It was just disappointing last night because it seemed like L.A. had finally figured it out. Andrew Bynum was incredible on the offensive end and leading like a floor general on the defensive end. I’ve never seen him so demonstrative, and I liked that both he and Lamar Odom fought to stay on the floor when Phil tried to pull them out.
They were playing well; Shannon Brown had spurts of greatness and Steve Blake mildly atoned for his terrible sins in Game 2. Would Ron Artest have made a huge difference? It’s hard to say and not worth dwelling on in my opinion because the past can’t be changed.
Kobe was extremely efficient and shot a respectable 8 of 16 and added 6 assists as well. People will probably clobber him for not being more aggressive, but can you imagine if he had taken 30 shots last night? He would be sandblasted by the fans for being selfish and not trusting his teammates. He did trust his teammates last night, setting them up and taking shots when necessary. Kobe always plays with a double-edged sword and is bound to displease someone no matter what he does.
Lakers fans are spoiled. I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again now. I include myself in that category, but I am at least self-aware enough to realize it and therefore appreciate them on a more real level. The Lakers have gone to the finals the past three years, and won two back-to-back titles.
I would never trade winning an NBA Finals Game 7 against the Boston Celtics even if it meant we never won another title in my lifetime. Dramatic, but true. How can we not appreciate the magnitude of last year? All the pieces fell into place to create a once-in-a-lifetime memory that I can tell my kids about someday.
The Knicks hadn’t been to the playoffs in ten years and got swept in the first round. They also have only two championships in their team history. Some teams have never been to the playoffs, or have no trophies to show their fan base. Of course it’s all relative: Lakers fans are used to winning, so we expect winning all the time.
It’s important to recognize how truly blessed we have been as a fan base, though. I am part of the generation that has grown up watching Kobe Bryant, one of the best basketball players of all time. I don’t care if he isn’t at the same level as he was five years ago; it’s only because he has poured his heart and soul into basketball and ravaged his body to continue playing and winning- for himself, but also for us.
Next: Keep the Faith