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TheKid
06-06-2002, 03:12 PM
Good read, I like this one..

Don't be bullish about Lakers' place in history
By FRAN BLINEBURY
Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle
LOS ANGELES -- The sharp edge of a champion lasted all of 17 minutes.

The steely-eyed look, the ball-hawking defense, the new-found intensity barely made it to the midway point of the second quarter.

These are, after all, the Lakers, and you know what that means.

Barcaloungers for everyone. And pass the hors d'ouerves.

America's newest dynasty has the attention span of a roomful of teenagers on a sugar high fighting over the remote control.

One minute they're overpowering. The next minute they're underwhelming.

Which is why as the Lakers relentlessly close in on their "three-peat" for the NBA championship, one should be careful about making too many close comparisons to Michael Jordan's Bulls, who accomplished the feat twice in the previous decade.

The Bulls rarely took games off. Or even parts of games once they reached this level.

For one thing, they understood what was at stake and the notion they were playing for a place in history.

For another thing, Jordan wouldn't let them.

The Lakers' main man, Shaquille O'Neal, plays occasionally. He can be indomitable. Overwhelming. Unstoppable.

That is, until he no longer feels like it.

There was little in Wednesday night's 99-94 Game 1 handling of the Nets that puts the Lakers' reign as champions in question.

Only their professionalism. Their sense of pride.

The Lakers built a 23-point lead in the first 17 minutes of the game, then had to scramble to stay in front at the finish.

"I thought our guys let up on the gas," said LA coach Phil Jackson. "I thought they played a lot of the game on cruise control. They let some things take place, and they let the Nets get some momentum."

So it got down to deep in the fourth quarter, and the Lakers had to make free throws and shots to hold the Nets at arm's length.

All of a sudden, there was Jason Kidd doing all of the things that had made him the rage of the Eastern Conference during the regular season and the man who had carried the Nets on his back through three rounds of the playoffs, averaging a triple double.

There was Kidd dashing and darting through the forest of tall trees, setting up his teammates with passes, and pulling up to sling in jumpers. There was Kidd getting to the glass to gobble up big rebounds and throwing his body into the mix to play tough defense and force turnovers.

Kidd finished with 23 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds, and it is his unbending spirit, his refusal to surrender that always seems to give the Nets a chance.

Kidd is the anti-Shaq, seemingly half as big but twice as driven.

The heart and soul of the Nets wouldn't let his team stop playing, even when New Jersey came out in its first Finals appearance and looked tighter than a Hollywood face lift in the first quarter, its tank emptier than a wannabe starlet's head.

Meanwhile, Shaq finished with 36 points and 16 rebounds. And while those numbers sound impressive, the way they were built was not.

Shaq dominated with 10 points and a handful of eye-opening plays in the first quarter. He shook the rims with slam dunks. He dazzled the crowd with fancy footwork on his turnaround bank shot. Perhaps in a tribute to new Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, he even fired off a behind-the-back pass to Kobe Bryant on one trip down the floor, then went under the hoop and flipped up a reverse one-hander for two more points on another occasion.

Then Shaq shut it down for a long stretch, and the rest of the Lakers followed his lead. From the 42-19 advantage they built with seven minutes left in the first half, Shaq scored only one field goal until the third quarter was more than halfway gone and the Nets had climbed back within 62-58.

"We don't know much about this team," said Shaq with the lamest of excuses. "Now we know what we've got to do."

Jordan would never have let that happen. Neither would Magic. Nor Kidd.

"I'm not gonna blame this on a mental letdown," O'Neal said. "It's all about us. We were messing around."

This is precisely why these Lakers, these 21st-century strutters, are always crying out for respect and not getting back what they feel is due.

They cut corners. They put their feet up. They walk around with a sense of entitlement.

In Game 7 on Sunday in Sacramento, they played like champions.

Three days later, they were slackers again.

Yes, they won. And yes, they'll win again.

But the Lakers aren't doing their legacy any favors.

Drbio
06-06-2002, 06:35 PM
Luck the Fakers

LakerMania
06-06-2002, 06:52 PM
Drbio, I don't blame you for taking every opportunity to put down the Lakers. Given the Mavs franchise record vs the Lakers I can't blame you.i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif

jk. I expect the Mavs to be a lot tougher next season. the Spurs and us will have a lot of trouble vs you guys and the Kings if we don't step up our intensity and roster.

Drbio
06-06-2002, 07:07 PM
The leakers are lucky to be in the finals. They were not the best team this year. The Kings got jobbed. And the Mavs have indeed caught the leakers in terms of talent. That last win was no fluke. The leakers will do well to split with the Mavs next year.


BTW, why does a leaker fan troll a Mavs board? Not bashing you here. I'm just curious. I know this is the best basketball site around so that may be it but if not I am definitely curious. BTW, you take your shots well....no problems with that IMO.

mali king
06-08-2002, 06:37 PM
as a kings fan, I'm more worried about the mavs than the lakers next season. The Mavs have it, and 4:1 was in no way the right measure of the reality. Meatloafs like fisher and the rest of the snails are history. We have to wait, though, to see if there's going to be any changes in Lakers' roster. But with Shaq receiving his 23 mills, and kobe his what 15 mills, (i think, i am not sure) is it going to be a major change? Shaq remains the one and only *big, indeed*, problem, but there is a way to frustrate him and slow his game.

Drbio
06-08-2002, 07:18 PM
The leakers will probably sign someone who wants to win and is willing to take a lot less than the going rate. I wouldn't count them out totally. But I do think the Mavs and Kings have caught...and maybe even passed...them.

Fidel
06-09-2002, 08:23 AM
Donīt like the article at all. All that "how they win" talk. How can you win two titles and be on your way to the third one and "win wrong"? There is no such thing as winning good or bad. All that matters is the W at the end of the game. Blame the Lakers if they lose, but if they come out champions again, give them credit (once again, overall the Sac series was called in favor of Sac not the Lakers). The Lakers win it all again, if you think they are not worthy blame the other teams or whatever. The Lakers win ballgames, thatīs what counts. Anything else is just talk. (But, of course, Iīm still routing for the Nets).

Drbio
06-09-2002, 09:11 AM
Go Nets!

But the Lakers benefit from league bias more than any team in history. The conspiracy thoeries are likely a load of crap, but it sure seems the league wants LA to win. I think the League is trying to capitalize on the fact that there are no NFL teams there and they are competing for those dollars. The Dodgers and baseball are going to get those dollars, especially since the labor war is flaring up again. The NBA stands to gain big time in LA (A top5 market) so it doesn't surprise me that the leakers are winning in this time frame. How and why they are winning is for everyone else to hash out...but it probably isn't that much of a coincidence.

OzMavs
06-09-2002, 09:35 AM
90% of games are won above the shoulders. Right now, I can't see a team that can take on the Lakers and win. The Mavs and Kings are the only threats, but I think they have to get some belief by winning, or at least splitting the season series with the Lakers.

It is kind of boring watching them win the whole damn thing, but I hope that the Mavs start thinking, "gee, that could be us." I am so looking forward to see the attitude from the Mavs next season, after this offseason the ifs surrounding a big man presence, a poor shooting night should all be answered, then, well its just a matter of putting the Phil Jackson, Hack-a-Shaq and related theorizing to bed.

I don't care for the Lakers, I envy what they have done, I am thinking next season, more and more emphasis will be on what the Lakers have done. It will be their rivals setting the pace.