Cleveland Cavaliers

Los Angeles Lakers Dominate Game One of NBA Finals: Where's LeBron?

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 30: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during introductions against the Orlando Magic in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2009 Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 30, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Nick LeveskiContributor IJune 5, 2009

The Los Angeles Lakers destroyed the Orlando Magic Thursday night. A 25-point win that has everyone, well, me, at least, asking if we were robbed.

We all wanted a Lebron versus Kobe NBA Finals. The NBA wanted it. The referees who officiate NBA games wanted it.

Instead, we get the Orlando Magic (welcome back to the planet Earth, by the way) against a Lakers team ready to wash their hands of this whole mess.

No one cares about Jameer Nelson. He played on a college team that no one wanted to accept as a formidable opponent too.

No one cares about Hedo Turkoglu. That guy is from a country most Americans associate with Thanksgiving dinner (I think he's great, but come one, he's from Turkey. Really? We're supposed to root for this guy?).

And their lone star, Dwight Howard? We compare him to a superhero who was killed off from his comic book fame about 10 years ago. A superhero who has such a glaring weakness that it's almost too easy to come with a sports headline any time Dwight Howard loses.

For example: "Triple teams and cold shooting from behind the arc turn out to be Dwight Howard's kryptonite"

What we were supposed to see? A matchup between the two greatest stars in the NBA. There were ads plastered on every website, on every city bus, on every commercial break.

Instead, as it's been happening far too often in professional sports, the underdog sneaks in to the championship game and gets embarrassed.

It happened this past year in the NCAA tournament final. Michigan State surged past the Connecticut Huskies in the first round of the Final Four. They were subsequently demolished by a far better North Carolina Tar Heels team.

In 2007, the Colorado Rockies didn't lose a single game in the National League playoffs. They were swept by the American League's Boston Red Sox in the World Series.

If it weren't for the New York Giants thwarting the New England Patriots' chance at undefeated immortality, one would have to wonder if major sports upsets were possible at all.

The NBA is the worst. Every series gets at least seven games. At least a day's rest after every playoff game. 

Where is the drama?

Yes, the Orlando Magic beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games. They lived, and did not die, by the jump shot, from both inside and beyond the arc. Tonight? They shot thirty-percent from the floor.

The reality? They're probably somewhere in-between. Which means they're still going to lose this series in five games.

Do they deserve to be there? Sure. Would we all rather see LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers lose in five games? You bet. Why? Because Lebron is a star. He's the next Jordan. His stats may not end up mirroring MJ's but he's the closest thing we've got.

Instead, we get a comeback story no one cares about, the second death of a comic book hero we all failed to realize had somehow been resurrected, and the satisfaction of knowing we weren't out of line to not root for a guy from Turkey.

And I know it's only game one of a seven-game series but when you lose by 25 points, it is the beginning of a story we've all read before.

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