Not cool. I understand you’re upset, possibly embarrassed after all the hype and naturally disappointed. I don’t think it’s as validated as he claims it to be. He said he doesn’t see the need in congratulating a team that just ended his season. I’ll tell you why you do Lebron…a little thing most of us in sports call “sportsmanship”. Storming off the court is one thing, but then to tell the media you don’t see the need in congratulating the other team at that time is completely unsportsmanlike.
I’m with Team Lebron in the whole, Lebron vs. Kobe thing. His comments took a shot at my respect level for him though. I expect more from him. Maybe that’s my problem for having high expectations but, I think someone of his stature should step it up. Be a man. Accept defeat. It’s a natural part of life and certainly a natural part of sports. You win some, you lose some. Learn from it and better yourself and your team in preparation for next season.
I just read a column Bill Simmons wrote on the refereeing that has plagued our 2009 NBA playoffs. He makes some very good points. We’ve all complained about the ref’ing going on at some point or another this year. Even I have and I try my best not to blame the officials but dude…come on! Garbage fouls and no-calls I can handle early on in the game but, when it’s crunch time let the boys play! I once heard somebody say that basketball is not meant to be a physical sport. Blasphemy! Basketball is a contact sport, period! Obviously it’s not the same as hockey or football but, that doesn’t make it a non-contact sport. It’s time for Mr Stern to tighten the reins on the Refs instead of the players.
Bring it L.A.
If you think this matchup isn’t going to be as good (possibly even better) than the Kobe/Lebron matchup Nike so desperately wanted…you’re insane. Orlando matches up better with the better teams and poses more problems for those teams when trying to match up against them. Not to take anything away from L.A. because they are clearly the best team in the West. As I said before the Cleveland series, the Magic went 2-1 against the Cavs in the regular season with their only defeat being a narrow one in Cleveland. So I’m going to sate the obvious again…Orlando was 2-0 against L.A. in the regular season. I don’t care who led Orlando in scoring in those two games (Nelson) because our role players have stepped it up all season and playoffs long. I don’t think Nelson should come back though. We’ll need him at 110% next year. Point is, don’t be surprised to see Orlando make it a fight. You probably didn’t think they would end Cleveland’s season in 6, did you? Learn from that series…
Here’s the funny thing about the guarantee in sports…If what you guarantee turns out to be true, you hear little about it afterward. However, if your guarantee does not come to fruition, well then you likely never hear the end of it.
You know Mo, had you made the guarantee when you were playing the Pistons or the Hawks, you would have looked good. Or should I say, you wouldn’t have looked bad. I know some of you are thinking Patrick Ewing and Game 7 of the Magic and Celtics series, but whatever, this is my post. Like I said…when your guarantee turns out to be true, you hear little about it.
Moving on to something that some people (especially Cavs fans) have seem to forgotten. I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about how the Cavs are going to come out firing tonight in Game 5. Their backs are against the wall facing elimination and they’re on their home court. While I do agree with all that, lets take a look at it from the Magic point of view.
The Magic come into this game riding two home court wins to the team with the best regular season record. Up 3-1 in a series where most had them only winning a game or two. Now the teams are in Cleveland preparing for an elimination game. Who’da thunk it? The Magic have got to be saying to themselves “We have the chance to knock out the best regular season team in 5 games and on their home court where they lost 3 games all year including the playoffs.” Not to mention the Cavs were 8-0 coming into this series and picked by many to win the Championship.
Think about all that for a second. If you were on the Magic roster, what would be going through your head? What would you be your goal for the night? So lets not pretend that the Cavs have all the momentum or that they are the only ones playing for something tonight. It’s do or die for the Cavs. They certainly have the most pressure.
Sad thing about this post is…you’ll hear little about it because my guarantee will come to fruition.
I find it sad that I get excited about the possibility that my french fries from McDonalds could be fresh and hot right out of the fryer. Today, they were. I was stoked. Unfortunately, as I got about 5 deep into my package of fries I realized that they put more salt on them than my Grandmother did on the slugs in her driveway. What a letdown…I didn’t watch Game 5 of the Lakers/Nuggets last night. But I have a logical excuse. I was up all night Tuesday night watching the post game conferences and such. I didn’t go to bed until roughly 1am and had to get up at 530am. My sleep deprevation of the Magic/Cavs series was caught up at the expense of the Lakers and Nuggets. Rested and ready for tonight though.
Have you seen the home page of the Magic/Cavs series on ESPN.com? Check it out. See anything that immediately catches your eye? I did back when I first looked at it after the Magic did what they all claimed was impossible and took Game 7 away from Boston, in Boston. What I’m talking about is who the experts picked to win the series…all of them! I really have no problem with people predicting that the Cavs win the series but is there really not one “expert” with a hint of well…expertise?
