Guns-a-blazin’… this is the second time this season that the LA Lakers have won the West (including winning the regular season), and the differences in the team in that short period of time are beyond counting. All I had to say on (the regular season) “How the West Was Won…” was:
“With a whimper…”
LA seemed to fall into the 1st seed of the West.
Still, there were believers amongst us. In the final Bloguin NBA Power Rankings, I said that the Lakers were like:
“Lazarus. Beyond the first two letters, the allusion is clear: come playoffs, you’ll see a new team…”
And a new team we have seen indeed… lead ably by Kobe Bryant – who has been playing at other-worldly levels (with many pundits declaring Bryant better than LBJ!) – the entire team has stepped up at times.
Here’s a wrap-up of the end of the Western Conference Finals…
Ezra: Hey Nash, that’s what happens when you guarantee a victory against the best team closing out a series on the road. You get burned.
But thanks to Sasha Vujacic, the game got tighter in the 4th qtr. But the Lakers won because of their ability to bring down that zone defense and not allowing their bench or Amare Stoudamire to take over the game for the most part. Kobe Bryant may have put the game to sleep, but Ron Artest gets the game ball. He was making his shots and played great defense.
Like Michael Coooper said: You want us Boston? Here we come!
Don: Ouch (on the Nash comment!)! The Phoenix Suns fans should be proud – they were amazing this season, and in a year where no-one gave them a chance… They should hold on to Gentry, I think he’s a pretty damn good coach. Definitely better than a lot of the other options out there.
The Sasha-flagrant… I’ll be disgusted if it stands. Sure, stupid, bone-headed thing to do – but what the hell? Is Dragic made of marshmallow? That was the biggest flop I’ve seen since Pierce’s wheelchair!
And yup: I think Boston will find LA an entirely different opponent to the one they faced in ’08.
Ezra: Just couldn’t help it with the Nash comment.
I just didn’t expect him to say something like that. What was he gonna do guard Kobe to guarantee a win?
But yes, the Suns started the season like they were going nowhere fast. Nash wasn’t doing much and Stoudamire played like he was already out of Phoenix. Then, they suddenly clicked and got rolling all the way to the WCF. Not bad at all. Gentry will still have a job next season. No worries there for the Suns.
As for the Vujacic/Dragic incident, I’ve said it a long time ago that the league should install a new rule that allows each team one official review per half to look at a play where a player may have flopped and give that player a technical foul if it was ruled a flop. Dragic gets tapped on the jaw and grabbed his face like an eagle just flew right into it. Then says later that he didn’t say anything to Sasha. But the replay showed he was saying something and gave a shoulder tap to Sasha. But, that is still a bone-headed play by Vujacic. Gotta keep that composure in check.
Yes, Boston will find out that 2008 is definitely not 2010. But don’t get me started on Pierce’s “injury” in ’08…