan’s mannerisms as he did last night after the game by jumping on the scorer’s table with the ball in his hands holding up five fingers like Jordan did after winning his fourth.

I have always defended Kobe when people would say that he tries to imitate things that Jordan did and said during Jordan’s career. I never saw what people were talking about until last night. That Jordan like stunt that he did after the final buzzer really caught my attention. Kobe has become just as consumed as we are as fans when it comes to comparing him to Mike that he seems to think that he needs to act like Mike at times.

The one thing that Kobe didn’t do a good job of last night was imitating how well Jordan typically played in NBA finals games. Kobe was horrendous all night long except in the last two minutes of the game when he hit a big shot and grabbed two key rebounds to help the Lakers complete the comeback over the Celtics. When he wasn’t missing shots, or dribbling the ball off of his feet, he looked out of sync and frustrated at times.

A good example of how bad Kobe was last night was displayed in the second quarter when he got the ball at the three point line and had Rasheed Wallace in front of him about three feet away. Instead of pressuring Kobe, Wallace backpedalled to go position himself under the basket for a rebound and let Kobe take a wide open three pointer which he missed. He was that bad at times last night. Ignore the 23 points that Kobe scored and the finals MVP award he collected. Those points and MVP award are very misleading of how Kobe actually played last night.

Overall the Lakers didn’t play well at all. They shot poorly from the field due to the Celtics tough defense and poor shot selection from several Lakers players, and L.A.’s free throw shooting wasn’t anything to brag about either except for in the fourth quarter when they needed every point to win. Besides hitting key free throws in the last three minutes of the game, there only saving grace was their great offensive rebounding, and Ron Artest and Pau Gasol.

Ron Artest and Pau Gasol stepped up and played big throughout the entire game and were the ones who led the charge late in the third quarter to come back from a thirteen point deficit. Derek Fisher didn’t play extremely well last night but he came through with a huge three point shot in the fourth with two minutes remaining to tie the game.

Despite Kobe’s off night and the Lakers overall average to subpar play. Game seven was by far the best game of the series. At the same time this game displayed what the entire series had been all about; two good teams who at times couldn’t find a way to put it all together to play a complete game.

For three quarters the Boston Celtics looked like the team that we saw in games two, four and five. Then at times they looked like the team we saw in games one, three and six. Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett came to play and played well at times and so did Rasheed Wallace. But they disappeared in the fourth quarter when they were needed the most.

While the Celtics were playing like the team we saw in games two, four and five through three quarters of game seven. L.A. was playing like they did in games two, four and five and pretty much played like that the entire game. The game basically came down to which one of the two underperforming teams could make big plays down the stretch in the fourth quarter since both teams had reverted back to old habits in the fourth.

Five years from now when people talk about this game. They are going to talk about how great both teams played defensively and how poorly Kobe Bryant played in maybe one of the biggest games in his career to date. Some may mention how Ron Artest played big for L.A. all night, then thanked his psychiatrist and promoted his upcoming rap album during the post game interview.

However people choose to talk or remember game seven of the 2010 NBA finals. It will ultimately be remembered as the night that L.A. got revenge on Boston for the loss in the 2008 NBA finals. Once again, congrats to the Lakers.

Derek Fisher not Kobe was the fourth quarter closer in game three

I am aimlessly typing this blog wondering where do I begin to discuss this game. If you watched game three of the 2010 NBA finals tonight, you too are still trying to figure out what you just watched. It was by far one of the sloppier NBA finals games ever played. I really don’t know what to make of this game or even what to write. I don’t think anyone from the Los Angeles Lakers or the Boston Celtics could describe what happen tonight verbally or on paper. This blog entry may end up being as lame as Drake’s debut album.

