No disrespect to the Phoenix Suns or the Orlando Magic, but the veteran teams they're up against continue to find ways to win. Whether it's in convincing fashion or whether they're just squeaking out victories, bottom line is, they're getting it done.
Well, they got through the first round, but LeBron and Shaq were met head-on by the likes of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rasheed Wallace, and the Boston Celtics, all three guys know what it takes to win a championship because all three have been there.
Though Shaq has championship rings of his own, "the Big Pilon"—as I'll call him—couldn't rally the troops before they were thoroughly trounced out of the playoffs. While LeBron and the Cavs might have been one of the best teams in the NBA during the regular season, that means nothing come playoff time. The playoffs are either put up or shut up.
As for the Los Angeles Lakers, they were the team people just weren't sure about, at least those of us east of Los Angeles.
We all knew about Kobe Bryant and what he's capable of doing with a basketball in his hand, but you have to remember that the Lakers also have championship experience over the Suns. Paul Gasol, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher, and Jordan Farmar were all part of the 2009 championship team that could very well make a run at another back-to-back championship.
So far, the Lakers have proved that even though their victories haven't been easy, or even pretty, they continue to get it done and they continue to find ways to win.
With the Celtics heading back to Boston with a two-games-to-none advantage over the Orlando Magic, and the Lakers heading into Game Two of their series against the Suns, could we see a repeat of the 2008 NBA Finals?
These two teams played in the finals for the 10th time two years ago and it was the Celtics coming out on top, winning the NBA title four-games-to-two over the Lakers. A year later, it was the Lakers taking the NBA championship back to Los Angeles with a four-games-to-one series win over the Orlando Magic.
That begs this question. If, in fact, we are looking forward to the 11th meeting between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, are we looking at the same outcome as two years ago?
The opinion will vary depending on who you ask and what coastline you're standing on. Majority of those on the west coast will undoubtedly root for the Lakers, while those on the east coast will have their loyalties to the Celtics.
Regardless if you like these teams or you hate them, you can't deny the fact that championship experience outweighs any youth, speed, or regular season success.
What matters is how you find those ways to win. Teams that have been there before and know what it takes will be able to bring their teammates along and teach them the same mentality.
LeBron, are you listening?
The Lakers and Celtics are headed for yet another NBA Finals showdown. They're headed for what has already been a historic rivalry through the years.
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird brought the rivalry to a new level, will it end with Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett?
The answer to that question will depend on these two veteran teams continuing to find ways to win. If the trend continues, this should be an epic series between two epic dynasties.
But, before that can happen, the Celtics still have two more games to win while the Los Angeles Lakers have their own battle to deal with.
Don't expect the Orlando Magic to quit like LeBron James and the Cavs did when they saw the writing on the wall, and don't expect Steve Nash and the Suns to go down quietly to the Lakers.
Dwight Howard and the Magic know what it takes to make it to the NBA Finals only to come up short as they did last year to the Lakers. They know what it takes to find that something extra in the conference finals, make that last push to get to the big show.
As for the Suns, they are the thorn in the Lakers' side. In back-to-back playoff appearances in 2006 and again in 2007, the Suns dispatched the Lakers, including coming back from a three-games-to-one deficit in 2006.
The Lakers want, more than anything, to exercise this demon and get this monkey off their back. They're off to a good start after thumping the Suns in Game One, but there's still a long ways to go.
This is where the NBA playoffs get good. This is where the good teams get better, and this is where champions become legends.
For the Lakers and Celtics, it will be just one more chapter to a book that has some of the best games and best players this game has to offer.
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