Friday, June 18, 2010

Sweet Sixteen!!!! (aka Drive for Five aka Back to Back!!!)

Maybe I'm dreaming - somehow I found time to do that last night in trying to sleep - but did Ron Artest really save the day and help the Lakers win the NBA championship??? Did we really a NBA title with Kobe Bryant doing more as a rebounder/slasher than a shooter?

YES and YES! Like my man Mojo Hoops predicted - Game 7 needed Ron Artest to step up in a huge way knowing that the pressure would be on Kobe and Pau Gasol to show up. 20 points, 5 steals and 5 rebounds. It was the 2003-2004 Artest turning back the clock to show why at his peak, he was one of the great 2-way players in the league who could score and do the dirty work.

No shot was bigger than the late 3. It was reminiscent of Jordan trusting John Paxson and Steve Kerr to win the game instead of him. Artest said it best, Kobe passed the ball and heeee made a 3!!!!!

QB's Finest must have listened to his homie Nas or something because he was the X-factor. He made Paul Pierce work for everything and he honored his promise to Kobe two years ago. Get me to LA and we'll win a title. From the Palace Brawl to being the MVP of the biggest game of the series. He's come a long way and his pure joy, plus the hilarity of his postgame interview and press conference, are a sign of it.

And what about Pau Gasol? Just like Kobe, he couldn't shoot well. He missed free throws. He continued to let Kevin Garnett drive baseline. But he stayed a beast on the glass and he made shots when he had to. This was huge for him earning his name back from GaSoft to Gasol (19 pts, 18 rebs).

This game was about the team. The first 3 quarters saw Kobe try to shoot his way to the title and it was excruciating. The ghost of John Starks in 94 was slowly floating over the Lakers bench as I worried every comeback would see an ill-advised shot take us out of it.

Derek Fisher said to focus on trusting everyone in the 4th quarter. Phil Jackson said pass the ball - this is Kobe doing work, not doing it all himself. Like any shooter, he attacked the basket instead of settling. His teammates rose up and hit shots and made plays. Who would've guessed that Sasha Vujacic would be in a position to make 2 FT's to help seal the deal and he did.

Oh by the way, Kobe had 15 rebounds. That's what great players do - find other ways to contribute. Somebody help him in that pic, his hands might get a lil' heavy from the hardware

The City of Angels is the City of Champs for the 2nd straight year. Kobe and D Fish have 5 rings. Phil Jax has 11 rings like Bill Russell. We watched Oklahoma City push us, watched the Jazz just fade to the wayside and witnessed Phoenix give us a tougher series than anybody expected.

The Lakers won every Game 6 they saw in the postseason. They showed heart when their backs were against the wall. Champions don't waltz to a trophy, they grind.

One more word: Boston gave us a heck of a series. Like any rivalry, it's only great when both parties bring out the best in each other and they did. To paraphrase Group Home, 2008 was yours, 2010 was ours.

I'll look at Kobe's legacy in another post. Right now, let's celebrate another title Lakers fans. Who's going to the parade?


  1. Yo!
    Thanx for the props. Ron Ron hooked a brotha up.
    Good game 7 piece.

  2. Ah man, I forgot to put the link on there. But I'm glad you saw it - Artest saved our season when we needed him most and he's the toast of the town (dude's performing his single everywhere hahaha). Raja Bell next?