Poll Question: Assessing fans' anticipation of a Lakers-Celtics Finals matchup
While sitting at the press tables at Staples Center on Wednesday, I almost dozed off. I stopped entertaining myself with my repetitive tweets about how lucky Lamar Odom had been again in Game 2 of the Lakers' Western Conference finals matchup against Phoenix. I no longer laughed at Amare Stoudemire's bad luck and poor relationship with concepts such as aggressiveness, rotating on defense and acting like he cares. And I eventually became numb to Kobe Bryant's facilitating, Pau Gasol's inside presence and Ron Artest's surprisingly sharp shooting.
After a while, the Lakers cutting through Phoenix's defense as if the defending champs were a giant pair of scissors became so repetitive, it was as if I was counting sheep. Add the apathetic and lifeless Staples Center crowd that largely remained silent, asleep, disinterested or too occupied with tweeting about Stoudemire's awful defense, and nothing short of NyQuil could put me to sleep faster. But then the chants became louder and louder, as if it was my buzzing alarm clock. "We want Boston," the crowd chanted moments before the Lakers' 124-112 victory became official.
The Lakers' faithful echoed the same refrain moments before the team's 128-107 Game 1 victory Monday, and when a reporter informed Bryant about the chant, he said, "I have zero reaction to that." Well, here's my reaction to that: It can't come soon enough.I have no rooting interest for any team. I just root for stories. And the stories that arise from a Lakers-Celtics Finals matchup, with the rivalry's history and the Lakers wanting to redeem their 2008 Finals loss, speak for themselves. Though I still expect the Suns to take at least one game in this series, it's already definitive that the Lakers' balance has overwhelmed Phoenix's ineffective defense. And though the Orlando Magic and the Celtics still have games to play, only 13 teams have overcome a 2-0 deficit after losing the first two home games of a seven-game series.
That leads to the poll question: How much do you want to just fast-forward to the NBA Finals, presumably between the Lakers and Celtics? Do you relish the journey in seeing the Lakers for once feasting on playoff opponents? Or would you rather just skip this whole process and get to the matchup nearly every fan at Staples Center chanted for as Games 1 and 2 came to a close?
-- Mark Medina
Photo: Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce shoots around Orlando Magic forward Marcin Gortat during the second half of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals at Orlando's Amway Arena. The Celtics won, 92-88, Sunday. Then Boston also beat Orlando in Game 2 on Tuesday to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Credit: Rhona Wise / European Pressphoto Agency