Around The World (Wide Web): Suns, Celtics, & Lebron…Oh My

Darius Soriano —  May 14, 2010

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As we continue to wait for the WCF to start, some here are some morning links and fast break thoughts before we get back into full preview mode this afternoon

*Waiting this long for a series to start can be maddening.  I feel like the Lakers haven’t played for a month.  If it weren’t for all the Lebron talk (more on that later), I would have forgotten it was even basketball season.  That said, that’s just us fans.  The players are surely gearing up for Monday and all this sitting around is allowing them to think long and hard about this match up.  And if you’re a Laker thinking about the Suns, does your mind venture back to those playoff defeats of years past?  Mike Bresnahan gives us the skinny on what the Lakers do and don’t focus on from those past match ups.

*We’ll be talking more about this in the afternoon, but obviously a big factor in the WCF will be the three point shooting of the Suns.  They’re the best deep shooting team from the regular season (even better than Orlando) and the Lakers are one of the best defenders of that shot.  Paul Coro of the AZ Republic says something has to give.  Which will it be?

*Speaking of giving, how about doling out some credit to the Celtics?  Sure that sounds strange coming from a Lakers fan, but the C’s won that series versus Cleveland much more than the Cavs losing it.  The team that was too old showed that experience and mettle (and Rondo!) matter and for that I give them their due.  The C’s were the better team and (Via TrueHoop) Bob Ryan is reminding folks of that fact this morning.

*Now for my take on the Cavs and Lebron.  I agree with many that the hype machine was in full effect in building up Lebron James.  And I understand that some of (if not most of) the criticism that he’s receiving is based off Lebron being built up in the manner that he has.  I mean, when you’re proclaimed to be the best and get all the credit in good times you must also deal with a healthy heaping of blame in the bad times.  That said, Lebron is a great, great player.  He’s fantastic.  The things that he’s done so far in his career deserve recognition and praise.  But in the series against the Celtics he ran into a defensive buzz saw.  The C’s were a top 5 defensive outfit all season and that was something that James nor his teammates could overcome.  I think this result shows that Lebron still has things to improve upon in his game.  His lack of a post game hurt him in this series.  As did his relatively average mid-range game.  When Lebron didn’t have the driving lanes and was completely dependent on shooting from outside the paint (or taking highly contested shots from close in) his game suffered mightily.  And while he was still very, very good it was not enough because the Cavs needed “great”.  I think this also proves that system basketball is what wins in this league and not superstar basketball.  What I mean is that the Cavs were built completely on the skill set of Lebron.  He needed to create, he needed to score, he needed to be the fulcrum of their offense.  He was not only the engine, he was the transmission, the starter, and the keys to the car.  And when that is the case, you’re always going to suffer when that player is limited.  Always.  This isn’t to deflect blame from Lebron or to place all fault at the feet of Ferry and Mike Brown.  But, this is a team game where games are won and lost by everyone in an organization.  Lebron needs a more well rounded game to take the next step that his talent level says is available to him.  And his coaches and front office need to better assemble and prepare the team for the times when giving the ball to Lebron and telling him “go to work” won’t be enough.  This was a loss that is on everyone in Cleveland.  And now their fans suffer – and I empathize with that.  Us Lakers fans have seen the depths of these types of losses.  If you don’t agree, go back to the Del Harris days when the Lakers had Shaq, Kobe, Eddie Jones, Van Exel, et al and were getting swept out of the playoffs.  I remember how that felt and those fans in Cleveland are feeling that way too today.  Ouch.  One last note on Lebron – in a way I feel like his career really starts now.  Sure he’s already a veteran in this league, but remember he’s only 25.  And now he’s facing some real adversity.  Sure there were some that questioned if he really was the real deal when he came out of high school, but those doubts were quickly erased in his rookie season.  However, now there are really, substantiated doubts and those concerns are only going to become more entrenched as he goes through his free agency this summer and signs his next contract.  So, with a new number and potentially a new team, it’s time for Lebron to start anew.  Chapter 2 is about to begin and (no pun intended) we will all witness what happens to one of the premier talents this league has seen.  As a basketball fan, I’m fascinated by how this is going to play out.

*So now here we are again with Lebron bounced early and the Lakers still competing for that big gold trophy.  Arash Markazi explores how once again that Kobe/Lebron final is on hold (hat tip to Land O’ Lakers).

