I have been busy for a while (I mean hey, it's summer), so I couldn't get my SIFS blog out last Monday. So instead of spending hours of making a My Thoughts and still not finishing it on times alot (when you know what has been going on), I'm going to stick with the most important topics. This is my new series, Topic Time! I'll pick one or two big topics of the week and talk about them until I can't think of what else to say. This one is only a few paragraphs and one topic, so you'll be able to read it. I hope. Now I'm wondering if you can. Prove me wrong!
The Finals. We all love the Finals. Especially when it's the Lakers and the Celtics in the Finals. And if we don't like it, the media forces us to like it with the constant "remember when?" stories from back in the day. The first two games were at Boston, and Boston showed why they should win the title, winning both games. Next three games would be played in the Staples Center on the other side of the nation. In the first game, a must-win for the Lakers, Kobe Bryant led his team to victory. Now Game 4 rolls along. If the Lakers win Game 4, we're back to the beginning; the series would be tied 2-2, and it would be basically a best-of-three from there on. LA comes out strong and makes a HUGE lead. Boston started chipping away, and eventually took the lead in the fourth, winning the game.
Last night we saw Game 5. The Lakers again came out strong. This time, they opened up to almost a 20-point lead. Right before halftime, Boston started chipping away again. The Lakers would go on little spurts, but the margin kept getting smaller and smaller. Halftime ended and the Lakers came out lazy. The Celtics took the lead, but not for long. Kobe got another big lead. And for the third time in two games, the Celtics came back. Sam Cassell gave Boston 7 straight points. The score is 97-95 with not too much time left. The Celtics take the ball up. Kobe's playing tight defense and knocks the ball loose! Derrick Fisher scoops it up, and, realizing he's either going to be fouled or tied-up in a second, throws a quick lob up to Bryant, who was taking off down the court. Bryant catches it, looks back and sees he's free, and throws the ball throught the hoop.
Right there, a dunk that puts a team up by four with a minute or two left, I knew it was over. Could the Celics come back? Sure. They were only down by four. But that dunk had everyone on their feet and cheering. If the Celtics had any momentum at all before that play, every piece, ounce, and fluid ounce of it was gone. I was right; the Lakers held on from there to make the series 3-2 and go back to Boston.
So what's going to happen now? Well, it's like this. If Kobe and L.A. plays with that do-or-die instinct and attitude that they had at the end of the game last night, they'll get momentum and play a Game 7. If they play lazy, they'll get killed in Game 6. The fans at the Garden are going to be pulling for Boston all night, and the Lakers have to bring their A game.
This is what I see: Boston will win Game 6 in a blowout. Why? Do I think the Lakers are that bad? No, they're an amazing team. Anyone who makes it out of the Western Conference playoffs is great. But every single game of this series there have been stretches where the Lakers wouldn't compete. They wouldn't contest shots, they wouldn't go after loose balls, they wouldn't be aggressive (especially Pau Gasol in the paint), and they looked lazy. If that happens once in Game 6, Boston will take advantage of it, and either take the lead or build on it. When the Lakers had those big leads, they would get lazy and let Boston back in it. They can't do that in these last two (or just one) games. They have to fight for everything. Gasol has to be aggressive. Kobe has to be in the zone. The defense has to be on top of their game all night. And I don't see that happening.