dEDGE Post Scriptum
With the season officially over and the Los Angeles Lakers crowned as the 2009 NBA champions, here are my final observations of the just concluded 5-game match-up with the Orlando Magic.
Celebrity Row: Tiger Woods. Spike Lee. Serena Williams. Chris Brown. Rihanna. (fortunately, they were at different games) Diddy. Mark Wahlberg. Hewell Houser. Common. Dylan McDermott. Laurence Fishburne. Ice Cube. Flea. Anthony Kiedis. Andy Garcia. Dyan Cannon. Denzel. Penny. Lou Adler. Jack. Ron Artest. Bill Russell. AC Green. Robert Horry. Gary Payton.
Pre-game psyche-job – DJ Mbenga, strutting around in a black wife beater, looking bigger and more menacing than Dwight Howard. Jeffrey Osborne, doing what he does best after a 7-year absence. The refs taking control of the game and not allowing the players to play. Kobe, leading by example. All others looking nervous and tentative. Finally facing the ghosts of last season’s collapse against Boston. The Lakers on offense, not clicking on all cylinders but still leading by 18 points. The Lakers on defense, simply put, exemplary. Kobe in the Twilight Zone. Jack Nicholson, praising Kobe or Allah, not quite sure which. Orlando in complete disarray. Jameer Nelson, welcome addition or monkey wrench thrown into a well-oiled machine. Rashard Lewis’ disappearing act in Game 1. Speedy point guard Rafer Alston, slowed down to a crawl on the 405 by Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar.
Jeff Van Gundy exclaiming about Kobe’s scowl, “Wow! He looks mean!” Kris Allen, American Idol and Game 2 warm-up act. Clang… Orlando-15, Lakers-15 after the first period. A familiar line, Andrew Bynum, 2 quick fouls. Rashard Lewis – 18 points in the 2nd quarter. Hedo Turkoglu – 17 points in the 3rd quarter. Bynum with the “shake and bake” move in the paint to freeze Howard. Lamar Odom not giving up on the fast break and swatting away a gimme. Trevor Ariza and his “poke” on Dwight Howard in the post. Courtney Lee with the missed layup. A chance for Orlando to win… sorry, overtime. Offensive interference or no call? J.J. Redick with the costly turnover, D-Fish capitalizing on the miscue by drawing the foul on Turkoglu. Kobe with the dish on the triple-team to a wide open Pau Gasol. Lakers 2-0, heading to the sweltering Magic Kingdom.
The bandwagon is starting to get full again… Skip-to-my-Lou replaces Rafer Alston in the starting line-up. Kobe’s 4-point play. The Mamba scores 17 points in a span of 5:17 in the 1st quarter. Orlando shoots 75% from the field in the first half. Jordan Farmar, point guard of the future again. Great defensive block-out on Superman by Andrew Bynum. Kobe chomping on the Wrigley’s. Another JVG gem in reference to Kobe, “He’s not tired. He’s not hurt. He’s indestructible!” Missed free throws do the Lakers in. Dwight Howard finally makes an appearance in the Finals. Pietrus with the follow-up jam. Pietrus with the steal. Kobe looking human with 7 turnovers. Phil commenting, “We’re all frail as humans…” Orlando gains some confidence, but the Lakers don’t lose any.
Everybody in foul trouble in the first quarter. The oldest guy on the floor diving for a loose ball. The Bench Mob cheering on the starters. Turkoglu, becoming a Sacramento Queen in crunch time. D-Fish – Big, big three pointer to tie the score. Jameer Nelson, horrible defense or none at all. The Magic without a go-to guy. Orlando’s collapse with the win in the bag. D-Fish quiets the crowd once again in overtime by splashing another triple. Gasol with the breakaway dunk. Gasol and Pietrus go face-to-face after the flagrant foul. Ssssss… someone just let the air out of the blue and white balloon. Did the Lakers win or did Orlando choke? It’s over but it’s not over. Puppet Lebron pumping to 2010.
The thud heard all around Los Angeles from dropping hearts when Kobe dislocates his ring finger, again. A collective exhale, as Kobe doesn’t miss a single play. Trevor and Hedo, head-to-head like butting Billy goats. Ariza with the trey to take the lead for good. A 16-0 run by the Lakers. The Lakers smelling blood. LO in the corner, calling from long distance, twice. Mark Jackson musing, “Orlando had a plan… until they got hit.” A smile breaks out. Chants of MVP! MVP! MVP! ring out in Orlando. Another cookie. Redemption. Let’s have a parade with the Laker Girls…