Thursday, June 11, 2009
Behind The Scoreboard
Some things just didn’t work out the way they should have for some folks this past week and weekend in the world of sports.
For yours truly it started to go bad when the last Williams sister left the French Open. And it just kept sliding after that. Next came the defeat of the Orlando Magic in the opening round of the NBA Championship. It hit bottom when Calvin Borel failed to make good on his guarantee to take the Belmont as his personal vindication – a personal Triple Crown (jockey that is) on different mounts. Thanks, Calvin. So sure of your prediction, I left it up to you and scheduled a family fishing trip to Spencer Lake in Myrtle. A “Bird” won, just not our “Bird.”
Before the Cavaliers played their decisive game with the Magic, Barry Burleson, our intrepid editor/publisher, told me that it was going to be a Magic and Lakers final. He said it with such perspicacity, it struck an immediate credible chord, but deep down I was still hoping for a LeBron/Bryant showdown. Oddly enough, just about everyone with whom the subject was broached agreed with Barry.
It was clearly obvious that the Magic and coach Stan Van Gundy had not done enough to solve the “Kobe problem.” Just like the Cavaliers had no remedy for Dwight Howard and his escapades in the paint, Orlando could do little to keep Bryant from turning in a Jordanesque playoff performance, making shots and maneuvers which were seemingly impossible and improbable. After helping to dismantle and demoralize the Magic early on, Bryant took a brief respite and then came back to make personal history by hitting 40 points in a finals, his first. It put him in a very elite group.
Some called the 100-75 Lakers victory an embarrassing defeat, unworthy of a team which had beaten the team which had beaten the defending champs.
The Magic was still at the Staples Center on Sunday night and it was a different team which showed up. The Lakers used a collapsing defense on Howard, but Rashard Lewis answered most of his critics. He aided Howard in great measure and forced an extra period. They almost pulled off the most important road win. It appeared that they became a bit impatient and made some costly errors to allow the Lakers the 101-96 win.
The Magic will be at home for the next three games. Under the supporting glare of the home crowd they have the opportunity to go one up.
Do I really believe that? Well, uh, uh.
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