*One last note on revenge.  I mentioned earlier that there are surely some Lakers players wanting to satisfy that feeling when playing the Suns.  But I know that there are several fans that want that same feeling over the still alive Celtics.  Personally, in that Cavs/Celtics series, I didn’t have a rooting interest.  But, I know that makes me a minority from that series as many Lakers fans were actually rooting for the C’s in hopes that they’ll advance to the Finals where (if the Lakers can beat the Suns) we’ll get a rematch of 2008.  Let me know in the comments if you’re one of those folks.

Darius Soriano

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51 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): Suns, Celtics, & Lebron…Oh My

  1. These Celtics are downright scary. This is the team, except maybe even better because of Rondo, that savaged the Lakers in 2008. They have a magical gift that makes their opposing team just panic and give up (as the Lakers showed in giving up a 24 point lead in Game 4 and then getting blown out by 39 in Game 6), and makes opposing superstars very, very human.

    That said, I rooted for them against the Cavs not because of LeBron, but because I didn’t want the Big Annoyance to get another shot at a championship. Both Orlando and Boston are very scary (and Phoenix is nothing to take lightly). I don’t think the Lakers have a better chance of beating them. Revenge for 2008 would be sweet. But mainly, I just didn’t want to hear about it if Shaq won again, even as third or fifth banana on the team.

  2. Definitely rooted for the Celts–to win the LO Trophy by dealing sweet revenge to both the Suns and Boston would be tremendous.

    Remember how excited we all were to see the re-birth of Lakers-Celtics…I was genuinely disappointed last year thinking that the rivalry’s renewal was one-and-done (esp. with Boston going out on top).

  3. Im predicting Boston to beat Orlando, they matchup much better against the Magic than the Cavs would have. They have the ability to guard Dwight with one defender in Perkins. They also have a great defender at the point to try and contain Jameers penetration. They can overcome the Magic HCA.

  4. I hate Hate HATE rooting for the Celtics. As one of the many who bleed purple (blue) and gold, anything Celtics raises an inner ire. Strangely, I found that deep within I wanted the Celtics to prevail. I have to admit, it was an uncannily strange feeling. Totally counterintuitive. Not right. WRONG. We should never want them to win. However, I find that there is nothing more gratifying than having the Celtics lose at our hands, and watching this Laker team close the gap and win a 16th banner.

  5. I was rooting for Smelltics for 1 reason and 1 reason only…I didnt want Shaq to get anywhere near bumming another ring. Cant wait to hear shaq rip mike brown (who really deserves to be ripped)! Someone should tell mike brown that the playoffs are about adjustments between games. Did he even coach?

  6. I didn’t cheer FOR the Celtics…I cheered AGAINST the Cavs.

    Not only do we want revenge – we also want homecourt advantage.

  7. So, if it is Lakers-Celtics in the finals this time around, what will Phil do this time as opposed to what didn’t work last time?

    Certainly, having any kind of Bynum, a tougher Gasol and a small forward not named Vlad-Rad will help a lot, but what else can Phil do this time around, in terms of matchups and schemes?

  8. http://polynorthamerica.com/bye.jpg

    one bad thing about boston/cleveland ending in 6 and not 7: more lebron speculation hogging airtime belonging to the wcf before monday night.

    as much as I wanted the leps to meet us in the finals, I couldn’t get myself to root for them last night. was glad they’re able to pull it out, but watching those 3s from pierce and sheed go down in the 4th still pisses me off. when the “new york knicks” chant came up, first thing I thought of was “crap, simmons’ plan worked!” also, every time that guy waving the celtics flag comes out, it was like game 6 in ’08 all over again.

    revenge takes patience.

  9. i rooted for the celtics too for a couple of reasons: shaq’s 5th ring and lebrons 1st mainly. revenge would be sweet as would homecourt, but the magic winning over boston would provide neither and i’m going to root for the magic. that series was as far as my celtics cheers go. my hate towards them could only be overcome by another hate….

    no hate for the magic. so go, magic!

    do you think the lakers, granting they get past phoenix, have a better chance against the c’s or magic? we know the c’s guard kobe well and are as a unit, bigger and longer and will be more bothersome for our bigs. but there’s homecourt against them.

    the magic on the other hand are better then they were last year but by how much? i can’t really tell by their postseason. it has been a cakewalk so far.

  10. Can we suspend the Kobe-Lebron debate until Lebron has a ring? It is simply annoying, and insulting, until then.

    I do think that the Magic will beat the Celtics in six games.

    I think that the Lakers beat the Suns in five games.

