01 June, 2008
David Stern Gets His Wish
Let me say first that I generally do not believe in conspiracy theories. I especially think it is absurd to believe that sports can be manipulated to fit into a pre-ordained outcome. Having said that, it sure is remarkable that the NBA actually ended up with the Finals match-up it most desperately desired, Celtics vs. Lakers. Of course the Celtics were the cream of the crop in the East. Their only serious competition this year came from the Pistons and the Celtics just flat out wanted it more than the Pistons did. However, by no stretch of the imagination were the Lakers head and shoulders above the rest of the Western Conference. Yes, they were the number one seed but that was only by a game and only because the Hornets faltered the final week of the regular season. They were decidedly superior to both the Nuggets and Jazz in the playoffs but then drew likely the easiest match-up they could have in the conference finals when they got the Spurs. Yes, I know the Spurs were the defending champs and no, this is not bitterness because they ousted my Hornets. The Spurs were lucky to survive New Orleans. Yes, lucky. Just compare their shooting percentages from the New Orleans series to the Lakers series (and the Hornets played excellent defense against them). So the Lakers got the older, less athletic team which had no legitimate answer for Kobe, Gasol, or Odom as opposed to the one that did. Now, did the NBA influence the outcome of the Spurs/Hornets series? I wouldn't say that but they sure got lucky. Now they get the Finals match up that will likely give them their highest ratings since Jordan retired the second time. The ratings in Boston and L.A. alone will probably be higher that last year's bore fest that was Spurs/Cavaliers. So David Stern is jubilant and Kobe gets the spotlight (which is all he really cares about). But my hope is that Kevin Garnett (a more complete player and classier guy than Kobe could ever be) gets his first championship. I won't give a prediction as far as how long the series will last but I will take the Celtics all the way.