As a Laker fan, watching Shaq head to the NBA Finals is like breaking up with a girl and then getting an invitation to her wedding to a millionaire...while you are living in your mom's basement eating Hot Pockets.
Still, the Lakers were right in dealing away Shaq.
However, I will give Shaq and the Miami Heat their props. Shaq did what he always says he will do....basically turn it on when it counts. Shaq was in his prime during this series...21.7 pts, 10.5 rbs, 2.3 blks, and 65% shooting....in just over 34 minutes per game. Not too shabby.
What amazed me in this series is seeing those "other guys" play so well. In this clincher, it was White Chocolate....Jason Williams...who did the deed. He hit his first 10 shots and became the third wheel to help vault them into the Finals.
And let me throw some dirt on the Detroit Pistons....who tanked about as bad as you can. Wha' Happened!?!?! This was a team that we were kicking around could win 70 games this season. This was a team that was Team Destiny. This was a dynasty in the making.
It all fell apart. Why?
Their defense, which is their staple, completely vanished. It was never more evident than in Game 4 when they were called for a lot of reach-in fouls. Those kind of fouls signal bad defense. Good defense is played with your feet....moving your body. Reaching in is lazy. That isn't Pistons ball.
Their offense, which was such a refreshing addition this year, completely tanked. When watching this team....you had no idea how they could possibly score. None. Rasheed Wallace disappeared [his 10.5 ppg average was classic] and he sucked ever since he opened his mouth with his Guaran-Sheed against the Cavs. They lost 6 of 10 games after he made that promise.
Their coach couldn't make adjustments. I fault Flip for most of this. He looked like a dog trying to hope someone drops some scraps off the table. He had no answers. Complain about Larry Brown all you want [and I can] but he at least can make some in-game and in-series adjustments. Flip can't.
It's fitting that the Pistons were wearing their alternate, and ugly, red jerseys in this game. This wasn't the Pistons team we knew.
Also, I want all those people who write and call in about how TEAM BASKETBALL wins. Please, enlighten me. Sure, it does win....as evident by the Spurs and Pistons and Gators and other titles. But those big talented teams can win at times too. Remember, this Miami team was at each other's throats during the Chicago series. THE FREAKIN' BULLS! This was a team that had so much horrible chemistry during the year....a team full of role guys who's heads were bigger than their resumes. Yet, under Riley, they came together in a relatively small amount of time and are now in the Finals. Reminds me of a certain UNC Tar Heels team of a few years ago. Or the 1999-2004 Lakers. Yeah, those not-so-nice teams can win, too.
Anyways, it should be implied that I will be rooting for either the Suns or Mavericks in the Finals. But, it should be fun crowning a brand new champion, either way.
We could see Shaq holding up another trophy. We could see Nash licking his fingers and holding the trophy. Or the one I WANT TO SEE...David Stern handing the trophy over to Mark Cuban. Shades of Pete Rozelle-Al Davis in the Super Bowl.