The defending NBA champions were dethroned last night by the Los Angeles Lakers, who were tabbed by this corner on Dec 25/07 as the “Sleeper Pick” to win the title this season.
In turn, earlier this morning, the following is what yours truly wrote on another blog, 20 second time-out … which, btw, is highly recommended reading for those in search of insight into how the NBA game actually works …
On December 25, 2007 I identified this year’s Lakers team as my “Sleeper Pick” to WIN THE NBA CHAMPIONSHIP THIS SEASON, when LA was still in arears of Phoenix in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference and BEFORE they acquired Pau Gasol … THAT’S HOW GOOD I knew these Lakers were this season.
The only team in the West that could have beaten them this year was the Spurs, if San Antonio was completely healthy, which was clearly not the case given the injury to Manu Ginobili (their most dynamic scorer).
Whichever one of Boston or Detroit comes out of the Eastern Conference is going to have its hands full with this Lakers team in the NBA Finals as, right now, this squad is very, very good.
However, of even more interest to me (and, possibly, other astute NBA historians), at the moment, is where their team is going to go NEXT SEASON … when they fully re-integrate ANDREW BYNUM + TREVOR ARIZA into their line-up.
From my perspective, others would do well to carve in stone the forecast I made earlier this spring [’08] that says,
“The 2008-2009 LA LAKERS WILL WIN 70+ games enroute to capturing another of what will eventually be several more NBA championships … if their team remains relatively injury-free.”
What Phil Jackson & Co. have constructed in LA, right now, is a team that will one day go down in NBA history beside the Chicago Bulls (of Michael Jordan) and the old Boston Celtics (of Bill Russell) as arguably the greatest of all-time.
One of the differences between me and other NBA observers is that frequently I can tell you in advance what is going to happen, with a high degree of accuracy, before it does NOT just after-the-fact.
Enjoy the moment for what it is …
“Life is fast and things happen quickly.” – Derek Fisher
May 19, 2008 … Charles Barkley actually had it right, but was just afraid to step that far out on a limb, in advance, vs Chris Webber & Co.
Fortunately, this corner has no such trepidation.
As was said earlier this week, in this space … it will take a special team to eliminate this group of San Antonio Spurs from the title hunt.
This Lakers’ squad is now that team.
Kudos to Air Force One, the Big Fundamental, TP, GINOBILI!, etc. … the better team won this Western Conference Final (watch ’til the end of the vid-clip).
Now … just as it was told to you, in advance, earlier this season, on Feb 9, 2008, what would eventually happen in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference …
And so It Begins, again … as Phil Jackson now heads toward what will eventually be his (legendary) 10th NBA Championship, as an NBA head coach.
The King is dead. Long live the King.