This year’s NBA championship was wrapped in irony and the history of yesterday and today. Many people (including Jackson himself) consider coach Phil Jackson of the LA Lakers to be the greatest coach the NBA has seen. I don’t believe that to be the case. I reluctantly acknowledge now that Phil Jackson has to be mentioned in any list of the greatest NBA coaches. Nine NBA championships (tied with Red Auerbach for most titles), the highest winning percentage in playoffs history by far, the most playoff wins, the 9th highest regular season victory total, and on three different occasions he won 3 titles in a row. The strongest criticism against Jackson is one that I have agreed with. Red Auerback said of Jackson that “he picks his spots.” He has totally had his teams built and developed for him. He has never been responsible for building players or building a team. In Chicago, he had Jordan, Grant, and Pippen in place before he arrived. In LA he had Kobe and Shaq in place before he arrived. Another fair remark tempering his greatness is that every season he has won the championship, he has had the best player in the league on his team, and for the three titles in LA he had arguably the best two players on his team. No other coach can say that.
The Celtics won their 17th World Championship in a blow out last night. In doing so, the Celtics protected the legacy of Red Auerbach for at least one more season. Red is tied with Jackson for #1 all time with 9 championships. Red had serious talent with Russell, Cousy, Havlicek, and many other all time greats. But none of those players were the best player in the league by consensus. And each one of those 9 titles were built by Red, the players were developed by Red, and those teams were undoubtedly Red’s teams. Even the other 7 titles were with Red in the front office with players built by Red and the Celtics organization.
Now here is the irony. This Celtics team is built on talented stars who (other than Pierce) were developed elsewhere. And for the first time, Jackson’s run at the title this year was with a Lakers team that he developed and built himself. Other than Kobe, these guys in LA were brought up or pieced together by Jackson. Red Auerbach passed away in 2006, and I wonder what he would have said about this year’s championship series. I know he would have been happy through and through that his Celtics stopped Jackson from taking sole possession of the lead in titles. But don’t you think he may have to finally acknowledge that even in defeat, coach Jackson (whose arrogance could only be matched by Red’s) has to be named among the greats?
The chickens came home to roost for the Lakers… in Boston! The Celtics almost blew a gigantic third quarter lead, but with the help of the non-striped zebras held on for a 108-102 win to go up 2-0 in the best of 7 finals. That makes them historically better than 90% likely to win the shole thing. Now, the Lakers will get their share of calls in LA over the next 3 games and perhaps it will be the Celtics players getting mauled under the basket with no call forthcoming. Or perhaps the Lakers will have a similar 38-10 freethrow advantage over their opposition (like the Celtics did last night).
That said, the Lakers played a style last night that got them in some trouble last year, and earlier this year. They did not play body defense. They defended with their hands. Th( will get more calls. They also settled for jumpers and didn’t really attack the rim until the 3rd quarter. That will leave you with fewer calls. That helps to understand, but does not fully explain the 38-10 gap in freethrows.
Like I have been saying this whole playoff season, the home teams have gotten nearly every break possible. It’s getting old. I want to see some legit b-ball, not this version that is filtered through the dirty lense of these crooked refs.
The Celtics started off hot and jumped to an early lead. With a good solid run in the first half led by Kobe, the Lakers took a 6 point halftime lead. I fell asleep at the half fully expecting to wake up and see that the Lakers had won. Paul Pierce being the great player he is hits a third quarter 4 point play and the Celtics were looking good. Next was what I missed, a Willis Reed type of moment. In the third quarter, the Celtics Captain/shooting forward Paul Pier collided with a teammate and had to be wheeled off the court to the locker room. Had I been watching I would have thought the Celtics were finished. Then Pierce hobbles back on the court and proceeds to nail two three point baskets and inspires his team to a 10 point win.
Game 1 goes to the home team. I believe the Celtics need to hold home court especially in game two. If the Lakers win the next game, we will see a series that is over in 5.
- Once again I find myself eating breakfast at Marios.
- Nearly each Saturday off, Marcela and I come to Marios for café con leche y tostada. That’s (Cuban) coffee with milk and toast for anybody that’s curious.
- I have been lucky enough to have café con leche, tostada, bacón, y juevos fritos with my mom the last couple days that I’ve been off.