Boston started the game playing extremely well going up 11 – 3 during the first four minutes of the game. Kevin Garnett came out looking like the Garnett from 2008 by running the floor and beating every Laker big man down the court on the first three plays of the game scoring on a dunk, lay-up and alley-oop. L.A. started the game completely out of sync. No one in the Lakers starting five seemed to know who they were guarding or who on the Celtics had the ball at times. Offensively they couldn’t do anything right. Phil Jackson then did something uncharacteristic by calling a time out while his team was down early in a game. Immediately out of the time out, it seemed as if the teams had switched jerseys. Boston couldn’t guard anyone on the floor, and on offense they looked perplexed. This was an early sign of things to come from both of these teams tonight.

Kobe Bryant was pretty much the only decent bright spot in the entire first half as the Lakers erased a eight point deficit to take a fifteen point lead midway through the second quarter. Lamar Odom aided Kobe in establishing this lead by coming off the bench for Ron Artest who couldn’t run an offense if he was playing a game of one on one basketball. Lamar chipped in with eight points by being aggressive and attacking the basket instead of settling for jump shots. Odom’s mobility caused the Celtics duo of plump big men of Kendrick Perkins and Glen “Big Baby” Davis issues. Other than Kobe and Lamar, the Lakers weren’t anything special. A lot of what they were able to accomplish was aided by Boston’s ignorant, sloppy play on both ends of the court. Boston made a run that cut the fifteen point deficit down to eight at one point. But L.A. was able to push it back out to a twelve point lead before the end of the half.

Ray Allen wondering what happened in game three

After watching a half of bad basketball, you expected or at least hoped to see a better played game in the second half. Unfortunately what many of us may have expected or hoped to see didn’t happen. Immediately both teams started the second half as they had ended the first by playing bad basketball. Kobe by himself allowed the Celtics to get back into the game by taking several ill advised shots that were not within the flow of the offense. Kobe became 2004 to 2007 Kobe Bryant where he was going to jack up shots whenever he felt like it no matter what. Kobe may have taken some bad shots, but Ray Allen couldn’t hit anything whether he took a good or bad shot. After putting on a shooting clinic on Sunday, Ray went 0 for 13 and became more of a liability for the Celtics rather than an asset when he was on the court. Paul Pierce wasn’t much better and he had no one to blame but himself tonight because Ron Artest sat on the bench most of the game in foul trouble.

Finally in the fourth quarter the Celtics made a run to come within one point of the Lakers. Glen Davis came up huge in Boston’s fourth quarter comeback. Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett also contributed in the comeback. On the defensive end of the court the Celtics had no answer for the Lakers and their pick and roll offense that they were running with Derek Fisher on every trip down the court. Usually in the fourth quarter it’s Kobe that’s the closer, but in game three it was D-Fish who hit all of the big shots in route to scoring eleven fourth quarter points. Garnett, Rondo and Davis hit some big shots of their own, but Fisher was too much for Boston in the fourth. Once the tomfoolery of a basketball game was over, the Lakers stood victorious in a 91 to 84 victory over the Celtics.

Overall you would have to give the Lakers credit for hanging in there and winning this game. L.A. Was able to play gritty, tough defense and get huge contributions from their bench in this game. Kobe and the Lakers did what Boston usually does on a regular basis and it’s something that many people including myself have wondered about the Lakers. Can they win “ugly”? That question is put to rest after tonight’s game three. On the other hand you still wonder what is wrong with the Celtics and will they ever get their form back that they had coming into this series. Right now Doc Rivers needs to figure out a way to get the “Big four” playing well again. Part of me wonders if old age and injuries are starting to catch up with the Celtics now. If Boston doesn’t come with it on Thursday, then there will be a cause for concern as to what will happen in games five and six.

Earlier today I posed the question in my blog as to if game three was the most important game for the Lakers. They didn’t play like it was at times, but when it really counted. Derek Fisher played as if it was the most important game for L.A. During Fisher’s teary eyed interview after the game, he commented that game three was a very important game for them and possibly the most important game for them in this series. I completely agree with that statement.

Some say that the most important games in a seven games series is game three when a team is down 0-2, and the closeout game. The Lakers aren’t down 0-2, but I am wondering if that saying applies to this series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. With the scene being shifted to the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston where the next three games will be played. One has to wonder what will happen if the Lakers lose to the Celtics in game three tonight. Is game the the most important game for the Lakers? Of course the series won’t be over nor will the Lakers be in a win or else situation from a technical standpoint. But with these two teams having a history between them going back to 2008. You wonder from a psychological standpoint how a game three loss would affect the Lakers with two more games left to be played in Boston.

Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher won’t be affected mentally by a game three loss. The players who may become affected are players like Andrew Bynum, and Ron Artest. Artest has never played in the NBA finals, and Andrew barely played in the 2009 finals due to him constantly being in foul trouble. Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton, Shannon Brown, and Sasha Vujacic are also guys that you wonder as to how they will play when the intensity of the NBA finals gets tougher if L.A. goes down two games to one. Two more players to think about are Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. Both are very talented players who are inconsistent and have a tendency to play small when the noose gets a little tighter. I am fully aware that all of the players that I have mentioned except for Ron Artest played in the NBA finals last year. But during the 2009 NBA finals there wasn’t ever a time where the Orlando Magic posed a serious threat to the Lakers chances of winning it all. In my opinion for the exception of Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, the Lakers aren’t really battle tested from a mental standpoint.

Unlike the 2009 Orlando Magic team, this Boston Celtics team pose a serious threat to the Lakers. Playing from behind in this series in terms of how many games they are down to Boston is a position that this Lakers team may not want to get into. An ideal situation for the Lakers would be for them to win all three games in Boston to end the series there and celebrate winning back to back NBA championships on Boston’s home court. That’s an ideal situation though and one that most likely won’t become reality. The Lakers need to do what Boston went to L.A. to do and accomplished, which was to win at least one game so that they can bring the series back to their home court with a chance to close it out. In order for this to happen though, I feel that they may have to win game three tonight to take some of the pressure off the role players. This may sound crazy right now, but if the Lakers are down 2-1 to the Celtics after tonight. The pressure will be all on the Lakers for games four and five……………..Celtics win tonight by 5

Ray Allen broke a NBA finals three point record by hitting on 8 of 11 from behind the arc.

I am not one to say “I told you so”, but I will. The Boston Celtics 103 to 94 win over the Los Angeles Lakers was a game that was a tale of two halves. The first half was about a shooting clinic that was put on by Ray Allen as the Celtics played tough, fundamental basketball and dominated the Lakers at times. The Lakers became the team that we have all become accustomed to seeing for stretches during games if not a whole game or games. L.A. played uninspired basketball on both ends of the court and could not figure out a way to slow down or stop Ray. The second half was a very close, grind it out, defensive type of game that was nip and tuck throughout the second half with the Celtics winning by nine as I had predicted earlier yesterday in my Sunday sports notes blog. In both halves the Celtics played how most people expected them to play in game one but didn’t for some odd reason. Rajon Rondo did what I expected him to do and played aggressive, smart basketball throughout the whole game and ended up with his fifth playoff triple-double. Rondo really came up big defensively in the last three minutes of the game by stealing the ball from Kobe twice and blocking one of his shots which ended up being a key moment in the fourth quarter. Ray Ray or as his mama named him, Ray Allen, played extremely well and set the tone in the first half by breaking an NBA finals three point record by hitting eight of eleven from behind the arc. Paul Pierce was pretty much ineffective as expected with Ron Artest guarding him most of the time last night. Kevin Garnett was not himself again. I don’t know whets going on with him except that maybe it’s time for him to hang it up after this year. Kendrick Perkins was okay at times when he wasn’t embarrassing himself by trying to do things with the ball that he had no business doing. On four separate occasions, Kendrick received the ball on the baseline two feet away from the three point line, and he would try to face up the opponent and drive to the basket. That isn’t your game Perkins, know your role and play it!

