Ev’ry one was hushed with anticipation.
In LA the banners were hung in the rafters with care,
In hopes that another soon would be there;
Our little one snuggled warm in his bed,
Where dreaming of championships in his sweet little head;
And mama in her ‘kobe jersey’, and I in my Lakers cap,
Had just settled down to watch some old replay crap.
When on the TV there arose such a clatter,
I turned up the volume to see what was the matter.
Away to the East a city’s aspirations did clash,
Tied to LeBron, Cleveland’s hopes they did lash.
Was ’09/10 the last, and when would we know?
Would it be New York, or New Jersey he’d set all aglow.
Or even Miami? And give them good cheer!
But leaving Cleveland, without shedding a tear.
But now game-time ’tis, of December two-five!
Thanks to our NBA league pass – we’d be watching it live.
There out on the floor, hardwood polished to a glow,
A man dressed in scarlet, moved out oh so slow.
Face red and quite flush’d, belly big and so round.
Was it jolly Saint Nick in LA that we’d found?
Zounds no! It’s not he – it’s not Santa come back!
Whilst red, round and jolly, by Jove that is Shaq!
Bigger than life, like the whale out of Moby,
He’s back in LA trying to win without Kobe!
And hey – there’s LeBron! With Floppsy in tow,
The pride of Ohio, all here for the show.
And now it’s the Lakers, and run out they all came.
The announcer he shouted and called them by name;
“Now, Kobe! now, Bynum! Now, Pau and Odom!
On, Shannon! On Fish! on, Jordan and Ron!
To the top of the league! Without hesitation!
Put Cleveland away – you’re the best in the nation!
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
Sweep away Cavs and bid them goodbye.”
The game it went on, and Kobe was firin’.
Hit 40 with ease, and did so without tirin’.
Pau did what he does, and got a dub/double,
Bynum was good, but played with foul trouble.
But ol’ Ron was the man, tonight he’s the hero.
He shut down LeBron – wins in LA this season zero.
Now the game’s all over, and Christmas is done once again.
All o’er the world, LA fans are happy – they beat ’em by 10.
He’s a former Laker afterall, and ’twas with mirth that he spoke.
And I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he walked out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”
Now… to Brendan. I asked 5 questions of him (and he five of me – they’re up at Stepien Rules), and I didn’t pull my punches! Read on…
Don (With Malice): With most stating that “Cleveland play better with Shaq on the bench” – is the O’Neal experiment a failure? Or can something be salvaged?
Brendan (Stepien Rules): It hasn’t gone exactly as I’d hoped so far to be sure, but I’m not ready to call it a failure. Truth is, at this point, Shaq is more of an asset type player for the Cavaliers, than a guy the team can be geared around in any capacity. What I mean by that is the Cavaliers currently have in Shaq, a healthy, powerful, presence in the paint, that still commands a double team even at the age of 37. They didn’t have anything like that on the roster last year, not even close, and it showed up for everyone to see against Orlando in the ECF. If that were to happen again, in a match-up with a guy like Howard, maybe Shaq can get you the couple more wins that proved elusive last season. In the meantime, throughout an 82-game regular season with match-ups that don’t always play to Shaq’s strengths, there might be some rough nights. But he remains a viable option for this team, and he has come into the season in great shape, and he doesn’t seem to be a distraction at all in the locker room or otherwise. So I guess, we’ll see, and yeah, something can be salvaged, but I will have to get back to you on what that something is specifically at a later date.
Don (With Malice): Who’s having the better season – Kobe or LeBron?
Brendan (Stepien Rules): Well, if you’re talking about the muppet commercials they both co-star in, I’d say they’re both down after that rapping reindeer basketball game. I’m still trying to figure that out…didn’t make any sense, and why was KRS One there? Anyways, as far as a better season, well neither’s having a bad one for sure. Kobe’s team is definitely playing better, but Kobe has much better talent around him than LeBron does. To that point, Kobe’s always had way more talent around him than LeBron has ever had. And Kobe gets Shaq in his prime, while LeBron gets him at 40…but I digress. Its probably a toss-up. If you ask a guy from Cleveland he’ll say LeBron, ask a guy from LA he’ll say Kobe, and both will be right. But I will say this. The year after Nash won his first MVP, he put up better numbers the following season, and he won the MVP award again. This year, LeBron is currently averaging more points and more assists than he did a year ago, when he won his first MVP, so does he get it again based on that?
Don (With Malice): Christmas Day, Cleveland come to Hollywood. Who wins?
Brendan (Stepien Rules): First off, what a game for Christmas day. You got the Cavs and the Lakers, Kobe v. LeBron with a little bit of a Shaq-Kobe side-plot in the background, two teams that could win the NBA championship, one team in the Lakers that will be in the Finals for sure…doesn’t get better than this one. Only way it could get better for me would be if the Cavs won, so I’m going to say they win. But a lot has to happen for Cleveland to do that, specifically they’ll have to play far and away their best game of the season.
Don (With Malice): Honest truth now: where’s LBJ next season? And if it’s not Cleveland, where do you think LeBron would most likely end up? And what would be the aftermath in Cleveland?