“Well, first things first: I will never say anything bad about Derek Fisher ever again. He could start launching the ball at his own basket for the first 40 games of next season and keep his starting job. Honestly, if there’s one guy who I’m happy about making me look like an absolute and total idiot, it’s Fisher, who deserves sucess in this league just about as much as anyone else.”
Cavs: The Blog, June 12th, 2009.
(I am very, very, very rarely right about anything.)
So, that’s that. Lakers are your back-to-back NBA champions.
Let’s get this out of the way first:
LeBron, Game 6: 27 points, 8-21 shooting, 19 rebounds, 10 assists. Satan.
Kobe, Game 7: 23 points, 6-24 shooting, 15 rebounds, 2 assists. Champion.
LeBron did have five more turnovers than Kobe, but still. For a couple of minutes there, I dreamed about how if Kobe lost while playing like he did, the LeBron/Kobe article would have to become about basketball. The whole “Kobe is a better sports human” thing would sort have melted after a historic choke in game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Celtics.
Alas. The Celtics got tight on the road, they missed Perkins, and Kobe’s teammates stepped up. History is the propaganda of the victors (do I really have to tell you again) — in a few months, this game will be remembered by most people as Kobe’s indomitable will manifesting itself in rebounding, defense on Ray Allen, and some late free throws. Or just be another of Kobe’s five championships, each one like the last.
I know — it’s not fair. Nobody cares. Life isn’t fair. There’s no reason that being a sports fan should be. Smile, clap, tip your cap, and hope one of your favorite athletes gets bailed out the same way someday. The Kobe/LeBron thing is what it always was — LeBron fans waving stat sheets and specific examples and Kobe fans pointing to T-Shirts with rings on them. Nothing ever changes. Nothing ever ends.
As bad as the Kobe nutjobs on the winning side will be, the conspiracy nutjobs on the losing side will be much worse. Not a great game seven for people that like basketball writing to be about basketball instead of legacies and championship organs or the paranoid ramblings of sore losers.
I am extremely happy for Ron Artest, and, to a lesser extent, Derek Fisher. And Gasol, kinda. Not Sasha.
So, the Lakers surviving a horrible Kobe performance because they played gutty defense and were fine with the game becoming a war. That’s another sheet in my “I’m really not sure firing Mike Brown without a clear replacement in mind was a good idea” folder. I mean, maybe they could have waited to see how good the Celtics were before firing Brown? Maybe?
In hindsight, what was the freaking rush? What idiot big-name coach did they think was going to come and help them recruit LeBron? Do they realize that coaches, unlike young players, often have fully formed post-basketball lives that they have no pressure to leave? I mean, I guess Mike Brown’s bonus forced their hands. But yeesh, this is a royal mess.
Ray Allen: very much available for the MLE.
That’s all I have for this season. What a year. First season doing this site from start-to-finish, and after I started doing NBC along with this, first season doing basketball as a real job. Not the outcome I was hoping for this year, but the journey couldn’t have been better. Thanks to all of you for making this such a great season for me and this site.
Hopefully I’ll be able to do the real off-season work here now: rumor breakdowns, player report cards, goofy posts, et cetera. Stay tuned, campers.