    And I think that if the Playoffs are preparations for the Finals, the Lakers will have been very well prepped for the Magic, should they advance against the Suns.

    Go Lakers!

  11. I just want to let it be known that back in December on here I was telling everyone how deep this Celtics team was and good they are, even Kurt when he was running the blog was dismissing what I was saying because of how they were playing at the moment (and others were bashing me for it then too). While I dont think they are as deep as the 08′ team they are still downright scary, but I would rather see them in the Finals than Orlando, I want revenge.

  12. I think the main reason the Cs beat the Cavs is Mo Williams. He could neither guard Rondo nor keep up with Ray Allen. Boston isn’t a great halfcourt team, but they looked like it against the Cavs because Rondo could drive-and-dish and Allen got good looks with his curls. Not only that, Rondo’s penetration put the Cavs in scramble mode; they couldn’t put a body on anybody and made the Celtics look like a decent offensive rebounding team–which they are not.

    Now, Boston’s defense is good enough to get stop regularly, and those stops lead to transition baskets and early offense, which has become their bread-and-butter.

    You allow Boston to score in both the halfcourt and in transition with relative ease, you’re going to get killed.

    I don’t know that Orlando has the kind of weakness Boston can exploit. The problem for Orl is Boston will use single-coverage on Howard, and it’s going to be more difficult for their other players to create scoring opportunities and good looks for themselves.

    This is either going to be a series of blowouts by orlando, or 7 brutal games of rugby.

  13. do I want the Celtics in the finals? most assuredly not! imagine how devastating yet another loss to the Cs would be!?
    -mr. negativity

  14. It was weird to root for the Celtics but I wanted LeBron/Mike Brown exposed to put the Kobe comparisons to rest for now.

    Now that it’s done, I’d prefer to play the Celtics, mainly for HOMECOURT but also a bit for REVENGE.

    Different this time:
    Lakers with Homecourt
    Bynum plays (barring further injury)
    Lakers much better defensively than in ’08
    Gasol has beefed up
    Artest to take on Pierce/Allen
    Defending Champs/Been through the fire

    Lakers definitely beat the Celts, 90/10.
    Closer to 60/40 against the Magic.

    That said, I don’t think they’ll look past the Suns. Revenge can come early and late for the Lakers this season.

  15. I want revenge, but just the thought of Rondo getting all that penetration against DFish is nauseating.

  16. Of course I was rooting for a chance at revenge — and the homecourt would be a lagniappe.

  17. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was rooting for the Celtics, but I was really hoping the Cavs, and more specifically Lebron personally, would lose in a humiliating fashion just to end the hype.

    I would love to meet the Celtics in the Finals again, if we win. I do not look forward to the media coverage and emotional fallout if we face them a second time and lose a second time…

    @kehn
    Put Artest on [name of choice]. :)

  18. I was actually somewhat rooting for Boston. I’ve always liked their style of play – hard-nosed defense, team-oriented offense – it was their boorishness, insecurity, and pride that bothered me. This series though that didn’t seem to be the case. KG didn’t seem to bark as much, Pierce wasn’t as much of an ass, and even Perkins seemed to tone it down. In Cle, Rasheed even played well and didn’t complain too much. Maybe the big three realized they were lucky to be beating Lebron, lucky to have Rondo.

    I certainly enjoyed watching KG and Rondo carve up the Cle defense by making the right plays. They played basketball like it was meant to be played without that annoying extracurricular stuff.

    But how come the Internets is not mentioning Anderson Varejao’s yelling at the refs to pull him out because of blood? I thought this was the most ridiculous act that I’ve ever seen. It never happens in the NBA. Everybody tries to hide the fact that they’re bleeding and attempt to play on because they don’t want to come out. Try to play like champions? I think this effectively destroys any and all “warrior” notions about Varejao. It also makes me think back to all the times the Cavs have complained like 5 year olds when reacting to calls. They lack experience, poise and saavy.

    Maybe I was wrong about it just being a game of basketball. Maybe it has to do with some of the off court leadership that goes on.

  19. I agree with Mimsy (#17)…it wasn’t as though I particularly wanted the Leps to win, I just wanted LeBron to lose to put an end to the “LeBron is so great, pencil the Cavs in the Finals” hoopla, at least for a little while.

    Potentially being able to take revenge on the Leps is also a tempting idea, though I will be the first to admit that’s something much easier said than done. I underestimated them once in 2008, I would really rather not do that again.

    They do match up with the Magic as well as anyone, though, and I think that by this point it’s safe to root against the team that relies on Vince Carter.

