Thursday, May 3, 2007

Bye Bye, Lakers...

Back on January 17th, when the Los Angeles Lakers were riding high with a 26-13 record after defeating the San Antonio Spurs on their home court 100-96, I really felt like my hometown team had a chance to make a serious playoff run and even contend for the NBA championship this year. Injuries and some inconsistent play turned the contender Lakers into pretenders... last night's 119-110 loss to the Phoenix Suns marked the end of a tumultous season in which they actually ended up losing (including the 4-1 loss in the playoffs) one more game than they won.

What will I take with me from the 2006-2007 season? Well, the first thing has to be the amazing play of forward and All-Star Game MVP, Kobe Bryant. That tremendous run of 4 consecutive 50+ point efforts from March 16 through March 23rd, including a 65 point game against the Portland Trailblazers and a 60 point effort against the Memphis Grizzlies, was truly inspiring... the only other thing that touched those two performances this year was another Laker game where it was not Kobe, but rather his opponent Gilbert Arenas on the Washington Wizards who stole the show. Kobe put up a 45 spot in the 147-141 OT loss to the Wizards, but Arenas threw up 60 - more points than anyone has scored against the Lakers in any game in my lifetime!

The playoffs are now rounding into form... three first round series are still to be decided... the most surprising one to this point is still the Dallas/Golden State series, which the Warriors are leading three games to two... the Mavericks had the season's best record and barely staved off elimination as Dirk Nowitski scored 12 points in a 15-0 Mavericks run in the closing three minutes to help erase a nine point deficit... The Mavericks and Warriors play again tonight as the Mavericks look to even the series.

The Houston Rockets look to close out the Utah Jazz tonight in Salt Lake City, while tomorrow night the New Jersey Nets look to end their series with the Toronto Raptors...


Before I end this, I have to give some kudos to NASCAR for banning 14 fans for life from the Talladega Raceway. The 14 banned fans threw beer cans at Jeff Gordon's car after he won the Aaron's 499 race this past weekend at the racetrack. A similar thing happened at Talladega after Gordon won the 2004 race there, but no action was taken. Hopefully, this will send a message to the fans of NASCAR that such disgraceful and disrespectful behavior will not be tolerated. Jeff Gordon is a class act, and a guy who drives with integrity and a fierce determination to win. Thanks again to NASCAR for taking this action.

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