Read Everything That Dunks Must Converge

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NBA Finals Recap: Jumping to Conclusions

June 20, 2010

I want to start off with a sincere apology for the extensive delay of my recap for the NBA finals; however, this delay did not come without reason and was partially done for the sake of sanity or at least the illusion of sanity.  Had I written this on Thursday, or even yesterday, I would have come off as a psycho, drunk on the successes of men I don't know and will never meet. Ever since the Lakers notched their second straight championship I could barely contain myself from grinning for more than a minute at a time. Now that my excitement has waned and I have regained my ability to withhold from smiling like a jackass, it's time for me to expound on an ugly game seven.


There were three storylines that I believe deserve expoundsion (I guess I'm still a little off my rocker, as I'm starting to make up words). It begins with a statement made by ESPN announcer and former NBA PG Mark Jackson, in game seven, who said "Pau finally proved he could play with the best in the league." I'll concede that Pau was not ready in 2008 for the intensity and unrelenting play of Kevin Garnett, his play deservedly attached words to him like soft and scared.  But it's what we should have expected.  He had never been past the first round and was just months into learning the triangle. More importantly, since that series was played, the Lakers have yet to lose a series. Pau didn't need to win the Finals this year to prove his toughness.  It helps sure, but he already proved that he can play with any big man in the league. And if three straight finals appearances, back-to-back titles, and the best offensive game of any power forward or center in the game doesn't prove it, I don't know what will.

The second storyline that jumped out at me was the notion that Ron Artest deserved MVP consideration for his play in game seven. What these people fail to realize is that one great game does not make for a great series. Ron played fantastic defense throughout, shutting down Paul Pierce for much of the series. He also was able to keep the Lakers in the game almost singlehandedly with timely steals and huge threes. But before game seven his offense was MIA, lost somewhere between his psychiatrist's office and the studio. He stepped up when it mattered most, yet, had it happened earlier, game seven might not have been necessary. If a big game made for a great series, then names like Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Reggie Miller, and John Starks wouldn't be synonymous with Finals failure. Oh and Ray Allen would most certainly be the Finals MVP.

The final storyline that jumped out at me as ridiculous was the fact that Kobe, with his fifth NBA championship and second Finals MVP, legitimized his career as one of the best of all-time. This comes from the fact that Kobe played with Shaq for three of his titles, and the belief that Kobe wouldn't have any without him. Kobe and Shaq were fantastic together and it's a shame we didn't get a longer run from the two, but there hasn't been a player that won an NBA Finals on his own. The Admiral needed Timmy, Timmy needed Manu and Tony, Michael needed Scotty and Rodman, Kareem needed Magic and James, Russell needed Cousy, Bird needed DJ and McHale, Hakeem needed Clyde. It is a stale storyline that should have been killed last year and in my opinion never should have even started. Shaq needed Kobe as much as Kobe needed Shaq, Shaq also needed DWade. They weren't the first duo that needed one another to win the Finals, and they won't be the last.

In summation, I want to reiterate what we've learned. Pau isn't soft but merely an artist of the paint, playing a different style that forces closer inspection for true appreciation. Kobe won't have to prove anything to anyone again. Well, at least until next year when they continue the MJ comparisons and exclaim he needs a sixth or seven to even be in the same city, let alone block of the discussion. Finally, Ron may not have been the MVP but with this postgame interview he proved that he is most definitely the MAP (The A stands for awesome).

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