Kobe Bryant had a Kendrick Perkins moment of his own last night. He seemed to be content with not asserting himself into the game until the last two minutes of the first half. I understand that he wants to get his teammates involved early, but he still needs to be assertive throughout the whole game and not just when the Lakers are down by fifteen. Kobe may have Jesus like abilities on the court and would make one think that he can walk on water and perform miracles. But imitating LeBron James by not having his presence felt on the court as he did in the first half is inexcusable for a superstar in the NBA finals. I am not pinning the loss of the Lakers on Kobe, just stating what I saw and what the game film shows. Andrew Bynum played great last night and I have been impressed with him answering the bell and playing through injuries and standing toe to toe with the Celtics front line. Pau Gasol also played well at times but wasn’t consistently effective throughout the game. But we have become accustomed to seeing this from him. Pau is a good but not great player who has issues consistently playing tough and well during games. Ron Artest, Lamar Odom and Jordan Farmar were not much of a factor except for Artest on the defensive end. Odom and Farmar barely even saw the floor once they got routinely “handled” by one the Celtics. If the Lakers want to have this series comeback to Los Angeles, everything I have typed in this paragraph needs to be corrected or they could once again be walking off the court, watching the Celtics celebrate winning a NBA Championship in Boston.

One thing that is a little painful to watch is the horrible calls that the referees have made in both games in this series. Some of the calls in game two were some of the worst I have seen in a long time. On two calls late in the fourth quarter, replay should have been used to determine the proper call but wasn’t. Why even have instant replay and the ability to use it if the referees won’t use it? I would hate to see this series decided becasue of a pivotal call that tips the series in either the Celtics or Lakers favor. It seems like not only are the refs making bad calls on who knocked the ball out of bounds or if a block shot was goal tending or not. The refs have been calling some ticky tack fouls in both games that have put several players in foul trouble and have caused them to spend more time on the bench than on the court. Rasheed Wallace had four fouls by the middle of the third quarter and I don’t even remember him even checking into the game. I know the refs want to keep it clean, but let the players play and stop being so quick to blow the whistle. People are watching the NBA finals to watch the star players compete in the game, not the star players watching the game from the bench.

Ben Roethlisberger

Its 4:33am GMT and I am wide awake sitting on the couch watching looped episodes of Total Access on the NFL Network, drinking a rum and coke and typing this blog out on my blackberry. I may turn on DVR’rd episodes of America’s Game: Dallas Cowboys 92′ and 93′ that I have recorded. But first I am going to get the beginning of my blog out on electronic paper. Hopefully after I write this blog entry I can quote that lame ass line from Young Jeezy and say “This is the realest shit I ever wrote”!

This week has been somewhat of a slow week in sports but there were still a few noteworthy things to talk about. In Pittsburgh you had Ben Roethlisberger return to practice for the first time since the sexual assault scandal and his suspension; Four hundred and eighty three miles away from Pittsburgh, Tom Brady was treated as if he’s just another player by the New England Patriots front office during contract negotiations; Over in L.A. the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics began play in the 2010 NBA finals in which the Lakers took game one to a tune of 102 to 89; Then from the corner Lombardi Ave and S. Oneida in Green Bay, reports came out about a Green Bay Packers player being under investigation for sexual assault with alleged victims. (Yes victims)

Ben Roethlisberger:

I began and ended that last paragraph talking about NFL players who allegedly sexually assaulted women, and I will most likely do the same with this paragraph and the next one. Big Ben was granted to permission to practice with his team mates while still serving a 6 game suspension. From the looks of things, Ben is doing and saying all of the right things. He has come into camp looking extremely thinner than he did just seven weeks ago. I don’t know if he did the LenDale White diet or what, but he looks like the Big Ben pre motorcycle accidents and assaulting women in hotel rooms and restrooms. I hope he realizes that he dodged a major bullet in Milledgeville, Ga, and he is getting a second chance that some people don’t get in life after an allegation like he faced. I have been on record as saying that no matter what, as long as I am alive, I will never forgive him for what he was accused of. I don’t have a daughter or any kids as of now, but if it were my daughter that he assaulted like that. I would make damn sure that Ben wouldn’t be alive to take another snap in the NFL if you catch my drift. As mentioned earlier, he is doing and saying all of the right things. Let’s hope that his actions off the field mirror what his words are as of now.

