Let’s say I’m an ABC executive. I walk onto the 63rd floor of my office building on a rainy Friday morning. I reach deep inside myself and find the goodwill to utter a few shallow good mornings to the cubed peons that do all the work so I can drive a different colored Porsche every day of the week. I pass by my secretary’s desk, who I shamelessly hired over hundreds of qualified applicants. Sure, she can’t read and her favorite word is like, but I’m 70 and senile, this is as good as it gets for me.
Right before I open the door to my 2,000 square foot office, she pops a bubble and says, “Hey sir, umm, like, GM; and, like, here’s a list thingy that I was totally supposed to give you.” I grab the piece of paper and it says this:
“Viewer Discretion is advised: The following presentation of the NBA Finals contains strong language and obscene displays of graphic violence. Viewer discretion is advised.” Make sure that runs before all four games of the NBA Finals. You may also want to let our viewers know that no Orlando Magic were hurt during the filming of the Finals. Oh – and one last thing, pull the plug on season 63 of ‘The Bachelorette’; For god’s sake, it’s unbearable.
Let’s beam ourselves back to Earth (I apologize for the Star Trek reference). The Lakers one game series lead sure feels like a Mount Everest for the Magic to climb. And while the majority of the National media crowns the Lakers as champions (most notably Tony Kornheiser, who picked the Lakers to win in 3 games), let’s not discount how the Orlando Magic have recovered from adversity during this postseason.
In Round 1, they lost the first game after blowing a sizable fourth quarter lead against the Sixers. They responded by winning 4 of the next 5 games, including the close out game without Dwight Howard.
In the Conference Semifinals, Big Baby and the Celtics buried them at the buzzer to steal back home-court advantage in game 4. They responded by winning 2 of the next 3 games, including a game 7 blowout in the Boston Garden.
In the Conference Finals, Lebron James drained the biggest shot of his career at the buzzer to misleadingly suck the life out of the Orlando Magic. They immediately bounced back by winning the next 2 games, and ultimately the series in 6.
Nice job, Orlando. You deserve to be applauded. But now that you’re in the NBA Finals, here’s why none of those accomplishments are going to matter:
Kobe Bryant plays for the Lakers.
It wasn’t that Kobe had 40/8/8 in a 25-point route of the Magic; it was how he systematically went about his domination. It wasn’t that he personally outscored the Magic 18-15 in the 3rd quarter; it was the menacing look etched on his face as he buried tough shot after tough shot. It wasn’t that he posted his best NBA Finals performance in 27 Final’s games; it was the rigid mannerisms that have described him during these playoffs.
To be as repetitive and clichéd as possible, Kobe Bryant is on a mission. Would any of us even blink at a CNN headline saying he was from the future on an assignment to protect John Connor? If he ripped the skin off his arm in a press conference to reveal nothing but titanium alloy? If he got a cut in game 2 and bled oil all over the Staples Center floor? I wouldn’t. Right now, he is Jason Voorhees; and the Orlando Magic look an awful lot like the topless girl frolicking through the woods.
And let’s be honest, we all know how that scene ends.
Jason Riley is a columnist for the Lakers Nation. In addition to this column, he writes on an array of topics that you can check out by visiting J-Ri.com. You can email him by clicking here, look him up on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter for in-game coverage.