The NBA Finals are officially underway and the Los Angeles Lakers looked unbeatable. We can all look forward to the traditional hyperbolic articles online between now and Sunday. Why? Because that's how sports are covered. When a team plays well they are unbeatable. When a team plays poorly they are washed up, apathetic, or just plain suck. It's a lot like financial coverage right now. Market down 3%? Greece is dragging the world into another recession! Market up 3%? Recession over! Nothing can stop the American economy! Considering the current volatility in the markets right now, these articles can be read at least twice a week. Same for basketball, every writer blows games out of proportion.
Look, I believe L.A. will win this series. Kobe is hungry and the big men are the best in basketball. However, I don't think we will see a sweep. I'd be shocked if it were over in five games. Boston won't be as flat as they were last night come Sunday. I expect the Celtics to win two games in Boston. That being said, it's time to break down last night's game.
Kobe Bryant: If you're a Celtics fan you have to be bothered that the Lakers won without Bryant having a monster game. Yes, he scored 30 (he made 30 on a last second, unnecessary 3 pointer that everyone who has watched Kobe knew he would shoot), but he wasn't required to make clutch shots or take over the game. Here's the thing: Kobe can win two games in a seven game series. He's that good and playing with an intensity and hunger unrivaled by anyone in the NBA. If you believe that Kobe will have two of the aforementioned "no way are we losing" games, L.A. essentially only needs to win one more game without the Black Mamba imitating Jordan. Smart money says they will.
Kevin Garnett: It was KG's sense of urgency that propelled Boston over Cleveland. Where was that last night? Garnett wasn't much of a factor and that's a problem for the Celtics. If Boston is going to win this series, KG will need to shut down Gasol and be a factor on the offensive end. I expect him to step his game up. If not Sunday then when the series moves to the East Coast. Anything is possible!!!!!!!!!!
Ron Artest: If you watched last night's game with someone who never knew the NBA even existed and asked them to tell you which player was involved in one of the most infamous sports brawls would they in a million years guess Ron Artest? Seriously, this guy is supposed to be crazy, but all I saw was tough defense and a surprising effective offensive game. Meanwhile, Kendrick Perkins kind of looked like a serial killer. (Just saying, his facial expressions didn't make him look like a guy you would want to have a beer with.)
Ray Allen: Did he play last night? No way Boston can win if he's in foul trouble, he matches up too well against the Lakers. Fortunately for the Celtics it's unlikely he will rack up 5 fouls again.
Chris Rock: First, he attempts and fails to get Kobe's attention when Kobe's on the bench. Just a hunch, but I'm pretty sure Kobe was never diagnosed with ADD as a kid. Second, Phil Jackson scolds him from off camera when he's been interviewed. I'm not surprised Phil got made, but what was shocking was the way it affected Rock. He looked embarrassed the rest of the game. Seriously Chris, you're one of the greatest stand ups of all time, you got to show some swagger.