  20. I hate the thought of losing to Boston in the Finals. I would be in severe media blackout.

    I also hate the thought of revisionist history of how Boston supposedly killed the Lakers in 08. The first two games were very close and Lakers didn’t execute down the stretch. Never mind that Leon Powe got more FT’s in game two that most would get in entire series.

    Eddie House had to get on fire for Boston to come back from that huge game four deficit. Game six was the only real blowout win for Boston.

    Boston would be a tough out for Lakers especially as well as Rondo is playing. But to use 08 as a guide would be erroneous I think.

  21. Just as the Bling Dynasty Lakers from ’00-’02 became regarded around the League as the unstoppable Empire (a la Star Wars) while they wreaked havoc and garnered haters everywhere outside Southern California, I think this year’s squad has the potential to go “Return of the Jedi” in the revenge scenarios that do and potentially await them. Doing it to the Suns is one thing, but exacting payback against the Celtics would be downright cathartic, and while perhaps not as legendary as the now defunct Puppet Finals matchup, would still go down in Lakers lore, which is usually much more exciting and elite than general basketball lore anyway. But that’s what I want as a fan…

    The thing that intrigues me most now is the mental make-up of the four remaining teams. Both the Suns and Celtics definitely carry a “last stand” outlook as their star players are on the downside of their primes. The Magic have the chip from last year to focus them, while the Lakers have Kobe. I don’t think the desperation is enough for the Suns to overcome the Lakers, yet believe it is so for the Celtics versus the Magic. Ultimately it’s about execution, and all four teams have applied their gameplans expertly to this point. Whoever the Lakers face in the Finals (sorry, midget Suns) will be a worthy opponent, but it will still be about the Lakers unless they lose out. Does anyone look back and diminish the Bulls’ back-to-back rings in ’97-’98 just because they were against the plucky but only mildly threatening Jazz? Not a word, because the Bulls didn’t lose to them. Same goes here. The Celtics would bring more national attention, but the Magic wouldn’t dampen it, because while Kobe-Lebron and LAL-BOS are bigger media storylines, this isn’t story time, it’s the playoffs, and the winner dictates how the tale is told.

  22. I’m starting to think that D’Antoni might be the right coach for Lebron. Historically, D’antoni barely runs a system, but he plays fast so everybody gets lots of stats (and highlights). It definitely depends on what Lebron decides he wants. If he doesn’t change, I think he’s going to end up reproducing what has happened in Cleveland the last two years (whether he changes teams or not).

    It’s hard to judge this Celtics team. There are lots of teams that are streaky on offense, but they seem to be streaky on defense. If they make the finals, it’ll be equally impressive and surprising.

    Anyone else a little frustrated that the Eastern Conference finals are actually starting before the Western Conference finals?

  23. Can’t root for the Celtics. I am young, so I harbor no hatred from the 80′s (born in 86 so that would be unfair to claim), but 2008 still sticks in the back of my head. I want the Celtics to lose every game they play by 1000, whether its against the Lebrons, or us, of the Globetrotters for all I care.
    If we make it past the Suns (a big IF – never underestimate a team Nobody believes in that can get hot from 3), and the Celtics make it past the Magic (also unlikely, but this Magic team isn’t battle tested with Vince in there), then I want to DESTROY the Celtics. The series would be much different from two years ago – the Lakers fans would want more blood than you can imagine, and with homecourt we would have a shot at getting it.

    We have the same terrible problem the Cavs had against the Celtics – our guards cant deal with Rondo – but the Cleveland team/crowd was afraid to lose and it effected their play. Our crowd won’t be afraid to lose, but we still harbor hatred towards that team from 2008. Here is to hoping they lose to the Magic (who, btw, is a tough team to beat for anybody)

  24. Lakers8884,

    We all remember the talk about the Celtics and I remember Kurt and Darius and I think Zephid saying they are deep, but their health was a question. Now that they are healthy, they played great team defense.

    —————–

    I also want to remind a lot of people, that after the Jamison trade, everyone thought the Lakers were not going to win the the title this year because the Cavs were just too good. This is why we wait for the games and let the games play out.

    THis should be an interesting series. The NBA is going to be worried … (Stern is having nightmares of a Magic v. Suns).

    And I still think we match up well with either team if the Lakers get past Suns which I think they will, but i wont count my chickens before they are hatched.

