Just as an aside, I wish the Magic hailed from the city of "Lando"
Because then you're looking at 4-7 game's worth of material involving my man below...
Lando Calrissian is awesome, and the simple omission of two letters would have opened up a new world of self amusement. Like Lando, the Magic defied the "Empire" (David Stern, the media, Nike's marketing machine), which resulted in a take down of the much ballyhooed Team LeBron, disappointment be damned. Billy Dee drove the ladies crazy, and my fiancee has a ginormous crush on Dwight Howard. Hell, you could even compare Orlando's sharpshooting to the marksmanship a gunslinger might enjoy using a... wait for it... Colt .45.
But they're the Orlando Magic, which basically leaves me with this bland pretty boy.
Meh. Dude's not worth my time. Thus, I'll stick with roundball talk.
A Finals matchup is now set in stone, the Lakers can relax in the city of the Angels while Dwight Howard and Co. ring hotels looking for the best rate. Does an extra game in L.A. equal a true "advantage" for the Lakers? Yes, in the sense that a 2-3-2 format offers a serious dime for the home squad. But in and of itself, it's hard to consider a date with the Magic anything "advantageous." Particularly when you analyze how the Magic took apart the Cavs (thoughts provided by Yahoo!'s Kelly Dwyer and Fox's Charley Rosen) and take into account the Lakers' 0-2 regular season clip against the Magic.
Granted, a trip down Memory Lane triggers recollections of All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson playing a role in those defeats, and Orlando is currently- although not "definitely"- deprived of his services. Pau Gasol is convincing folks that his game doesn't translate to whatever "soft" is in Spanish. And after watching the Lakers systematically take apart a talented Denver team, swells of purple and gold faith are growing strong. Even finger-to-the-wind media types feel a breeze blowing in Los Angeles' direction.
Not that everything is entirely rosy in the Laker Nation. In a bit of "deja vu" weird on a few levels- Kobe's past in Colorado, Kwame Brown's eventually dismissed sexual assault charges during the 2006 playoffs, the apparent "Brown" last name curse for Laker role players- a civil suit over an alleged sexual incident was filed against Shannon Brown. The accusations date back to when Brown played for Charlotte and the Cats were in Denver to play the Nuggets. According to Mark Bartelstein, Brown's agent, the matter was previously investigated by everyone from the Denver Police to prosecutors to a P.I. hired by Brown himself, with nothing emerging to incriminate the Lakers guard. Thus, the suit is being insinuated as a money grab.
It's always weird when stuff like this happens. You can't ignore it, but you also don't want to hype it. As BK and I reminded during Kwame's case, it's quite important to wait until more facts are presented before casting judgment. For now, it's not even clear what Brown is being accused of doing. At any rate, we'll let you know if more information emerges, and I imagine Shannon will work hard to keep this from becoming a distraction while on the court.
Finally, longtime readers may recall my displeasure at seeing Kobe bolt Phoenix's court in 2006 after the Game 7 beatdown without offering the Suns congratulatory wishes. It didn't mark the end of the world, but I also don't think it marked Kobe's finest hour. Call me corny, but I believe in sportsmanship.
Well, never let it be said that I play favorites. LeBron's behavior after last night's loss to the Magic was pretty weak, too. Being "King" means leadership by example, as well as class. Not much of either displayed by LBJ.