All hail the Los Angeles Lakers. They are on top of the basketball world.
What we witnessed last night can't be more accurately described as "All Hell Breaking Loose." That easily was one of the worst/greatest games I've ever seen in my entire life. We had a supremely dynamic shift in the officiating in the first half into the second half, which had me insanely perplexed. We had a Los Angeles crowd that seemed stunned for almost the entire game, then came to life like a church congregation late in the game. We had a Boston team that looked phenomenal, playing their A-Game for 3 1/2 quarters, then literally fell off a cliff for the rest of the game.
But most importantly, the epic (bad) shooting performance of Kobe Bryant in Game 7 ultimately led to the best team winning the NBA Finals.
I don't say that as a slight against Kobe, but its more of a back-handed compliment. Let's be perfectly clear, if Kobe Bryant's performance (24 points, 15 rebounds, 6-24 shooting) would have resulted in a Game 7 loss, then we would have a totally different discussion about "Kobe's Legacy" right now. I will not use this forum at this time to address "Kobe's Legacy" but realize how completely different it would look.
However, his inability to be a scoring force for his team, made the Lakers have to lean on the supporting cast in a way that was truly remarkable to watch. Gasol put up another strong showing, but went into war with Garnett, Wallace, and Davis. Did you see Gasol's arms during Game 7? It looked like he got into a fight with a menacing cat, all while getting stabbed with an ice pick. Putting up 19 points, 18 boards, 4 dimes, and 2 blocks...I don't know what you can say about that. Gasol's legacy will be this, he is the softest & mentally toughest big man maybe ever.
(Aside: Last night Rasheed Wallace & Kevin Garnett's inside play was awe-inspiring. We've been waiting for Rasheed to perform on that type of level for 15 years, and for a nice stretch of Game 7, finally was the POST PLAYER we all wanted him to be. Garnett's inside play was what the KG used to look like back in 'Sota. However, Kenny and I have disagreed about what could've or should've happened last night. The Lakers had no answer for 'Sheed last night, yet after his great play in the first quarter, largely went away from him. Garnett did major work inside, yet it seems at this point of his career he's almost more resigned to be a 6'12" shooting guard. Garnett had THREE rebounds last night and averaged 5.5 boards for the series. Kenny says that this "team" and specifically Doc Rivers couldn't expect to have 'Sheed and KG lead them to the promised land, because the "team" has all been contributors. Kenny's other point was that in the grand scheme of things Pierce & Allen were the two go-to guys on this team, yet those two shot a combined 8-29. Of course this is all hindsight, but my thing is this...the Lakers had nothing for 'Sheed and KG. Being the Lake Show inside was the one thing that Boston hadn't done the entire season, and over the course of the game and seeing Pierce/Allen throwing up bricks and taking really tough shots. 'Sheed gave a monster effort, saved his technical fouls, and did whatever he could to win that game. Thus, the reason why he was in full uniform trying to "peacefully" speak to Danny Crawford after the game. Look, this aside has clearly made me upset and I'm going to end the aside now. End aside.)
I'll admit, this post is more of a ramble than anything, I still haven't wrapped my mind around what happened. However, this much is clear.
In the grand scheme of things, Ron Artest has seemingly made it all worth it. You all know that I was rooting for the Celtics, but for the longest I have been a huge Ron Artest guy. The post-game interview and the press conference took all my madness away...
Kobe, your teammates were the best last night. I'm glad you showed them some love. We all know this media is going to make it all about you, and somewhat deservedly so, but if deep down in your heart you know what this Game 7 was truly all about...then I'm okay with that. We'll never know the truth though, and with that being said I'll close this chapter in NBA history with a quote from one of the crowned members of the Light Skinned Coalition pantheon, Mr. Michael Smith. (via twitter last night)
"Being the greatest is about more than numbers, or even rings. I'll leave it at that."
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!