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The Lakers will play the Spurs in game five of the NBA Western Conference Finals at Staples Center on Thursday May 29, but their coronation as the best in the west was already confirmed with their thumping of the defending champions in San Antonio on Tuesday.
It’s a scene that we have all witnessed played out before us throughout the years when one champion manages to display glimpses of what it once was and then suddenly it all melts away in a twinkling of an eye.
For the Tim Duncan, Tony Parker-led Spurs, their reign as three and a half time NBA champion is over. For Robert Horry, Mr. Rent A Shot, it’s all over. For Brent Barry, it’s so long, you can join your brother in the broadcast booth. For Manu Ginobili, shave your head, you can’t hide from the burning bald spot-it’s over!
Perhaps the die hard Spurs fans held onto to a last flicker of hope when Barry shot that three point shot as the clock expired in game four, but that was just as an ultimate teaser.
To keep it 100, the Spurs were very fortunate to win the series against the younger Hornets, but now they are being exposed for what they really are-an aging basketball team that has managed to get by on the ineptness of their opposition on many occasions.
No, thank goodness it’s over!
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich trying to convince his team that they were good enough to win game four, sounded instead like Bill Clinton trying to convince his wife Hillary in her bid for the Democratic nomination.
“We’ve been going back and forth all night and now it’s time we get the lead and keep it,” Popovich said on Tuesday night. His players, with they eyes glassy, legs lumbering and hearts hallow were not buying it.
Too much Lamar Odom, way too much Kobe Bryant blowing by Bruce Bowen and dunking on the entire team. Too much Derek Fisher and too much Pau Gasol. Too much Luke Walton. Too much youth and too much depth on that Lakers bench which has become an asset.
The Lakers can hang with the Spurs without Bryant, but with him it’s just no contest, one must wonder now how the Spurs managed to win game three to begin it. In that game they shot 53 percent from three-point line, a trend you knew would not continue. Bottom line, the Spurs were not that good and the Lakers were not that bad in game three.
Lakers fans were confident all along, explaining to me that they just wanted to stretch it out for TV for a few days. I laughed at them, but now it would only be right if they laughed at me now.
Certified Lakers haters, eat your hearts out. This team is going to the NBA Finals and don’t be surprised if they win the darn thing.
The only question at this point is who will be next. The Celtics, the match-up the nation and NBA wants, or the Pistons, a more athletic bunch of Spurs look-a-likes.
The Lakers overcame a 20 point deficit to win game one, blew the heels off the Spurs in game two 101-71 and then won 93-91 to seal their fate once and for all.
I’m saying it, I’m writing it and you’re reading it. It’s Over! Who’s Next?