  25. I rooted against the Cavs for 2 selfish reasons.

    First, I think LA matches up much better against Boston than Cleveland. FIsher getting lit up by Mo Williams, an evenly injured match up between LBJ and Artest, Kobe facing another excellent defender in Parker, Cleveland’s bench making LA’s look as deep as the shallow end of the Mommy and Me swimming class pool, and the only front court tandem that dwarfs the Lakers’.

    Remember when Shaq fell over Kendrick Perkins? Looked like The Big Show pinning Jeff Hardy. Scary.

    Secondly, I want revenge. No, I don’t just want revenge. It’s like I’m hungry for it as if it were gigantic dinner feast just waiting on the dining room table when I haven’t eaten all day.

    But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. We’re 18 days away from June with plenty of ball to play between then and now, so let’s focus on the present because there’s an appetizer right in front of us.

    Let’s just hope we don’t spoil our appetites.

  26. Four teams left. I know the games have to play out, but I really like the Lakers’ chances to win 4 out of 7 against ANYONE left standing, regardless of home court.

    Of the four teams remaining, LA’s got:

    - The best player
    - The most skilled big man
    - The best coach
    - & championship experience

    That’s a tough combination to beat 4 times in 7 games.

  27. The Celtics were this good with Pierce slumping. Even if Artest plays brilliant defense, Pierce isn’t going to play much worse overall. In 2008 Pierce annihilated us, and we were ecstatic to get Artest to lock down Pierce, but this series showed me that today’s Celtics can be dominant even with Pierce playing pedestrian ball. Rondo’s raised the bar that much.

    I’m in equal parts thrilled and terrified at the idea of another Lakers-Celts final, but that’s getting ahead of ourselves. We’ve got some revenge to serve in 3 days too.

  28. jodial.

    that’s the same list I made in 2008.

    It didnt work out well for me or the Lakers.

  29. If anything, watching the Cavs lose to Celts made me appreciate just how prescient and good our front office is.

    We now have a team that can somewhat absorb a bad night from Kobe, with Gasol and other players who can step up. Our TEAM is not as completely dependent on Kobe to score 40 a night just to be competitive.

    Second, I appreciate that we have a SYSTEM that helps keep our players anchored when the game goes awry. Too many teams do not have an offense like the vaunted Triangle, and in the absence of order, teams like the Cavs resort to one man isolation, which is much more “defendable.”

    Third, I completely appreciate our stable of big men, and wouldn’t want to trade them for the world, ok, maybe one free agent this summer. It is nice that KG won’t be able to post up Gasol/Odom and abuse him like he did to Antwan (he will be seeing KG in his nightmares for a while). Also, how convenient it is to have big-men facilitators like Pau and Odom, and low-post threats in Bynum and Pau. I believe this year’s playoff is showcasing the return of the “bigs,” when the rest of the NBA was attempting to herald in the age of small-ball.

    Fourth, I appreciate having tough-minded players like Artest, Kobe, Odom, Fisher, Pau, etc., who don’t shrink after being punched in the mouth. The Cavs looked scared out there after the Celts showed they would not be a perfunctory participant in the coronation of getting a “ring for the king.”

    Finally, I am absolutely enamored by Phil and the coaching staff. They prepare the team to play, and equip them to ride the vicissitudes of playoff basketball (win some, lose some), and manage to come out on top. For all the times we bemoan Phil for leaving so and so out there too long, or when he keeps Sasha on Chris Paul or something, Phil has taught the team to maintain focus.

    I love our team and look forward to the fruition of the realization of the full potential of this team.

  30. Darius,

    I must admit I was rooting for the Celtics as much as it pains me to admit. I hate everything Boston. I had Pierce and how for some reason he thinks he should be mentioned in the same breath as Kobe. I had how he left in a wheelchair in 2008 finals and was back on the court within the next timeout it seemed. I hate Garnett but have respect for his game and how he plays. I hate Jesus Shuttlesworth jump shot. I hate Rondo and his playmaking ability. But most of all I hate Perkins. I hope Bynum and Gasol dunk on him everytime. So it was weird for me rooting the Celtics on. I want revenge. I want Kobe to pick apart the Celtics. I want Gasol to dominate KG. I want Bynum to bring the rim down. But most of all I want to win number 16 on the Celtics home floor and I want to then see what Bill Simmons has to say…… and I want Kobe to get more step closer to being mentioned as the GOAT….

  31. >>>Lakers definitely beat the Celts, 90/10.

    really?

    bynum – Perkins
    pau – garnett
    artest – pierce
    kobe – allen
    fisher – rondo
    odom/farmar/wow – rasheed/tonyallen/…

    where is our advantage?