Lambeau Field at the corner of Lombardi Ave. and S. Onieda

Trouble in Green Bay:

The trials and tribulations of Ben Roethlisberger haven’t been noticed by everyone as we now know that an unnamed Packer is under investigation for sexual assault. The unnamed Packer has admitted to having sexual contact with the alleged victims, but says it was consensual. The women say different though. They also say that there was more than one Packer involved. At least seven players were interviewed; six of them for now are not suspected of any criminal activates. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the unnamed player is someone who no one would really know. I am sure everyone who is a Packers fan will know him and know if he lives in Green Bay, DePere or Appleton during the season. Roger Goodell and league officials won’t jump in until the matter is resolved. Goodell did go on to say that “I am not going to wait for somebody to get thrown in jail to take action”. Sounds like he is just as pissed as I am about NFL players becoming p*$@#y burglars during their down time. Back in January Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Eric Foster allegedly sexually assaulted a female hotel employee the morning of the AFC Championship game. Sexual assaults are becoming a trend these days amongst NFL players and there is no excuse for it.

I am not saying the unnamed Packer is guilty of what he is being accused of. It’s just that these sexual assault cases are getting out of hand and are leading a bad example for kids who may look up to these players. Green Bay isn’t unfamiliar to these types of cases. Mark Chamura’s story is well documented as well as Gilbert Brown’s and a couple other Packers. The unnamed Packer could very well be telling the truth about the sexual contact being consensual. It wouldn’t be the first time a woman has come out and accused a player of sexual assault and later we discover it was consensual. I am willing to bet that even if the unnamed Packer is proven to be innocent, he will be cut from the team.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady not seeing or feeling the Love in New England:

It seems like if innocent women aren’t getting abused by NFL players these days. The actual players are getting abused or disrespected as Tom Brady is the latest victim. Brady is due to become a free agent at the end of the 2010 season and he has been or was in negotiations with the New England Patriots for a contract extension. Things began well with Brady’s agents (Don Yee and Steve Dubin) and the Pats front office agreeing to meet, but that where the positives ended. According to reports, there is a growing sense of disconnect between the two parties. In fact, contract talks have been nonexistent and there doesn’t seem to be any urgency on the Pats end to get a deal done.

The Patriots are one of several teams that are trimming back their payroll with the possibly of a new CBA coming soon. Tom Brady being a player rep also makes things interesting because he knows the logistics of the possible new CBA agreement that’s being negotiated. On the other hand he understands that the Patriots want him to sign a team friendly deal. Brady will turn 33 this year and this is possibly his last contract before retirement. He isn’t going to take a team friendly deal that easily. Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network has reported that Tom Brady won’t sign a long-term contract until Peyton Manning signs his new deal.

My personal feeling is that Brady and the Patriots will get something worked out. He and Robert Kraft are really close and have always seemed to have a mutual understanding about things. Also, there isn’t a guarantee that under the potential new CBA agreement, that teams will be able to franchise a player. With the ability to “franchise” a player potentially not being a possibility next year, there is no way that Kraft will let his franchise quarterback and close friend become a free agent next year.

Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett

2010 NBA Finals:

Later today, the NBA finals will resume in Los Angeles with game two between the L.A. Lakers and Boston Celtics. In game one the Lakers did what they were suppose to do as defending champions on their home court. On the other hand, the Celtics added them in doing that by playing uncharacteristic basketball. As I mentioned on Friday after game one, I don’t see those uncharacteristic trends to continue from the Celtics. Look for the Celtics to turn game two into a slow, grind it out, defensive battle. Expect to see the Celtics front line impose their will against the Lakers front line. Andrew Bynum is and always will be the weak link in that front line with Pau Gasol being the second weak link at times. Kevin Garnett looked old and slow and was darn near nonexistent in game one. Unless we are witnessing a great player in Garnett hit the proverbial “its time to give this basketball thing up” wall. I’m willing to bet good money that he will redeem himself and be a force on both ends of the court in game two. Paul Pierce is the one player who may struggle throughout this series with Ron Artest guarding him at times. But look for Pierce to be able to contribute at key times for the Celtics during game two and throughout the series.

