Archive for June, 2009

Final Thoughts on the NBA Finals

The Los Angeles Lakers won their 15th NBA Championship last night, winning Game 5 of the NBA Finals 99-86 over the Orlando Magic and taking the series 4-1. It took a team effort, and it was the unselfishness of Kobe Bryant, the front line of Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum to be the kryptonite for Superman (aka Dwight Howard). Derek Fisher accurate three point shooting and the coaching of Phil Jackson propelled Los Angeles through the adversity, and sometimes their own arrogance to achieve glory.

Many can say the Lakers won the championship, but at the same time, Orlando blew this series. A missed layup by Courtney Lee in Game 2 at the end of regulation (which was later said by Phil Jackson that his own guy, Pau Gasol, goaltended at the end), and a missed free throw by Howard in the closing seconds of Game 4, easily could’ve translated to the series really going back to the City of Angels for Game 6, but the Magic’s inexperience plus the Lakers’ hunger after getting humiliated in Boston by 39 a year ago equaled the NBA Championship.

For Kobe Bryant, it is more transforming for him, he went from being labeled as selfish, arrogant, and not willing to be a team player, to a guy who trusted his teammates, did not need to score 81 points or jack up 35+ shots for his team to win. The team did not just Kobe-watch, they actually participated. He got this championship with his team, and did not need to be the “sidekick”. He earned this NBA Finals MVP award and became the second player to average over 30 pts, 5 reb, and 5 ast in a Finals series (other person: Michael Jordan) He got his fourth ring, and Los Angeles got its fourth championship this decade, and the first since 2002.

As for the Magic, they have nothing to be ashamed about. They have a core group of players led by Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, but they will really have to assess the point guard situation. Rafer Alston came over in a mid-season trade from Houston, after Jameer Nelson went down w/ a torn labrum. Nelson, who led the Magic in scoring against the Lakers when healthy, (which resulted in two wins) was not the same in this series, and the Magic were more in sync with Alston, and Anthony Johnson running the show. Nelson is still the point guard for the future, but if anything, Johnson might be the odd man out, as he did not get any PT during the playoffs, which is kind of sad, since he was had quite more of a role during the series with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

For the Lakers, it is another toast of success, and the add on to the legacy of the Mikan era, the West era, the Showtime era, and the Shaq era. Enjoy the championship, and it will be very interesting to see who emerges with the Larry O’Brien trophy next year.