Last week, after the Lakers went into Boston and took a 2-1 series lead in the NBA Finals, it seemed like it was only a matter of time until Figueroa Street would become noticeably more crowded, swarming in a parade of purple and gold. We all heard Stuart Scott point out that in the current 2-3-2 format, the team that wins Game 3 of the NBA Finals when the series is all tied-up, has emerged as the champions 10 out of 10 times. Michael Wilbon lauded Phil Jackson’s accomplishments as a head coach, alluding to his impeccable 47-0 record whenever he wins the first game of a playoff series.
Magic Johnson had already abdicated his title as the “Greatest Laker of All-Time” by bestowing that tile to Kobe Bryant, even causing a stir by prematurely mentioning Kobe’s name among the greatest of all-time. And Jon Barry- well, no offense but no one really cares what J.B. thinks, even if Magic tends to ask for his opinion, more so out of courtesy than genuine curiosity.
What a difference one week makes. As of today, the Lakers find themselves in unfamiliar territory– trailing in a series for the first time this postseason and on the brink of letting another championship slip away at the hands of their most despised rival. While Kobe has been doin’ work in the Finals the rest of the supporting players have disappeared faster than the cast of the next Spider-Man sequel. No offense to Boston, but losing this series has much greater implications for the Los Angeles Lakers than it does for the Celtics. If the Celtics were to lose the NBA Finals, it would mean that the Celtics were too old or that the Lakers were simply more capable. But if the Lakers don’t win their last 2 games, there will be plenty of blame and finger-pointing to go around.
Next: Who to Blame…