I don’t get paid to watch 80 regular season basketball games and keep up with all the rosters and stats for months. The teams with the most wins may run out of endurance once it’s time to fight for the ring, anyway. So I don’t pay attention to the NBA, or any other sport, until the playoffs begin.
When this year’s pro hoops post-season started, I quickly decided that Lebron James deserved a championship because he’s so excellent. One day the Missus pointed out how even the way he strides up the court between plays is inspiring. “He just walks with so much purpose,” she said. But he lost.
Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard is just plain marketable. He’s young, friendly and the best big man in the league. But Superman couldn’t carry the Magic on his shoulders, so they lost.
There’s no denying that since Michael Jordan retired, Kobe Bryant is the last person a player would want to challenge. He is a bloodthirsty killer, and his Los Angeles Lakers are the returning champions. But after you count Bryant, Pau Gasol and awesome Ron Artest, their roster is mostly average. Plus, they don’t play so well as a group – only as Kobe and company.
Mr. Bryant has shown himself to be the baddest thing on two legs in the 2010 playoffs. I just watched him score 20-something straight Laker points in Game Five. But keep in mind that there are ten legs on a basketball team. So despite all the breathtaking Black Mamba highlights, they didn’t have the best output as a team. So they lost.
The bottom line is that L.A. fans better hope Derek Fisher or somebody besides Kobe plays big tonight, or they will earn an opportunity to go fishing on a Wednesday.
I do realize that the Lakers have home-court advantage and a great chance of winning their second straight NBA title this week, but lesbi-honest: Kobe ‘nem are not the best team.
“But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.” – 1 Corinthians 12:20-22
Based on not just some of its parts, but rather the sum of its parts, Boston is the best team. Does the general public see the Celtics as the underdogs? I’ve heard it said that they’re older than the Lakers, which is obviously not true. But maybe they call Boston old because compared to Kobe ‘nem they are humble and wise like old folks.
The Celtics’ most obvious advantage is having three players headed to the NBA Hall of Fame. But more importantly, Garnett, Pierce and Allen have put the team goal of winning above their own personal importance. How else can you explain them allowing their
point guard servant – Playoffs and Finals MVP Rajon Rondo – to take over the team in the past two years and especially the last two months? Boston’s team has an apparent sense of humility and, yes, teamwork that makes me root for them even though I live in L.A.
“The greatest among you shall be your servant” – Matthew 23:11
Again, I’m no expert. After all, I just figured out who the Celtics’ fifth starting player is last week. His name is Kendrick Perkins, he’s as tough as a Texas truck and plays so hungry that I didn’t assume he was a starter. Speaking of which, the Celtics are a pretty tough team. By tough, I mean like the Detroit Pistons 20 years ago. This season’s Celtics’ beat Superman Howard and the Orlando Magic into submission with their toughness.
Not-so-tough guy Glen “Big Baby” Davis may not be as hard as Perkins and might be an underachiever in general, but his game sure is admirable. [ Bias + Bonus: He’s also from my parents’ neighborhood. ] Athtletically, Big Baby’s an atypical freak of nature like Charles Barkley was, but on the Celtics he’s just another role player. So are Tony Allen, Rasheed Wallace, Nate Robinson and…
You get the idea. The Celtics have a great team, not just one star.
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I think Boston winning this week would be a victory for human consciousness. If good guys can finish first, then why can’t the best team win?!