Summer: Lakers 3, Magic 1


Hola.  IKH is more or less on summer vacation.  Sure, there’s great stuff to talk about year ’round, and there’s lots happening.  But from May to August in the Northeastern American United States, hundreds of thousands of women emerge from a springtime of insecurity to weather their bodies with muscle tone and Coppertone.  As the sun shines on abs and calves, it gets a little ridiculous to worry about Kobe Bryant’s legacy, Manny Ramirez’s shrinking nutsack, and the like.

Let’s get one thing straight.  playing professional sports is about two things:  making shitloads of money and tagging the honeys with the Oh face mural.  It wasn’t always that way (because players used to be underpaid) but it is now.   Adrenaline = testerone.  We call our mothers and sisters on Mothers’ Day, and then we go out to get lost in skirts who traffic in margaritas and umbrella drinks.

Hernandez’s and Mex’s mileage may vary.  Hernandez believes in a thing called hockey, but when Game 7 of the NHL playoffs takes place in June and hinges on an asshole named Crosby (didn’t he use to be in Ratt?), I’m not buying it.  And Mex is a Red Sox fan which makes him part of a legendary group that I’d characterize as an eternal AA meeting without a 12-step program.

But I thought I’d stop by to gloat on my NBA Finals prediction that the Lakers would win the trophy this year, which is going to happen sometime next week.  Which, admittedly, I didn’t make on this site.  But Hernandez will vouch for me, or I’m lacing his celebratory Donovan’s burger.

I admitted at the time I made my prediction that I haven’t or wouldn’t watch a lot of playoff basketball because it seemed a foregone conclusion that Kobe’s Lakers and LeBron’s Cavaliers would face off against each other.  So I’d readily admit I was wrong in underestimating the 2009 Orlando Magic, if I thought I had.  But the fact is that the Cleveland Cavaliers weren’t all that great a team.

Hernandez and I duked it out at some point about what the Cavaliers needed to excel through these playoffs.  His recommendation was a low-post scorer, and frankly, that’s exactly where LeBron needs to be taking his game.  There’s no question that he worked his ass off through these playoffs and carried his team, but when every media scribe anoints you the eventual NBA champs, that’s not enough.

I, on the other hand, suggested that Cleveland needed a great outside shooter.  After watching Mo Williams and Zydrunas Ilsuckus miss open jumper after jumper, I feel an inner peace.

Orlando won that series with great rotation passing and some sickening 3-point shooting, especially from Rashard Lewis.  All LeBron needed from his slack teammates was some semblance of outside shooting.

Regardless, I knew this was the Lakers’ year.  My complaints about Kobe have been well-documented, and I put way too much faith in Andrew Bynum shoring up the interior defense that Lamar Odom could never provide.  (Note to the Lakers:  don’t put a nappy-headed white guy like Luke Walton anywhere near a team, because you know he’s scoring some primo Hawaiian for the talent so he doesn’t get ass-raped in the shower every day.   And while I’m at it?  Luke, I don’t care who your dad was.  You ain’t Rick Fox.  Your dick is 5 inches long.)

Despite my Kobe hatred, I found myself rooting for the Lakers in this final series.  I saw them dismantle Orlando in Game 1, and saw them get the benefit of bad calls in Game 2 to get a lucky win at home in overtime after a terrible decision by Kobe to attempt a game-winning shot at the buzzer with four guys on him, and get stuffed by Hedo Turkoglu.

Here’s the thing:  I detest Kobe, but there’s no denying that he works hard, even if he doesn’t show up for every game.  But Orlando features Turkoglu, and I hope I’m misspelling that sad-eyed motherfucker’s name, because he is my least favorite NBA player.  We also saw awful coaching decisions by Stan van Gundy to give Jameer Nelson quality minutes after missing all of the playoffs, and even worse, to give JJ Redick minutes in the 4th quarter of any game that mattered.  The douchebag went to Duke.   He couldn’t hit an open 3-pointer unless the rim had  been treated pre-game with lipstick, hairspray and Rohypnol.

At least the Lakers have finally surrounded the rapin’ Kobe with some good-to-great role players.  Pau Gasol has grown on me.  He’s not athletic, but he’s proven to be a serious competitor, and has plugged the holes that Lamar Odom tore apart in previous years.   He’s too lanky to defend Dwight Howard, yet Howard has had an awful series, and looks seriously winded.  Trevor Ariza always plays hard, and Derek Fisher never gives up.  The Magic have looked positively soft against this Lakers team, who haven’t had to play their best.

Game 2 could have gone either way, but in Game 4, the Lakers didn’t get any free throw attempts in the 4th quarter, and the Magic didn’t capitalize.  This series isn’t over yet, but after seeing the intensity in Fisher and Gasol’s face as they iced the Magic in overtime tonight, I have to admit that I’m rooting for the better team to win.


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