by Phil Kehres
I was wrong. I thought the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals would go six games. As it turns out, the Orlando Magic were playing even farther over their heads than I thought they were. Now that the NBA Finals are over and the Los Angeles Lakers have won their 15th NBA title, it’s time for me to get a few things off my chest.
First off, I’m glad the Magic lost. I’m a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, and a bitter one at that. As much as it makes me sick to my stomach to even tacitly root for a despicable team like the Lakers, I find a small amount of solace in watching the Magic crumble to a superior team — as they should have to the Cavs. Call it schadenfreude if you will, but the Finals proved that Orlando is a one-trick pony if you can manage to even slightly deter center Dwight Howard. The Magic live and die by the three-point shot. Against Cleveland, they lived; in the Finals, they died. Bottom line is that they shouldn’t have even gotten that far. If the Cavs had played up to even ¾ of their potential and somebody besides LeBron James had shown up, I have a feeling we’d still be watching the Finals. Better luck next year, Magic. They’ll need that luck, too, as they’re simply not talented enough to make it back to the Finals without a little, ahem, magic.
Secondly, now we can all look forward to a summer of the mainstream media slobbering at Kobe Bryant’s feet. (Such as his upcoming appearance on The Tonight Show on NBC on June 17.) He finally won his ring without Shaquille O’Neal. There’s no doubt in my mind that Kobe is a phenomenal player. Second-best on the planet, for sure. Championships, though, are a team effort. No matter how many times you will hear misguided fans cite Kobe’s four championships as a reason why he’s better than LeBron James, the simple truth is that, even in the NBA, one man alone cannot win a championship. Bryant had a tremendous supporting cast this year. LeBron had more help than he’s ever had before, but he still lacks a powerful number two like Kobe has in center Pau Gasol. LeBron will get his eventually but now, reluctantly, we have to give it up for Kobe and his teammates. As much as it pains me to say, I believe the best team in the NBA won the championship this year, and that’s as fair as it gets.
Lastly, I just want to say that the Finals came off as quite a disappointment compared to the rest of the playoffs. It looked like both teams were so tired that it was a battle of attrition. This stood in deep contrast to the heart-pounding action of the earlier rounds. All in all, however, it was a hell of a season.
So here’s to hoping the 2009-2010 season showcases as much fire and passion as we’ve seen this season. And for my sake, let’s hope LeBron can finally bring a championship to Cleveland before he has the chance to leave (he won’t, by the way, but this is definitely a topic for another time!).
(Phil Kehres also is the co-author of Excuse Me, Is This Your Blog? He also contributes to Fear the Sword, a blog about the Cleveland Cavaliers of the Sports Blog Nation.)
(To see highlights the NBA Finals, please check below.)
Los Angeles Lakers
National Basketball Assocition
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by Phil Kehres