- Today was Marcela’s last day of school with the kids, and tomorrow is her last day at work for the Summer.
- Hurricane season 2008 has officially begun and I still haven’t stocked up on all my supplies. Fortunately, I have most of the supplies I need already.
- The heat at work is no longer a major concern for me since I bought Rubbermaid® blue ice blankets to place in the plate pouches in my vest. I was chillin in one of the hottest places at the plant yesterday while everyone else was suffering.
- I got a good scare yesterday at work when I saw a bright flash and heard a loud boom. It turned out to be a fire in the switch yard at the fossil side of the power plant.
- Tonight is the first night of the NBA finals and they are really playing up the return of the “greatest rivalry in the NBA”. The images of Chamberlain/Russel and Johnson/Bird are all over ABC.
- The ESPN staff are leaning toward LA in this series. It should be a good one.
- LPC has a Twitter account. Follow LPC and follow me!
- Even Jesse is now twittering. You can follow him too.
- Somehow, Pastor Trav is going to incorporate Twitter into the Sunday morning services. That means if you are not Twittering, you aren’t “cool like that” Chris. LOL
- My poor little lovebird is still sitting on her eggs. She must have no clue that they will never hatch.
- I was playing around with the microKorg today and I realized just how cool that thing is. I have to find the manual because it’s as complicated as it is cool.
- Jesse informed me of his plans for this weekend’s music at Church. I am so ticked that I have to work and I won’t be able to participate.
- There are quite a few people at my job site who believe in aliens. They were talking yesterday and actually theorized that aliens are super-evolved humans who had left and have come back to either harvest or study us. I know I annoyed them because I started talking about 2001: A Space Odyssey and the new Indiana Jones movie.
- Jesse got a kick out of this stuff. I gotta say that it makes good late night radio talk show fodder, but I am waiting for some mainstream independent verification.
- The Wii continues to entertain Marcela and me. I have some online competition in Mario Kart coming up soon. But my mom hasn’t even learned to play yet.
- Is Hillary about to concede? Is she going to be Obama’s running mate?
- Some of the things I look forward to with an Obama presidency: Higher taxes, higher gas prices, more government intrusion with regards to energy consumption, more spending on entitlement programs, and socialized medicine.
- Somebody or some company out there can come up with a solution to the energy crisis. The left wing (Democrats) tends to think the way out of our energy crisis is to punish the companies that are profiting. Forget the American way which is that necessity is the mother of all innovation.
- Call me Commissioner Phil. I am going to create a yahoo fantasy football league as soon as they open up. If you are interested in joining, email me at “thecitizencane-at-yahoo-dot-com”. Go ahead and register for a yahoo account at Yahoo.com Pastor Travis thinks he is going to win, so all you football gurus out there better get ready. Also be sure you have thick skin, because the trash talk gets pretty heavy.
Filed under basketball, church, family, food, football, games, Homestead, life pointe, movies, NBA, NFL, politics, school, Wii, work, world events, worship
It’s set. Thursday night we get a glimpse at the past with the Celtics and the Lakers in game one of the NBA finals. I know the NBA has cha-ching in their ears and $$ in their eyeballs. I don’t remember a time when the NBA playoffs fell nearly perfectly in line with the seeding, almost all home teams advancing, and no upsets except San Antonio over New Orleans. This should be an entertaining finals. My predictions in the NBA and college tourney this year have been uncharacteristically BAD, but even some of the best hitters went through slumps. The only way out of a slump is to keep swinging away.
So here is my call. The Lakers have been playing very well in the playoffs (and most of the season); the Celtics are getting hot at the right moment. That sets up some good basketball. The Celtics have been nearly unbeatable at home, and they have home court advantage. The Lakers have faced tougher competition all season long and in the playoffs. Home court is huge. I gotta go with the Celtics in this one. It will go the distance, Celtics in 7. If the Lakers break the Celtics service, they will be way too strong at home for the Celtics to win. Kobe and the boys will be more likely to win on the road than Garnet’s bunch. So IF the Lakers can take one of the first two from the Celtics, it will be the Lakers in 5. Let’s see if the refs keep cheating for LA as they did in the series against the Spurs, or if they give the Celtics a chance in this one.
How’s that for equivocation?
