Wednesday, June 3, 2009
RTS NBA Finals Preview
I had intended to write a pretty thorough NBA Finals preview. Then Bill Simmons chimed in today with his sprawling, epic preview, and pretty much covered everything I was going to say.
So instead, here are my quick thoughts going into the series:
-Shaq must be hating this. Either the Lakers win and Kobe cements his legacy as a champion without him, or Orlando wins and Dwight Howard wins a title while stealing his act in his town. It must be like choosing between herpes and gonorrhea, which, as an NBA player, he's likely had to do.
-Jameer Nelson says he's coming back but Rafer Alston has led them to the Finals. How many minutes does Nelson get? Will Alston pretend he's happy for him? Will they get into a fistfight on the bench?
-I was so sure that Orlando wouldn't make the Finals, that in my Drive to the Finals entry I've already used up Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, Rafer Alston, Mickael Pietrus, Courtney Lee and JJ Redick. In case you're wondering, Redick got me a nice zero. On the plus side, I did save Tony Battie, so I still have a shot.
-How long can Michael Cera still play the awkward character? He's got less range than Darko Milicic.
-Why are people still making the Stan Van Gundy-Ron Jeremy comparison? Am I the only one sick of it? Those jokes were old 3 years ago.
-Speaking of old jokes, I was listening to a morning radio show yesterday, and the hosts got a call from someone named Luke. This led to 5 minutes of Luke Skywalker references. It was horrible. These guys are on the air, but there's no room for Adam Carolla? Life isn't fair sometimes.
-Staying on the topic of old jokes, a radio host on another station this afternoon mentioned he just discovered Patton Oswalt, and played portions of his KFC Famous Bowl routine. Welcome to 2006, champ.
-Getting back to basketball, Rashard Lewis has to be praying he seems Lamar Odom guarding him instead of Trevor Ariza. Ariza can wreak havoc with him on the perimeter, and Lewis doesn't have what it takes to counteract sustained challenges. But if Odom is guarding him, I can see them making one of those agreements two fat guys make in rec league basketball, where they agree to go easy on one another so as not to have to overexert themselves. And I've been that fat guy.
-I think Mickael Pietrus has the stones to give Kobe trouble. Not to say he's going to shut him down, but he's going to make him work his ass off. And really, that's all you can ask.
-Andrew Bynum is likely to pick up 3 fouls in 13 seconds on Dwight Howard, leaving Pau Gasol to deal with him. I'm a certified a-Pau-logist, think he got a bad rap in Memphis, and I consider him a legit All-Star.
That said, Dwight Howard will destroy him. Could we see extended DJ Mbenga minutes? It's certainly possible.
-This seems like a good time to mention that the starting point guards in the NBA Finals are Derek Fisher and Rafer Alston. Just sayin'.
-OK, prediction time. I actually think this is going to be a very close, interesting series, and ultimately coaching will play a big role. Stan Van Gundy is willing to abandon a game plan to make changes on the fly as necessary, where most NBA coaches will stick with their pre-game strategy regardless of what's happening because they want to prove how smart they are.
I like Stan Van Gundy, I love Dwight Howard, and I can deal with their three-point shooters.
Orlando in 7.