What I Took Away From Christmas

Kurt —  December 26, 2008

NBA Finals Game 3: Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers

1. A really nice jacket from my brother. Everyone should have a gay brother, it ensures that one truly cool and stylish piece of clothing will be given you each year.

2. The Lakers were the tougher team, the grittier team. They out hustled and out muscled the Celtics. Both teams wanted this one, the Lakers just stepped up in the last 4 minutes and the Celts wilted. (This note may be the hardest for some in the media to get their head around.)

3. Phil Jackson is clearly still looking for his post-Farmar rotation in the backcourt. As Darius echoed in the comments, Van Gundy (who I love as a color guy) was wrong about the Lakers treating this like a playoff game in the rotations, what you saw is pretty much what they have done since Jordan went down.

4. Notes to Celtics fans: You look foolish saying during a 19-game win streak that what makes your team special is they bring it every night, then saying they sleepwalked through the Lakers game. Secondly, don’t complain about the officiating, Kobe Bryant took no free throws either, when do you think that last happened? The refs put the whistles away, and for one game the Lakers were the tougher team.

5. The fact the Lakers were tougher will not stop newspaper columnists and television talking heads from calling the Lakers a soft team during the playoffs. As has been noted by a few in the comments, for the part-time basketball followers in the media, teams are soft until they suddenly aren’t because they won something.

6. Kobe was assigned Rondo and left to roam away from him, which worked at times. This was what the Lakers did in the Finals with moderate success. Really, the key is pretty obvious: Make Rondo a jump shooter. Easier said than done with his quickness, but the Lakers did it for stretches. (If he ever develops a very good midrange game…. watch out.)

6. In the end though, I say about the win what I would have said about the loss — this is December, it has no bearing on June. The win may have been cathartic for fans, but it was 1/82 of the schedule, and the Lakers will have to play better than that in June to win. There certainly was still room for improvement.

7. The best part of Christmas was still the looks on my daughters’ faces opening presents in the morning. By a mile.