That collective sigh of relief you heard last night was Los Angeles Lakers fans exhaling after it looked like their team had been returned to them.
Nobody knew who those guys were that went to Oklahoma City last week and masqueraded as the Lakers being been beaten twice by the Thunder, but it was back to normal last night.
For as much as people were wondering about Oklahoma City knocking the champs out, experience showed in Los Angeles during the Game 5 win. Not only knowledge on the floor, but adjustments made by Phil Jackson in his game plan. Mind you, some alterations are easier when you have a motivated Kobe Bryant, who wanted the challenge of guarding Russell Westbrook, as the second year player out of UCLA had a 4-of-13 night from the floor.
It was interesting to see the Lakers not only get the ball inside with the initial entry pass but then have dribble penetration from the inside as a follow-up after the pass. It forced the Thunder to rotate very close to the basket and there wasn’t enough time to recover as there were a number of easy dunks and interior shots from the Lakers early in the game. Oklahoma City never had the lead, trailed by 15 after a quarter and that was the ball game.
Paul Pierce got his wish.
He said the next time he visits Miami, he wants it to be for a vacation. Mission accomplished as the Boston Celtics took care of the Miami Heat in five games. In truth, the Heat overachieved all season and were overmatched from a talent standpoint against Boston.
Now, can the Celtics muster that same kind of effort against the Cavaliers?
And speaking of the Cavaliers, what was with LeBron James and the left-handed free throw in a close game?
Was his elbow really hurt that badly?
He had just made a free throw using his ailing right arm a few seconds before. I’m not sure what to make of it. Is the elbow hurt that badly that you can’t suck it up for one more free throw?
What was Quentin Richardson’s comment about actresses when he got into the dust-up with Kevin Garnett, who was standing over a fallen Paul Pierce?
Seriously, if LeBron is that banged up, Cleveland is in trouble. The King claims that all tests came back negative on his right elbow, so to borrow a line from famous Raptors locker room philosopher Charles Oakley, “If you out there playin’, you ain’t injured. If you can’t play, sit down or else I don’t wanna hear about it.”
OK, let me dig up my conspiracy theory again, (insert flogging a dead horse joke here) about the league and maybe the Cavaliers wanting Chicago to have the final playoff seed instead of Toronto.
Interesting to read LeBron’s comments about why he was pleased that Chicago and not Toronto made it into the 8th seed, and you can draw your own conclusions about their validity, but it sure sounds like he’s questioning a team’s integrity.
Hmmm…aren’t the Cavs the ones who played James almost 36 minutes against the Raptors when Mike Brown, in a pre-game interview, referred to the contest as a “high level practice,” only to rest him in a national TV game two nights later against the team that Toronto was battling with for the last playoff berth?
Shall we question integrity?
It even caused the league to scratch its head and look at maybe making adjustments so this sort of thing doesn’t happen again. True, if Toronto takes care of its own business, it’s all a moot point, but remember fellow conspiracy theorists, Toronto, even as the fourth-largest TV market in North America, does not register on the ratings scales in Uncle Sam’s ‘hood.
So who do you think it would be better to have in the playoffs against the Cavs? Toronto, or the third largest market in North America, Chicago?
Just asking. I know, I sometimes see ghosts where there aren’t any, but LeBron and his comments, are making me think.
Maybe LeBron needs to just get his elbow healthy and concentrate on trying to beat the Celtics, who knocked the Cavaliers out of the playoffs on the way to banner No. 17 in 2008.
At last count, James has as many NBA championship rings as me.
And then there is the other guy on the left coast named Bryant that, maybe at times to the detriment of his team and his own health, tries to play in every game because he feels that people spend hard-earned money to come and see him play and sometimes goes out there when maybe he shouldn’t.
I wonder what happens if at some point in the conference semi-final, Paul Pierce and LeBron James run into one another?
Hello, Quentin Richardson on line 1.