I’ve often griped about the demise of the professional boxing’s heavyweight division. It’s a sport, on which many of us were raised, that is now virtually non-existent. After watching the slugfest that has taken place the first few games of these NBA Finals, I’ve recently come to another conclusion. Who needs boxing? The heavyweights are alive and well… in basketball.
We might as well have Michael Buffer perform the opening announcements…. “In this corner, wearing gold trunks with purple trim, the defending national champion, Los Aaaaaaaaaaang-eles Laaaaaaaaa-kers. And in this corner, in green trunks with white trim, …. Seventeen-time NBA Champion, Bos-tooooooooooon Ceeeeeeeeeel-tics Let’s get ready to driiiiiiiiiiii-ble!!!!”
Sports fans, rejoice! We are smack dab in the middle of a truly, delectable series that, even after four games played, still has the experts guessing.
Think about it. At this point, would any outcome in this series surprise you? Celtics in six? Lakers in seven? Despite having two home games remaining, it’s far-fetched to say the Lakers have any sort of advantage.
Every game in this series has been hard fought; every possession contested. We’ve seen pulverizing offense and suffocating defense. Derek Fisher running lay-up, Paul Pierce three-pointer, Kobe Bryant pump-fake, Kevin Garnett jump shot. Body blow after body blow. Doesn’t that sound like a heavyweight fight to you?
The last fifteen minutes of Game Three was nirvana to the basketball purist, a cerebral chess match between Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers, with neither team refusing to back down. Game Four was just as frenetic.
The final game scores in this series might not reflect closeness but the overall point differential after four games was only four points. After five games, it’s down to two. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Ali-Holmes.
In the NBA, the better team always win a seven-game series. Fluke teams don’t win NBA championships. In the NFL, a team can get hot in the playoffs and make a run at the Super Bowl. In the NHL, a team can ride a hot goalie all the way to the Stanley Cup. But in the NBA Finals, whether evenly matched between Eastern and Western Conferences, we always get two powerhouses duking it out. This year is no exception. With a minimum of five Hall of Famers on the floor, these Finals comes awfully close to rivaling Lakers-Celtics series of old. Bird, McHale, Magic, Kareem, Parish, Johnson, Scott, Worthy. Any basketball fan’s wet dream.
Once again, the better team will ultimately win this Finals. Who that is though, is still anyone’s guess.
So until the heavyweight division can get its ducks in a row (I’m not holding my breath), at least we have the NBA Finals to get us by. I’ll be watching. You should too.