Thursday, June 11, 2009


This has been such an exciting postseason in the NBA that I think any final might have seemed anti-climactic, but Lakers-Magic seems especially so. Two of the games have been competitive, but the series just doesn't seem to have the spark that some of the earlier round matchups did.

I might feel differently if I really cared about either team winning. I'm rooting for Orlando because it's now in my DNA to root against the Lakers, but I can't even muster up a lot of hatred for this L.A. team. Despite all of the efforts to turn Kobe Bryant into a hardcourt deity (thank you, Spike Lee - I remember when you were an artist, not a sycophant), his play is admirable, and there really isn't a player on the entire team for which I can muster up the old hatred - no Shaq, no Rick Fox - they all seem to be pretty decent guys, hard-working and with a good attitude.

And I even find myself feeling a little sympathetic for Phil Jackson, after the spitwads that Alonzo Mourning shot his way yesterday. Sure, you can make an argument that Phil has been lucky with the players that he's had the privilege to coach, but I think Mourning took it a little far (which shouldn't be a shock, considering he was a player) with his comments that Phil isn't really doing much with this Lakers team. All I know is that Kobe has never won a championship without Phil on the bench, Michael never won a championship without Phil on the bench, Pippen never won a championship without Phil on the bench, and Shaq won only one - and that was with Pat Riley, no stranger to titles himself. So let's not sell the old coach short, even if he spent all those years playing mind games with Sacramento. He knows what he's doing. And besides that, he is looking a little long in the tooth these days - he deserves the respect.

I suspect the Lakers will take it in 6, but watch out for Orlando in the future - Dwight Howard is an absolute stud, and the supporting cast ain't too shabby.

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