Friday, June 5, 2009

Los Ojos del Mamba Negra (Game 1 recap)

While watching Game 1 last night downtown in the ESPNZONE at L.A. Live, I got struck by one thing during the 2nd and especially the 3rd quarter. Those eyes! Not Dwight Howard's no-show, Not Lamar Odom's strong play, not even Andrew Bynum coming to play. It was Los Ojos del Mamba Negra.

That glare! We saw it in the third quarter and it said so much. It was "get the bleep out of my way, Pietrus, or get on the Game 1 highlight video." It said to his teammates "you are going to make this shot and if you don't, you better make it the next time." It said, "we are not just going to win this game, we are ripping out their heart in their process. Let them know this is the NBA Finals!"

Last night pretty much was the sound of stepping on the gas while ahead and leaving somebody in the dust. It was about showing some toughness and displaying some killer instinct. Message delivered. Odom (11 and 14) and Gasol (16 and 8) showed why they should dominate the frontcourt and Andruw Bynum (9 and 9) looked like he was personally challenged to take it to Howard, despite his fouls.

Sheeet even Luke Walton (9 pts) got in on the fun. He hadn't looked that good since the first round last year when he couldnt miss against Denver.

Speaking of Dwight Howard, he looked more like the guy in my avatar (my distant cousin Clark Kent) than Superman. A pedestrian double-double with only 6 shots?? I'm betting that won't happen the rest of the series but dude better listen to some Gang Starr cause it's "No More Mister Nice Guy." Ask David Robinson how being nice fared against Hakeem.

But Game 1 was all about the Black Mamba. It's not enough that he had a monster game (40 pts, 8 dimes, 8 boards), it's not enough that people are critiquing his attitude after the game - saying it's phony (???? ooooook), it will be remembered for that glare. It'll be remembered for schooling Pietrus on that And-1 play that had me out of my seat and tweeting "Call 911, sweet Mercy!!!"

Jameer Nelson's return was not enough and it may have done more detriment down the stretch. Rashard Lewis was the Invincible Man, Turkoglu was quiet after the 1st quarter and the Magic couldn't hit a shot to save their lives. 15-54 away from the 3-pt line tells me that nobody could hit mid-range shots and take away Dwight Howard (1-6), that dwindles to 14-48 (less than 30%)

Live by the 3, die by the 3. We know what ORL is made of, but they can't stay that cold forever. I expect a better showing the rest of the way but if the Lakers play like that consistently, we'll get that parade on Figueroa in two weeks. I saw a sign outside L.A. Live that Vitamin Water was sponsoring - Kobe Diem. Kobe seized the day alright and he let everyone knows this title run is about satisfying hunger. Game 2 comes alive Sunday.

"You gotta be hungry, LeBron. That's why I'm playing right now, and you're babysitting Lil' Dez"

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