Well after last night’s euphoric victory by the Los Angeles Lakers over their fiercest rivals for NBA supremacy in the Boston Celtics. There’ll now be many amongst telling us that the Lakers are now indeed the best team in the NBA. Record wise and statistically that’d prove to be the case. But the argument does continue even amongst the most discerning of fans of not just the NBA but amongst both teams’ legions of fans.
Bryant and Garnett shake hands prior to the game played last night at the TD Banknorth Center in Boston , Mass. ………..
But as the title of this piece reads and it can be attributed to the neo-soul r&b group Tony, Toni , Tone ! One of the premiere r&b groups of the late 80’s and early 90s, fronted by Raphael Saadiq. An accomplished musician and producer in his own right.
The game itself though not overly suspenseful did pit two teams who as of late have been playing some excellent basketball. And if nothing else the hierarchy of the NBA has to be pleased with the way the season seems to be turning out thus far. We’ve seen the consistency of one of its brightest stars in LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Who’s now leading them to great heights this season. He’s ably abetted by the likes of Anderson Varejao, Mo Williams and others.
Kevin Garnett of the Celtics looks to make a move against the Lakers’ Pau Gasol.
But it is the Lakers and Celtics whom the league appears to live and die by when it comes to equating its success. Especially on the business side of the equation. Anyone who’d think otherwise clearly hasn’t seen the sort product that the two teams move in terms of merchandising, not only domestically but also internationally. And for a sport that now generates in excess of $8.5bn annually in revenues. One can only think that this brings a smile to the face of Commissioner David Stern when both teams are successful and sit atop of the game.
Jordan Famar of the Lakers and the Celtics’ Ray Allen contest a loose ball during the game . ……………
The Lakers visited the TD Banknorth Center in Boston , home to the Celtics not long after having slayed the New York Knicks. Kobe Bryant was coming off a highly impressive game where he’d scored 61 points against the woefully inept Knicks. And the Celtics , themselves prior to last night’s overtime loss has strung together an impressive win streak. Good enough to abate those who may felt that they were going on a downward slide. But as evidenced by last night’s meeting this game meant something to both teams. Be it psychological or otherwise. Whoever held the upper hand could be viewed as the presumptive favorites now to win it all. A far reaching statement when one bears in mind an injury can all too quickly derail the aspirations of either team. As it is the Lakers were playing without center Andrew Bynum. He’s believe to be out of the Lakers’ lineup for at least two to three months minimum. His play of late had given everyone reason to believe that the team would be good enough to avenge last season’s series loss to the Celtics in the NBA Finals.
But last night Bynum was not on view but the skills of Pau Gasol were. He was the foil for Bryant as they withstood and then outplayed the Celtics in order to win the game in overtime 110-109. Bryant , Gasol and Lamar Odom led the Lakers in scoring by chipping in 26, 24 and 20 points respectively. And their bench which is viewed upon by many as having more depth than most. They also played their part in this victory. But one could surmise that had not Kevin Garnett of the Celtics let his emotions get the better of him by fouling out. We might well have been talking about this being a Celtics’ victory instead of the Lakers being triumphant. But ifs and buts can’t make up for an irrational moment by a player. The game is won by those who choose to play the game to it culmination. And that’s something that Garnett should’ve really thought about at the time.
Boston celebrates with his teammates after their victory over the Celtics in overtime on their homecourt in Boston, Mass,. ………….
His team looks to him for their emotional , vocal and physical leadership. But somehow he forgot about that and let them down. I know also that fans there in Boston are also questioning the officiating that took place last night. But in all reality when have we ever known there no to be any form of controversy when two highly competitive and physical teams meet in the NBA ? The officials themselves rather than adjudicating a game tend to interject themselves into the event far more than is really necessary. Perhaps this is merely a reflection of their persona as they surrounded by highly paid athletes that they may some feel in awe of. Or the very fact that they’re the ones who feel that they ought to be in charge and the center of attention at all times.
Byrant of the Lakers eagerly awaits the play of the Celitcs’ Paul Pierce whilst playing defense. …….
The game in the end may have met everyone’s expectation. But on the other it may well have not. On this all it merely proved was that t he Lakers were merely up to the task of beating the Celtics on their homecourt. It may well bode well for the future should they meet in the Finals. But that’d be predicated upon both teams making to their respective conference finals and winning through. But for now the Lakers’ fans can bask in the limelight and feel good. Just like the song written by Raphael Saadiq would suggest …..It Never Rains In Southern California .
pictures appears courtesy of nbae/getty images / Brian Babineau ………………