The Celtics back court of Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo should also be more of a factor in this game. Allen played well in game one when he wasn’t on the bench in foul trouble. I doubt Ray will get saddled with early fouls and be in foul trouble in game two. Ray Ray should do what he does best. Rajon played hesitant in game one and at times looked like his injuries were bothering him. Whether it was his injuries or the way the Lakers played him defensively that made him hesitant. Rondo is a gamer and he will be aggressive and more decisive with the ball than what he was on Thursday. If the Lakers give Rondo that wide open 15 foot jumper like they did on Thursday. I expect that Rondo will take that shot instead of dribbling the clock away like he did in game one.

The Celtics should win tonight by nine to even up the series at 1 – 1 with the next three games in Boston. If not, this series could be over in five games with L.A. winning back to back NBA Championships. Enjoy your Sunday and feel free to leave your comments and subscribe to this blog.

Game one of the 2010 NBA finals has come and gone leaving most if not all of us impressed with what we saw in the Lakers 102 to 89 win over the Celtics. The Lakers did what defending champions should do in the NBA finals by displaying excellence on both ends of the court. Kobe Bryant came out aggressive and focused like I have never seen him before. You could tell that the Lakers were trying to prove a point and put their imprint on this series. I have always had a philosophy that the first game of any playoff series in any sport is almost meaningless. The reason I believe this is because typically all home teams will come out in the first game and dominate, even more so with a defending champion. Then once game one has been played, the real strengths and weaknesses of both teams come out in games two through seven. As we all know though, when Phil Jackson wins the first game of a playoff series, his teams always win the series. Maybe this proven philosophy of mine doesn’t apply to Phil and the Lakers, but there is always a first time for everything in life. Kim Kardashian was ever so kind to remind us of this Phil Jackson tidbit last night by tweeting this fact. Like I said last night on twitter, I’m sure that someone told her about it because I doubt that Kim can read nor knows anything about sports.

All you Laker fans can enjoy the memories of game one, but don’t start buying tickets to the championship parade just yet. In lieu of the Lakers dominance, they’re things that happened last night that I don’t expect to happen routinely throughout the rest of the series. I don’t expect Rajon Rondo to continue to be hesitant and non aggressive when Kobe is guarding him from ten feet away. I don’t expect Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, Kendrick Perkins and Glen “Big Baby” Davis to not make Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Kardashian err I mean Odom, work on both ends of the court. The last two things that I don’t expect to see the rest of the series is Paul Pierce and that defense to not be effective or nonexistent. Kobe Bryant didn’t see the typical defense that he usually sees when he plays against the Celtics. There were not any double or triple teams or any trapping to get the ball out of his hands. Everything that I just mentioned are all things that happened last night along with the Lakers answering the bell in the 102 to 89 win over the Celtics.

Kobe Bryant may have made a statement with the permanent scowl that he had on his face and his flawless play. But will we see this the rest of the series or will he and the Lakers do what they always do? Play well and determined when motivated, but play uninspired and disinterested for stretches if not games. The Lakers are the Lakers and for the exception of Ron Artest, they are the same team from two years ago. Tiger’s can’t change their stripes nor can teams when they keep the same core players. Sure teams can learn how to win and do great things together. But there comes a point within a seven game series in which who you are as a team to the core comes out. So the question is how long will this revenge factor continue to fuel Kobe and the “Lake show”? Because what we saw last night is what we have seen from this Laker team before.

I still say Celtics in seven folks………

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My intentions were to have this blog entry posted on Tuesday, but I decided to wait and think about this Lakers/Celtics series a little longer before I actually started stroking the keys on this one. I have also been busy writing football blogs for the sports website that I write for which one of my entries this week was the topic of someone’s article in a Denver magazine that gave me a little publicity. With all of that said, I am sorry for the delay if you were looking for this Lakers/Celtics blog. If you weren’t looking for it, then I guess there are no hard feelings. As I once said on twitter, football is my wife and basketball is my mistress. So today I am going to spend time talking about my mistress since I talk about my wife 24/7.

