Thursday, June 18, 2009
Behind The Scoreboard
Lakers win another title
It’s wrap-up time. The Orlando Magic had a “must win” situation on Sunday. And if there were ever a game in which all the cards were stacked against someone, this would be it. In all of NBA playoff finals history, no team has ever been able to recover from a 3-1 deficit. Twenty-nine have been trampled in the annals dust trying to overcome the stigma.
The Magic has been on a thrill ride throughout the post season. After dropping the first two games to the Lakers at the Staples Center, Orlando gave its fans reasons for hope when they set their mark by shooting 72 percent in the first half of game three. But they had to scramble to keep L.A. from snatching it away in the last quarter.
Just what did this game mean to whom? It was repeatedly denied by the principles (Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson) that they were not chasing personal goals. This title was for the team and the fans. The former would move one title closer to the six rings worn by Michael Jordan and the eleven owned by Bill Russell (That’s more rings than he has fingers and thumbs! Wonder if Bill would consider…probably not.). The latter would overtake the legendary Red Auerbach, eclipsing him by one title. Along with the 10 coaching crowns, Phil has 300 professional playoff games and 42 NBA finals games.
The Magic gave the faithful another heart bump in the game Sunday when they jumped to a 12-point lead in the first half. But the Bryant-led combine went back to work and twisted the blade during the second half. The Lakers have the enviable record of being now 33-1 in finals when they have started 3-1. The Lakers are two titles behind the Celtics who have 17.
The rumors started to circulate almost immediately. Bryant stated at his interview that a “huge monkey had been removed from his shoulders.” This from one who had averred just days before that he was not trying to prove that he “could win the big ones without Shaq.” It is inconceivable that Jackson and Bryant would not want to stay around to catch Jordan and the Celtics.
Early Monday, there were two important announcements – Cleveland was trying to deal for Shaq and Hedo Turkoglu was opting out of his final contract year with the Magic. That might be a bad move, Hedo, because the Magic aren’t done yet.
Did any of you know that the Lakers’ centers had been coached throughout the playoffs by Kareem Abdul Jabbar? And that Patrick Ewing was/is an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic?
And lastly, what was Coach Stan Van Gundy going for when in game five he called time to set a play? The Lakers were leading by 11 points and there were 40.4 seconds left in the game. Take it from an old coach, you can’t draw up a 12-point play even with a Ouija board.
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