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.
Well, unfortunately Lebron James didn’t quite have enough juice to pull Cleveland through on his own. He put together an incredible offensive and defensive performance but came up short. Boston will now have to face a well rested Detroit team in the conference finals. Billups’ sore hamstring needed the break. Now Boston who has faced two 7 game series (Atlanta and Cleveland) still has not won a single road game. If they don’t at least advance to the finals, you have to wonder what happened. This was a 66 win team with three super stud ballers. Anything less than an NBA championship will be the city’s second heartbreak. This obviously won’t be as monumental as the Patriots Superbowl Choke, but this is still bad. This is one of the NBA’s best regular season records in its history.
On the Western front, Tim Duncan is trying to pull off a big win in New Orleans. LA has been waiting for the winner of this series since they finished off the Jazz in 6 games. Do Tim, Tony, and Manu have what it takes? Yes they do! Unfortunately, the homecooking has been in full effect this year. Ref’s are making it extremely hard to win on the road. The freethrow disparity is sick in almost all the series. All teams with home court advantage have advanced in every series. I have not ever seen that happen before. To sum it up, it will take a lot more than an average performance from SA’s big 3 to win tonight, but I’ll be pulling for them.
- I have the day off today. Marcela and I made a list of things to do for today so I will make it productive unlike Monday.
- Monday I had the day off and wasted it sleeping and watching TV. I felt so guilty, and I didn’t even really enjoy it.
- I have reached a different thought process in my life, totally different than about 4 years ago and before. I hate sleeping, I hate wasting a day, I hate being couped up in my house. I want to get out and do something whether it is productive or not. I just don’t like to waste time sleeping.
- Today I will pay bills, visit the bank, get a haircut, do some grocery shopping, and one or two other things outside the realm.
- I have a cold or something. It’s some fever (I think it’s broken now), headache, sore throat, cough, stuffy head, and a little fatigue. I actually hope it’s a cold, that way I know it will be gone in a day or two.
- Orlando finally took one. They have to take one in Detroit to have a shot. If not, Detroit will most likely be up against Boston for the East finals.
- Kobe was awarded the league MVP, and LA won their 6th straight. He’s predicting that LA will be playing into June. I can’t really disagree with him at this point.
- San Antonio is in deep. They are going to need to do something really special to make it out of the semi’s against the Hornets. I am a true Heat fan, but my second team is the Spurs (if you are allowed to do that). I’ve been a big fan since the early days of the Admiral David Robinson. But Tim Duncan and Toni Parker are just class acts. We will see if they have the stuff to pull this one out.
- I got a pat on the back at work and some certificates to the cafeteria for going to night shift for three weeks. THANKS! I feel so special.
- I’m still tweeting. Chris, what’s up? Are you coming or not?
- I’ve been listening to Dave Matthews Band quite a bit lately. Groovy.
- Hillary is not going to quit until someone has the necessary votes even though the pundits say it’s over.
- It’s kind of funny to me to see the party of Al Gore and the FL recount, the party of all the fuss about one man one vote, and the party which claimed that they are against the disenfranchising of thousands of voters to turn around and disenfranchise HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of voters in Michigan and Florida.
- Someone needs to remind the DEMOCRATS that they are supposedly the party of DEMOCRACY. The super delegate system is not democratic. It is completely elitist.
- The Democrat candidate is going to be determined by party officials and elite party members, not the rank and file Democrats who voted in the primaries.