Tonight is the beginning of part two in what some Laker fans and the Lakers themselves consider being unfinished business from two years ago. This is the NBA Finals in which NBA fans and Laker fans around the world have been waiting for since the lost in 2008. Maybe only the media and Nike hyped LeBron vs. Kobe NBA Finals has been anticipated more. Back in 2008 the Lakers not only lost in the NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics, but they were manhandled the whole series and embarrassed in the closeout game. We all remember Kobe Bryant scowling at the podium after every loss agonizing over mistakes and missed shots that he and his team had during the loss. We also vividly remember the comments in which Bryant made after the blowout loss which ended the series. He commented on how soft the Lakers were and that he vowed that they would come back the following year a tougher team mentally and physically. During the Lakers championship run last year, the Lakers were never really tested mentally or physically until they reached the second round of the playoffs and had to go up against the Houston Rockets who had Ron Artest and Shane Battier on their roster and accepted the challenge of going toe to toe with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. After a grueling seven game series with the Rockets, Kobe commented on how he felt that the Rockets had really made the Lakers prove their toughness and the Lakers were ready to win it all after that series. The lakers succeeded in doing what Kobe said they were poised to do after the Houston series by defeating the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals. But after the Houston series, no one really tested them from a physical standpoint the way the Rockets had done in the semi finals and the Celtics did in 2008.

Fast forward to today; the Lakers are coming into the NBA Finals for the third year in a row and as the defending NBA champions. Despite the impressive resume over the past three years, this is the series in which many people want to see whether or not the Lakers are a mini dynasty, or the product of a watered down, soft league. Unfortunately the general public has almost discredited last year’s championship since it came against a soft, young Orlando Magic team that wasn’t as talented as the Lakers nor the Celtics team that beat L.A. in 2008. People also remember the Lakers/Rockets series last year and remember how the Rockets were able to take that series to seven games without Yao Ming, which is something that shouldn’t have happened if the Lakers were so great of a team. Many people including Laker fans who watched last year’s Lakers/Rockets series, all say that if Yao wouldn’t have gotten hurt, the Lakers wouldn’t have won that series. So there is still a question as to if the Lakers can beat talented teams who play physical on both ends of the court.

To add to the Lakers new found toughness, they added Ron Artest during the offseason after Trevor Ariza left for Houston. The Lakers acquired Artest not just for the playoffs, but to win a second consecutive NBA championship. He has had his ups and downs during the season and during the playoffs, but as of late he has been playing great ball. Ron brings a level of toughness that he hasn’t shown yet in L.A. this year, although it is expected to come out in this series against Boston. The Celtics are a team that plays basketball the way it used to be played back when most people in their thirties and older were growing up. The NBA is an extremely soft league comapred to what it uesd to be back in the 80’s and 90’s. Boston plays physical, tough, and aggressive and is long and athletic which are all things that have bothered the Lakers in the past. Phil Jackson has done what he always does before every playoff series by commenting on what he feels is a disadvantage to his team. He called out the Celtics as to how they play defense and how Kevin Garnett defends players. Before the last series he singled out Steve Nash by saying how he felt that Steve carried and palmed the ball at times. Phil does these things to plant a seed in to the official’s heads so that they will look for it during games. Does it work? Who knows, bottom-line is that the Lakers still have to execute on both ends of the court. Looking for calls or complaining about how the Celtics play defense wont get them their second ring in three years.

After the Lakers advanced to the 2010 NBA Finals I predicted that the Celtics would beat the Lakers in seven games. I wavered during the week thinking that the Lakers may actually pull it off, but I am going to stick with the Celtics in seven. Kobe has always had trouble against the Celtics and if Kobe goes, so goes the Lakers. Rarely does anyone on the Lakers step up and perform on the big stage when Kobe is not his usual self due to tough defense or not playing well. In addition to that, I just can’t logically see how the Lakers can consistently win key matchups during this series. Sorry Laker fans, if I am wrong I will admit to it. If you feel that Iam wrong please comment as to why via on this blog site or on my twitter page which is linked below.

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