It’s LA and [insert winner of East, hell… Boston?]

31 05 2008

Sheesh…
Cannot wipe the smile off my face.
The Los Angeles Lakers 100 defeated the San Antonio Spurs 92.
The reigning champions. Gone. Dusted.

The Lakers have a week off before they play the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals – the Detroit Pistons or the Boston Celtics. And does anyone think that’s not going the full seven?
Even with Rip Hamilton out, I still think that the Pistons have enough to get it done in game 6 back in the Palace before heading to the Garden for game 7, where they will ultimately lose.

But the Lake-show… lead by Kobe Bryant with 39 points, the Lakers were very, very good. Ample support at crucial times from other Lakers – most notably Pau Gasol who gave 12 points and a massive 19 rebounds.
Down by 17 in the 2nd quarter, the Lakers fought back and were down by a mere 6 going in at halftime. The next half saw a team that just weren’t to be denied, and although the Spurs made a valiant run, it was not to be. The Lakers simply were the better team… not just on the night, but the better team. Period.

Amazing how far they’ve come, from the pre-season where everything looked uncertain, even down to whether Bryant would still be a Laker. Then through the injury to Bynum, and the exciting, energising addition of Pau Gasol. Through it all, the Lakers persevered, then triumphed. To the point they are now, on the brink of the finals against an as yet undecided opponent.

Honestly? The guy who deserves most of the kudos is not Kobe Bryant, but Mitch Kupchak. Much maligned – by pretty much everyone (including this blog) – Kupchak stood his ground, and held onto both Bynum, and Bryant. He got the steal deal done for Pau Gasol. Pretty much every player on the team is there through Kupchak. It’s unbelievable, but as it stands now, the deal he made for Shaq-to-Miami was fantastic – for the Lakers.

But let’s not forget Kobe… who was… well, Kobe. 39 points, dominating a game that needed to be dominated. He was fantastic. 17 points in the final quarter… Simply, fantastic.

Clearly a guy who has to be thanking his lucky stars that none of his wishes came true last summer, because his dearest wish is within sight.

The Spurs are left wondering what could have been… if Manu was healthy… if they traded for someone younger… if just a few more calls went their way (laugh!)…
They’re aging, and with Manu & Tony playing the Olympics, they could be starting next season tired.

So the Lakers rest until next Thursday, where they will play the winner of the Boston/Detroit series. Even tho’ there are question marks over Rip Hamilton (I say he plays), and Billups is still not 100%… I have the Pistons winning tomorrow’s game 6. Then back to Boston for game 7 on June 1st, where Boston will hold court and win the Eastern Conference Finals.

A return to history, bring on the good ol’ days…

Bring on Boston.

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9 responses

31 05 2008
Apryl DeLancey

I’m so excited that they made it back. Kobe deserves a lot of credit as Kupchak does, but so do the rest of the team. The bench was great (go FISH!) and they got it done when they needed to. It wasn’t always pretty, but it happened!

31 05 2008
Ed Ziti

Due to recent injuries to Detroit it look like its going to Boston; should be fun!

31 05 2008
A. Becker

Nah, I think Detroit makes this one go back to Beantown for a 7th.

31 05 2008
withmalice

Boston off to a good start…
32-25, Ray-ray’s shooting the lights out.

31 05 2008
withmalice

4 point game… 2 min to go. Boston up.

1 06 2008
Chris Iafolla

Well, now that we know the outcome, we can bring on the onslaught of articles that reminisce of the good ole’ days. Could the NBA have asked for a better outcome than this? This is exactly the finals the needed to boost the league into the limelight. I bet the league was shuddering at the thought of a Spurs and Pistons finals.

On a different note, I 100% agree, the MVP of this Lakers team is Mitch Kupchak–not Kobe. First in refusing to budge to Kobe’s demands and second in committing highway robbery to get Gasol, Kupchak solidified this team as a legit title contender more than anything Kobe has done all season.

1 06 2008
Sportsattitude

So true that Kobe is thanking his lucky stars he didn’t get his wish 12 months ago and pack the moving van. Hard to believe how his year has turned out, except for the fact he is the best player in the league. Chris makes a great point – kudos to the front office for hanging in there and not making a move just for the sake of making a move…and…obviously knowing the personalities of the players Kobe was indirectly bashing in his desire to leave would be able to handle his remaining in L.A.

2 06 2008
92 3 los angeles

[…] Lakers have a week off before they play the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals – the Detroit Pihttp://with-malice.com/2008/05/31/adieu-spurs/Lakers earn rest, relaxation Memphis Commercial AppealKobe Bryant was positively giddy. The los […]

4 09 2008
Clothing Hand Luke

I’m upset the Lakers got dominated by the Celtics. After they played so well against the Jazz and Spurs, wasn’t the same team we saw. Oh well, there’s always next year.

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