Thursday, June 19, 2008
Behind The Scoreboard
Kobe great, not best ever
So the most valuable player of the NBA season made good on his promise to his public after game four. He had stoutly vowed that there would be more playoff games after Sunday night. No one had to tell Kobe Bryant that what he was promising was a stretch. A huge stretch. Following the Lakers’ big meltdown in game four, what else would one expect the player who has been repeatedly placed on a par with Michael Jordan to say? Now, the sportscasters are revising that to intimate that Bryant is the best player on the planet.
I have always stated that Kobe was a great player and can be expected to take over any game when the opposition allows it. But to say that he is the best on earth is a stretch for me. Put Bryant and Jordan together, when Jordan was at the peak of his career, and I think Michael would win it hands down.
And as good as both of these players were, and are, they both had great supporting casts.
Personally, I think the playoff is at the milking stage. Admittedly Paul Pierce is itching for his ring and his place in history, but I can’t shake the feeling that the Celtics never intended to close the series out on the road. How marvelous it would be to share the return of the championship to their own fans in their new Boston Gardens. It has been a 22-year drought.
Take a hard look at the game stats during the entire playoff series. The Celtics lost one game in The Garden. That was to the Detroit Pistons. They downed the Lakers by 10 points in game one and by six in the second. True, the Celtics blew a big lead in game two but they still won. They almost won game three at the Staples Center. And just look at how they dismantled the Lakers in game four to take the 3-1 lead. They were down by 24 at one juncture. That game was turned around when someone remarked off camera that “this is humiliating.” I think Pierce heard the remark. What happened after that is now history – the greatest comeback in a finals series.
Sunday night they allowed the Lakers to flex their muscles, but before any more humiliating remarks could be made, they slapped the Lakers again. First erasing a 19-point deficit and later one of 14. The Lakers won it 103-98, but not before they felt the Celtics’ sting.
And you know what is really odd? The odds makers themselves. They have favored the Lakers in every game. Starting with one point and going with seven for game five. It should really be interesting to see what they offer for game six.
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