Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend roundup
       The Dodgers went down to Texas and came away with two wins against the Rangers; the Angels got another outstanding pitching performance from righthander Jared Weaver; and, oh yeah, the Lakers won the NBA championship.
        Kobe Bryant shed the stigma that he couldn't win a title without Shaquille O'Neal. Well, he didn't need Shaq...he had Pao Gasol, who should be honored in some way, at least the team's co-MVP. And Coach Phil Jackson passed Red Auerbach by winning his 10th championship.  Auerbach despised  the Lakers because he saw them as a real threat, more than the Knicks or 76ers,  to replace the Celtics as the league's marquee franchise.


         add Auerbach: He still holds the record for consecutive championships--eight--a mark that will probably stand for all time. Actually, there are some similarities between Jackson and the old Celtics coach. Both were/are at times arrogant and aloof. They both have/had the ability to get great players to lead their teams in important games; and they both got average players to play beyond their talent...all ingredients needed for winning championships.


          add Lakers: This season's team is not one of the all-time great Laker club's, although it is the best team in the NBA and deserves all the accolades that go with the title. This Lakers team is more workman-like than the Showtime-era teams of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy, or the Shaq-led Lakers that won three straight NBA titles earlier this decade.


          add Johnson: His commentary during the playoffs for ESPN and ABC was brilliant, and overshadowed the much-ballyhooed blabber of Charles Barkley, who foolishly predicted that the overrated Orlando Magic would beat the  Lakers in 7 games.  Johnson was critical and introspective in his assessments of the Magic's poor defense in Game 4, especially on Derek Fisher's two key three-point baskets. 

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