OK, at this point LA looks to have a stronger position than SA, and Boston looks to have Detroit on the ropes. Both of the #1 seeds (LA and Boston) maintain a straight home advantage. Also, LA has not cracked at home this year, and Boston has only lost once at home. But I have to say that Detroit appears to have the big mo on their side, and if San Antonio had been able to convert their free throws and hold a near insurmountable lead in game one, they would be up 2-1 and would have home court advantage. SA needs to continue to play lights out and keep their foot on LA’s throat once they get a lead. Otherwise, LA will win another come-from-behind classic since they have the very best clutch player in basketball (Kobe). Boston has not looked like a 60 win team this whole playoffs, much less a 66 win team. They broke the jinx and won on the road. Now they have to figure out how to stop McDyess along with all the other vets on the team with so much experience.
Filed under basketball, NBA
The Marlins have a lower team salary than some individual players’ salaries in the league, however, these young guys are doing the unthinkable. They’re in first place in the division, and have now won 6 in a row. On two occasions I have been burned as a fan of the Florida Marlins. The fire sale in 96 was within days of the first championship. That hurt really bad. Then after a few years, this team puts together another great run, wins another championship, and one after another pieces of that championship are traded away for young and cheap talent. Here we are again, in first place with some decent talent. They just signed Ramirez to 6 years 70 million. I am sure that he won’t be a Marlin much longer, but maybe we can find some way to squeeze out a championship.
As for the NBA, the Celtics have yet to win a single road game. Can they win a championship without winning on the road? I don’t think so.
I admit, I would love to see a return of the greatest NBA rivalry ever with the Celtics taking it to the Lakers, but the Lakers are now tied 2-2 with the Jazz out west, and the Celts can’t win on the road.
The Pistons have shown an ability to win without Billups and that really is a good sign if you are a Piston’s fan. If they get rolling, they can challenge in the east. With the help of some bad calls and a bit of choking from Orlando, they squeaked out a 90-89 win on the road to go up 3-1.
The Spurs are back on track with a solid win against the Hornets. The series stands 2-2, but the Spurs have to win one in New Orleans to take the series. It’s a tall order, but I have faith in Duncan, Manu, and TP.
Yesterday, it was the Cleveland Cavs over the Wizards in the east now up 3-1, the Suns avoided the sweep moving to a 3-1 deficit by blowing out the Spurs, New Orleans pushed forward to a 3-1 lead winning against Dallas, and with the win against the Sixers Detroit ties the series 2-2 and avoided going down 3-1 in a series they should not be struggling with. In the other series, Orlando is up 3-1 against Toronto, the Lakers might be ready to sweep the Nuggets up 3-0, Boston is up 2-1 against Atlanta, and the Jazz hold a 3-1 advantage over Houston.
If you go by historical statistics, the Lakers and the Spurs are locks to move on. No team has ever come back from 3-0 to win an NBA series (0 for 81 attempts all time), and only 3 teams have come back to tie. Only 8 teams in history have come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a series with the Phoenix Suns being the last team to do so in 2006 against the Lakers.
What does this mean? Nothing really. Records are meant to be broken. It would be great to see some lowly team like the Hawks beat the Celtics, or the Nuggets to become the first team in NBA history to come back from an 0-3 deficit (They would become only the fourth 8 seed in NBA history to beat a 1 seed, if they can get past that never-before-done comeback from 0-3). These series are not over until that 4th game is won. Until then, history is only history. Papers and stats do not win games. No team is safe or eliminated until the series is over. But the reason the 0-3 comeback has never happened, the 1-3 comeback rarely happens, and the 8 seed almost never beats the 1 seed is because the teams going up 3-0 and 3-1 are obviously the better team. The 1 seed is usually light years ahead of the 8. That’s what is so surprising about the east this year. The 1 seeded Celts and 2 seeded Pistons are so much stronger than the rest of the east that they should be cruising. Instead, the Celts have dropped one of the first 3 games of the series to a mediocre at best Atlanta team and the Pistons with the second best record in the NBA were down 1-2 against a team with a losing record. They even had to struggle just to tie the series at two a piece.
In the long run, I fully expect the Lakers, Hornets, Jazz, and Spurs to advance in the West. The Spurs might struggle a little to put away a tough Suns team. I also expect the Cavs, Pistons, Celtics, and Magic to advance in the east setting up some really cool matchups.