Friday, June 6, 2008

NBA FINALS: Lakeshow Suffers Heart-'Piercing' Loss IN Game 1

Norwalk, Conn.--
Thursday night. I’m at a bar in Norwalk that happens to be front-loaded with some of the village’s hottest young females, fresh off the boat from their various institutions. Intriguing.
School’s out like Alice Cooper. Now if school’s out, that could only mean that scumbags are in. They are in there like Joey Butifuco, with an unmatched hawk-like gaze at these females—nearly all of whom contain all the indispensible ingredients to make a man go Rasheed Wallace on himself at the conclusion of a beer-soaked haze. Hey, shit happens.
There was a lunch-line of these moral fiber-lacking fiends spotted at this particular bar on Thursday. Perusing the goods, still holding on, still attempting to stave off the fact that time has taken irreplaceable gifts from them that it doesn’t planning on returning by itself.
These cats are still coming to grips with the depressing fact that things will never be the same. Sobering thoughts like this may materialize in their heads, yet thoughts of this ilk fail to prevent these horndogs from upping their “creeper” image and attending the same venues as women half their age. Let’s not forget: These women wouldn’t touch you fat old basterds with their brand new Jetta!
Usually, this is more than I can muster, as I have a penchant for pasting my eyes on a cute young vixen revealing a thong of blue luster.
Not this time around. Not on an evening when I was so immersed into the throwback 2008 finals that I probably came off as a Concerta promoter.
My concentration level has never been too jaw-dropping and my sloth-like pace of consuming basic knowledge granted me some special privileges on my Standardized Tests (While everyone finished the test in three hours or less, I spent a couple days in the school cafeteria, ripping through Red Bulls and smoking cigars while taking mental breaks to read SLAM and surf the internet).
That is to say, it’s quite rare that an athletic event of any ilk will garner my undivided attention (my basketball career pinnacled in seventh grade, I didn’t have the attention span to remember ANY of the offensive plays after point) and throw me out of my tendency to evaluate piping-hot females that instigate drool from young cats like me.
The Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers kick-started something fans will foresee as an action-packed NBA finals (one that bounces last year’s valium, Nyquil-like snooze-show finals from our NBA-track memory banks) in epic fashion last night.
The image of a shambled, hobbled Paul Pierce being shepherded into the locker room by his teammates—all of whom collectively held their breath as the longest-tenured Celtic and alpha dog of the Cs potent, deep offense (his numbers against L.A. are bloated)—generated much anxiety throughout the pretty city that wakes up in the morning solely for the purpose of cheering on their hometown sports.
While these cats can’t pronounce effortless words like “car” or names like “Bob” for their lives, they’ll light you up with historic Celtic and Sawx knowledge at the top of the minute.
Thus, when Kendrick Perkins collided into Pierce at the 6:53 mark of the third quarter, these diehards (“cry” hards if you’re to muse over the years prior to their sudden emergence into baseball and football dominance) were about as susceptible to panic attacks as a 16-year-old girl minutes before her driver’s test.
Perkins’ size 18s landed on Pierce’s foot, awkwardly, while the two guys-in-green were attempting to alter the trajectory of a Kobe Bryant jumper.
Pierce would suffer a strained meniscus, the same ailment that Celtic fanatic Rob Dougle encountered as a result of trekking miles into the woods as part of his essential, workaday home route.
THE RETURN
Sure enough, however, Pierce would re-emerge from the locker room tunnel just moments later in what all these hollow-headed journalists are certain to pen as a “Willis Reed” like flash.
Eh, not quite. Nevertheless, Pierce made a valiant and swift return, assuring the Beantown faithful that the series was still just beginning to splash the shoreline.
Kobe recorded two of his team-high 24 points on an emphatic two-handed alley-oop via Derek Fisher, staking Los Angeles to a 69-68 edge with 3:03 remaining.
That’s when Pierce, he of the inimitable sling-shot, echoed Beantown’s bloodlust for their first NBA championship since 1986. Pierce took over, connecting on a pair of fireball treys that shifted the momentum-pendulum over to Beantown’s direction.
Pierce splashed a set three-pointer from the corner to provide Boston with a 72-71 advantage with 1:27 to play in the third.
The ensuing offensive play featured a carbon copy of Pierce’s last trifecta, as the career-long Celtic ratcheted up the Boston lead, 75-71.
The Celtics received a boost in the fourth quarter from their bench, a facet which skeptics say the Lakers are sorely lacking.
Sam Cassell, perhaps still heated about getting snubbed out of the main role in “Mars Attacks,” popped an open jumper off of a sweet feed from P.J. Brown, another seasoned vet proving he’s “still got it.”
With 8:48 remaining, Kevin Garnett drew a double team and kicked it out to an open James Posey on the perimeter. Posey dialed in from downtown, splashing a three that lifted Boston’s lead to 83-78.
Derek Fisher and Sasha Vujacic connected on back-to-back jumpers before Paul Pierce thwarted the mini-run with a turnaround jumper at 5:23. This made it 88-82, Boston’s favor.
The Lakeshow wouldn’t inch any closer. Garnett’s stick-back dunk with 1:32 left jacked the lead to eight with only a minute and a half remaining.
It was as inspiring and ambitious a performance the witnesses could have asked of the NBA’s poster for revitalized program.
Pierce has been with this organization through thick and thin. He was here from the days that Kenny Anderson operated the offense and Rodney “DeBo” Rodgers patrolled the wing, to last year’s freefall that had the Cs tanking and spanking, cohesively praying for the acquisition of then hotly-sought after prospects Greg Oden and Kevin Durant.
In 2002, Pierce and Antoine Walker shimmied their way into the Eastern Conference Finals, only to see Jason Kidd break ankles and rupture Tony Battie’s spleen with a heap of triple-doubles. To this day, JKidd remains the best player ever without a jump shot.
Pierce finished with 22 points on 7-of-10 (3-4 3FG) shooting from the field. Kobe’s quest towards matching Shaq and Tim Duncan as the only current NBA players with four pieces of glistening gold on their fingers began in tortoise-slow fashion.
While Kobe’s emblematic flashes of dominance were certainly on display at junctures, he proved to be containable. The unstoppable Bryant morphed into mortal on this cool June evening. For the first time in recent memory, he failed to obliterate anyone with his patented, manipulative, one-man wrecking crew, mano y mano moves in the second half. He didn’t hang 39 or shatter any aspirations of keeping tradition intact, as he did during his last go-around.
No.24 started off 1994 Finals John Starks-shaky, hitting just 2-of-8. The Celtics clamped down on Bryant in the fourth quarter, which has evolved into KB24’s hallmark eruption time, holding him to a meager four points and just one field goal. Bryant finished with 24 points on a trifling 9-of-26 shooting. He couldn’t seem to solve the puzzling Boston rims, as a number of his shots rimmed in-and-out.
In a matter of minutes, Pierce went from gimp to blimp, blitzing the Lakers down the stretch and soaring above everyone. It was only fitting that the team’s elder statesman (measuring in terms of Beantown years, that is) who developed into the face of the program after the overlooked draft pick evolved into one of the El’s premier, lethal scorers, would come through in crucial transitions.
Kevin Garnett and Jesus Shuttlesworth (basketball is like poetry-in-motion, right Spike?) were every ounce of their vintage selves in this one, dropping 24 and 22, respectively.
With Kobe caught in the green-and-white straightjacket, and the Lakeshow producing just two fast-break points due to the considerable neutralization, the Lakers will need to right the ship in order to score a Game 2 victory and even the series.