Of the 10 experts that picked the Cavs to win (just on this ESPN page, I’m sure there were plenty more), only one had the series going as far as 7 games. The rest had the Cavs winning in 5 or 6. I hate to be Captain Obvious here but, only one still has a remote chance of being right.
So what do you think they’re saying now? Not in their columns but, behind closed doors. To their friends? Close colleagues? We all know what most are saying in their columns. Most thought the Cavs would win in about 5 and by most I mean most people, including fans. In fact, I won a free round of golf by taking that bet. A bet that was made halfway through Game 2 of that series. (I know, dude is a moron right? Nah…he just let his emotions, or homerism, get the best of him.) My ADD is kicking in…
Not many are just admitting that the Magic are a better team. Are the Magic a better team? Let me shake my “Eastern Conference Finals 8 Ball”. “My series says yes!”. Man up folks. Numbers don’t lie. Is LeBron James the best player in the NBA? I think so but, it’s debatable. As we all know though, teams win Championships. LeBron has a decent supporting cast. It’s not like they’re terrible…or great. Good enough to own the best record in the regular season.
I’ll explain what happened in this series, so far. Coming in, the Cavs had swept their first two opponents convincingly, winning each of the 8 games by 10+ points. Now when you enter the Conference Finals, you should expect much tougher competition. Maybe they did, but they certainly didn’t show it. They came in riding that high that the media so predictably hyped up. Maybe it hyped the players up too..too much. They underestimated the Magic. All of the sudden the Cavs are in a Game 1 of the 2009 Playoffs that isn’t so easy. The Magic aren’t falling down as easily as the Pistons and Hawks did. The Magic forced them into a situation they had yet to be in, in this year’s Playoffs. Competition. The Cavs weren’t sure how to handle it. The Magic were though. Coming off a 6 game opening round to the 6ers and a 7 game thriller against the C’s, the Magic were prepared for the competition. The Cavs…just weren’t. That’s all there is to it. The magic have outplayed the Cavs! Pointblank, period! Give them the credit they’ve earned, “experts”.
That’s what the Magic should have been singing aloud on their way out of Boston. They did what many people said they wouldn’t and couldn’t do…beat the Celtics at home in a game 7 of the playoffs. You know what I find the most entertaining about all of this hoopla? The Magic could have just as easily won this series in 5. Seriously, think about it…Game 2 was won by a Glen “Big Baby (where child abuse happens)” Davis jumper at the buzzard. Game 5, the Magic allowed the C’s to end the game on a 17-3 run.
I know, I know…I’m playing the “If” game. Aren’t all of the so called “Experts”? You know, like “Well if KG was healthy, then…” and “If Pierce and Allen had played well in one game together, then…” and I’ve also heard “If Rondo had a better series, then…”. Listen, we can all go back and forth on the “If this, then this!” statements all day long and we will still wind right back up where we are now…to reality! Which by the way is a series victory for the Magic.
I turned to my Dad last night when Hedo got his 3rd foul of the game in the 2nd quarter and said “That’s not good Dad. We need him to play well.”. Hedo did just that, but there is one guy not many people thought would bring his A game (inculding me). Mickael Pietrus. The Magic really needed someone off the bench to contribute in this game and thank goodness someone answered the call. Nailing 6/7 FG’s including 3/3 from beyond the arc is huge. I believe us Magic fans would have been doing more nail biting had he not stepped it up.
There was a lot of tension in this series…a lot! It was a very physical game that could have seen many more fouls going either way. I did notice a few specific things though about some Boston players while watching this series.
1.) Perkins never smiles. He always has this look on his face like he’s about to dropkick Earth right in the forehead. Smile a little Ken…you’ll feel better!
2.) Rondo gets away with everything. I don’t know how, but he does. That’s not a knock on him because if I could do it and get away with it, I would. But as a fan of the opposing team it becomes quite tiring.
3.) KG talks way too much! Especially from the bench. I was talking to a buddy about how I can’t figure out who I dislike more on the Celtics between Perkins, Rondo and KG. I told him I was leaning towards KG and he said “you weren’t saying that when he was in Minnesota”. I said because he didn’t run his mouth as much. He said “yes he did, you just didn’t see it as much because they were only getting 30 or so wins”. Maybe he’s right there, I don’t know. I just don’t remember KG ever talking so damn much. I remember him looking at his watch during one of the games, taunting the Magic bench and saying something like “We got plenty of time!”. What time you got on the expensive ass watch now KG? I also remember him on more than one occasion doing some sort of finger walk thing on his hand, which I can only assume means “GTFO”. Who’s walking home now KG?
All homerism aside, this was a pretty damn good series. Boston put up a good fight, but in the end the better team prevailed. That’s the way it goes in a “best of” series far more often than not. This one was no exception.
Off to Cleveland…