    >>>-mr. negativity
    me2

    I did not root for either last night. and I will root against celtics in the magic-celtics series. I just wish them to lose to anybody, magic or lakers.

  32. And for the record…the Antwan Jamison and Shaq aquisition to combat against Orlando is reminiscient of the French’s Maginot line against Germany…the Celts simply went around and pounded through. Guess it goes to show your team has to be versataile to match up against an array of opponents, not just one. Cavs seemed to overlook the opponent before them…and it hurt them big time.

  33. Go Celtics ! (ooog, that felt weird).

    Mildly anti-Cav to deflate the silly hype.

    But found that I really did want Celtics to win so that we can crush them in the finals. We’re all still working out West’s 1960s catharsis, extended just a mite by the ’08 meltdown the C’s imparted upon us. Blech.

    With Bynum limited, both east teams’ front lines present serious dangers to us, but Kobe/Gasol is a lethal combo. Especially with both hitting on all cylinders just now. Bring on a _little_ Bynum, some recharged Odom, a little surprise play from any of Fish / Artest / umm, Sasha ?, and then we’ve got something to use for tha crushing.

  34. hats off to tom thibodeau for showing the celts how to play defense and give credit to the players for stepping up to the challenge. i would be very surprised if they beat orlando, but what do i know? I picked the cavs to be in the finals. Never could like the celtics. For me, a celtic loss is almost as good as a laker win.

  35. Another Laker fan who, for the first time ever, did the unimaginable and rooted for the Cs. Why?

    1. Cle was one of the teams that scared me the most entering the post-season. Another was Den, and another was Dal, so maybe I don’t know anything, or maybe everything is just breaking perfectly for the good guys. FWIW, the only team left on that original list is Orl, who I still view as substantial favorites should we meet in the finals.

    2. We have HCA against Bos, not against Cle.

    3. I want Kobe to remain the leader in the Greatest Player on the Planet debate.

    4. I *especially* didn’t want to hear Shaq weigh in on Lebron’s dominance if Cleveland won a ring. Avoidance of Shaq rapping about the taste of his ass version 2.0 also worth noting.

    5. My hatred of Cleveland for essentially cheating by releasing and then resigning Z, a loophole that has got to change. Perfect karma that Z. was useless and apparently rusty from the time off. The non-cheating alternative was dealing Hickson, who oddly didn’t play despite looking great down the stretch. Mike Brown?

    6. As mentioned by someone else, I want Lebron to leave and blow up a team that could be a rival for years to come. Mo Williams has killed us and they looked much improved with Jameson onboard– I’ll take my chances with some fantasy matchup with Lebron and another superstar– if nothing else, it will provide some variety.

    7. Bos is admittedly kind of an underdog story. I thought their window was way past shut, but I was obviously wrong.

    8. Additionally, while I despise most Celts on principle, I must admit I find Rondo and Tony Allen not entirely objectionable, and they were as responsible as anyone for Bos’ victory. Would have been tougher if Pierce was the man in this series.

    9. But mostly, and this goes back to #1, I guess what was revealed to me this week was that I love the Lakers more than I hate any other team, more even than I hate KG’s barking or PP’s wheelchair, or the odious stink that is Rasheed, which is a great deal of hatred, indeed. In the playoffs, I realize now, I will always root for the team that I think provides us the greatest chance to get a ring, without exception. That’s why I’ll root for the Hated Ones again in the ECF– simply, because I’m more confident in beating them than I am beating Orl (even negating HCA), this despite Orl’s greater likability or at least tolerability to me.

    That’s it. It’s hardly a profound moral statement, but Machiavelli at least would approve.

  36. Here’s my take on what happened to Lebron:

    A smart defensive scheme he hadn’t seen before that preyed on his weaknesses happened to Lebron.

    The same thing happened to Kobe in 2004 against the Pistons, and to a certain degree, in 2008 against the Celtics.

    What happens when all your driving lanes are cut off, and it feels like you’re playing 1 on 3 at every turn (the defensive scheme is essentially a soft triple-team)?

    Kobe (erroneously) tried to shoot his way out of the situation.

    But Lebron went into a shell. He’d never faced that kind of adversity before, and it seemed like he wasn’t sure what to do.

    How Kobe reacted is he went to the gym and perfected his mid-range jumper (an effective way to beat this scheme), and more intelligently, and worked on his post game (a better counter to this scheme).

