6.19.2008

"You Can't do Jack without Shaq"

Notable and Quotable

Desire trumps flash by 39

There hasn’t been domination like this since the Christians vs. the lions.

The Celtics led by four points after one quarter, 23 after two, 29 after three and, even though the final margin rested at 39, it felt like the lead was still going up even after the final buzzer sounded, sort of like how coins keep spitting out of the slot machine for a couple minutes after somebody hits the jackpot.

There was Kobe Bryant missing fadeaways, Pau Gasol bringing the ball below his waist and getting it stripped by Rajon Rondo time after time, Vlad Rad bricking good looks, Odom coming up empty from the free throw line, and we haven’t even talked about their defense. I think Ray Allen is still open in the corner somewhere.

Scanning the boxscore and trying to find something positive in the Lakers’ column (like Lamar Odom’s double-double) is like looking at Spicoli’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High report card, seeing that he got a D in Home Ec. and thinking, “Hey, at least it's not a F.”

The Lakers are now 14-15 in the NBA Finals, 2-9 against ths Celtics. To overtake the Celtics, the Lakers would have to win four more rings before the Celtics won one.

In this newspaper before the series, reporter Mark Murphy called the coaching matchup even, and he was ridiculed. As it turned out, Murphy was wrong. Rivers vs. Phil Jackson wasn’t even. It wasn’t even close. The Zen Master may have done something right in this series. We just can’t think of anything off-hand.

There really is no other way to describe the Lakers performance in Game 6 other than to say it was pathetic, Gail Goodrich said. It was a complete embarrassment to go into a game of that magnitude and not compete. There is absolutely no excuse for that, and it legitimately calls into question the character of some of their players.

It's funny sometimes how things come full circle, Goodrich continued. I was talking to some former Celtics back in Boston and we couldn't get over how similar this team is to the great Celtics' teams of the 1960s. Back then, the Celtics were built on defense, quickness and ball movement. In other words, exactly the same things this club is built on. For an old-timer like me there is something refreshing in that - 40-some-odd years later it's the same exact formula.

Lamar Odom will be in the last year of a contract that pays him $14.1 million next season and is essentially a more palatable version of Kwame Brown, an expiring contract who can actually catch an entry pass and fill a stat sheet, though not always consistently.

One Boston fan held a sign that read, ``Kobe You Can't Do Jack Without Shaq,'' a painful reminder that Shaquille O'Neal earned a fourth NBA title without him, while Kobe was left still searching for his next without Shaq.

Maybe the Lakers should have quit this rivalry while they were ahead. After a 21-year break to enjoy their 1987 Finals victory that followed their 1985 breakthrough -- after having lost the first eight -- the Lakers saw the Celtics turn the hands of time all the way back to the '60s when Boston ruled everyone, especially them. The only thing missing was the cigar smoke but the Lakers should be able to remember this one without it.

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