    Does Lebron have the same drive to do what it takes to win a championship?

    He’s a physical freak, and maybe the most naturally gifted basketball player we’ve ever seen, but he’s never had to work for anything.

    What happens now that he does?

    That’s the biggest difference between Kobe and Lebron. Kobe has that drive, Lebron doesn’t.

    He’ll go to NY or Chicago and lead his team to another 60 win season (it’s tougher to prepare for him on a night to night basis), and then lose again in the semi-finals or the conference finals.

    Lebron could have the most unstoppable post game in the NBA, but doesn’t seem to want it.

    On another topic, the AZ Republic article about the Suns being the most accurate from 3pt land, and the Lakers being one of the best teams in the league at defending the 3 is not so much “something’s gotta give” as just another reason why the Lakers are a bad matchup for Phoenix.

    Those matchup inequities (in no particular order are):

    1) Phoenix has no post defense to speak of (other than Robin Lopez, who’s returning from an injury, and isn’t exactly a lock-down guy to begin with).

    2) Phoenix has no legit answer to the question “Who’s going to guard Kobe Bryant?” (Jared Dudley? Please. Grant Hill? Double Please. Jason Richardson? Triple Please.)

    3) Lakers are excellent at defending the 3 pointer.

    4) Lakers have a lock-down defender to check Jason Richardson (Artest).

    On the Phoenix side of the ledger, the inquity is only this:

    1) Lakers have no one who can adequately guard Steve Nash.

    But that’s it.

    The Lakers didn’t have anyone who could adequately guard Deron Williams, either – and they swept Utah.

  37. I thought the Celtics were going to win before it started, but I would have preferred the LeCavs to win for two reasons: 1) I hate the F’n Celtics. I’m Irish and I have a hard time wearing Irish Green things because of those a**holes, lest I appear to be a Celitcs supporter. My arms are still black, blue & freckles (not a good look) from Saint Patty’s Day as a result.
    2) I hate the mutha-F’n Celtics and their fans; ok three reasons, 3) Ok, more Celtic hate – burning hate. That’s all I got. F*ck! now I’m upset.

    WCF: Lakers in 5
    CHIP: Lakers in 6

  38. New post is up on when Phoenix has the ball. Hope you have some time, this one isn’t very short…

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2010/05/14/lakerssuns-preview-part-3-when-the-suns-have-the-ball/

  39. I feel weird doing it, but I’ve been rooting for the Celtics…not because I want a rematch for revenge, but because of Orlando, Cleveland, and Boston, I think the Lakers have the best shot to win a series against Boston…homecourt, aging/limited/undersized interior, and not a great bench. I’m scared of Orlando.

  40. @ Palani

    >>>Lakers definitely beat the Celts, 90/10.

    really?

    bynum – Perkins
    pau – garnett
    artest – pierce
    kobe – allen
    fisher – rondo
    odom/farmar/wow – rasheed/tonyallen/…

    where is our advantage?
    —————–
    I’ll take Bynum, Kobe, Pau and the Bench in those equations. Then I’ll take Phil over Doc plus Homecourt Advantage and a team full of guys who won a championship last year instead of just having come together.

    I just don’t think the comparisons are valid. The Lakers are miles ahead of this year’s Celtics.

  41. @#35 lil’ pau

    Said it all perfectly. Can’t argue with a word.

  42. I had a hard time *rooting* for either team, but I somewhat surprisingly found myself less upset when Cleveland was losing than I did when they were winning, I think for a variety of factors.

    In no particular order:

    * I was definitely rooting against Shaq to get another ring, and a shot at redemption as “a good guy”. When even Bill Simmons recognizes that he was wrong about Shaq originally, you know the tide has turned. I didn’t want it to turn back.

    * I’m so over Lebron. Really. Over him.

    * We’d have HCA against the Celtics.

    * The Celtics match up better against the Magic (the team that really scares me).

    * Revenge for 2008.

  43. Ray/#28:

    While the first 3 factors were also present in 2008, the 4th was not. The team had no championship experience in 2008. They do now.

    (Obviously, Kobe, Fish, and Phil all had championship experience, but no one else did).

    Now, we have a Pau who is confident in his abilities as a champion, and will not let KG or anyone else get away with pushing him around. A Lamar who knows he can produce when the chips are on the line. A Shan-WOW who has made big shots under pressure before. A Bynum, who, if nothing else, should not be fazed by all of the pomp and circumstance of the moment, since he’s been there before, and is likely aching to make more of a contribution.

    And we have crazy RonRon to get inside Pierce’s head.

  44. I would root for my head to explode before I would ever root for the Celtics.

  45. I definitely wanted the Leps to win because I want our guys to sweep them in the Finals. The 2008 series was all about matchups. The Lakers matched up poorly back then because Boston’s best offensive player (Pierce) was guarded by our worst defensive players (Vlad, Luke). Also, Phil waited too long (Game 3) to go to the Kobe-Rondo/Fish-Allen matchup. He won’t make that same mistake again.

    This time, Pierce is two years older and slower, Ron Ron is guarding him, and Pau is two years stronger while KG is two years older. We also have a more experienced and healthier Andrew Bynum compared to last season, and we didn’t have him at all against BOS in the Finals the year before. The Leps also don’t have Posey to guard Kobe when Pierce is on the bench. Tony Allen can’t guard him, but he’ll be the one who Doc throws out there. Rondo will likely play close to 48 minutes each game, as Eddie House was dealt to the Knicks.

    The Leps don’t have any frontcourt depth either. Let’s face it:
    PJ Brown > Sheed

    Lakers in four. If it’s ORL, then Ron Ron will turn Vince Carter into a little puddle of tears by the end of the series, and the Lakers will only drop two games at most.

  46. Brian,

    I’ll give you that argument in the Lakers Suns series, and even in the event of a Lakers Magic series.

    But if its Lakers Celtics (and man i really want it to be lakers celtics) ill call that a push on the championship experience.

  47. Definitely the Lepers. I wanted the Lepers to win in the same way I like tonguing a broken tooth. It doesn’t feel good but I can’t stop going back to feel the rough surface. It’s foreign. It’s a little painful. Inhale while Rondo makes another scoop layup and my whole jaw zings. Still, I want the Lakers to straight up destroy that team. I need that root canal and shiny gold tooth to replace the broken old thing I’ve been tonguing for two years. I’ll tell you something else. If we make it to the finals and the Lepers are there, and the Lakers take advantage of all their strengths and win in 5 games, I’ll be very happy but I’m sure that gold tooth will be uneven in my mouth, the bite just won’t quite feel the same and I’ll not be happy until the Lakers have #18 in the rafters. F’em. I hate the Lepers for making me want them to win. I hate them for being too old to be the team the Lakers beat to pass them in chip totals.

    We need t-shirts made with a Kobe cartoon standing in a puddle of green blood, holding a bucket full of daggers in a hand filled with rings and that slime color dripping down the blades.

    The defensive scheme that team employs is perfect for shutting down a supreme alpha dog, I agree that LeBron did not understand how to attack their scheme and Brown had no idea how to coach him (or the rest of the team) through that challenge. I’m in the camp that LeBron can definitely get it done and all these ridiculous reevaluations of him as a player are just as ludicrous as what was happening when Kobe was carrying Kwame and Smush into the playoffs. People go back to their tired cliches until the story is all the tired cliches people are using.

  48. LIL PAU Who did that guy Machiavelli play for? a Italian team?

    Is that a reference to the end of King James from the author of The Prince?

    Was he the shooting guard and Da Vinci the point guard?

    Was The Art of War a basketball book?

    Are you saying Phil uses his theory to outwit other coaches?

    Please help me I am so confused.

  49. LakeShowRydamee May 14, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    as much as i despise the celts, i’ve been rooting for a healthy LA vs. boston for the same reason i did it in the 80′s. up and comers are cool to watch, but to see those that have won and lost the ring in battle? well, that, as they say, is what its all about. no cliche’ ever rang clearer.

  50. I’m loathe to say I rooted FOR the hated Celtics, but I definitely don’t mind seeing Lebron get taken down a peg or two and most importantly:

    If you say you hate the Celtics and you aren’t DREAMING of a shot at revenge in the Finals…then your hate needs further refining in the fires. Go back and watch youtube clips of the 08 Finals. This close to revenge and you’d rather face the Magic???

    No, anything less than getting #16 at the expense of the Celtics will still be a win…but I want absolution.

  51. Will Lebron James be just another Charles ,Barlkey, Karl Malone, Pat Ewing, Jason Kidd…??? Dream Teamers that will never winnever won a Championship…

    i’m not even mentioning the likes of Grant Hill, Shawn Kemp, Chris Mullin, Dominique Wilkins, coz i dont tink they are in the same class as the Charles Barkleys…

    I sure do hope so… Go Kobe…!!! Go Kobe’s Lakers…