King takes G.O.A.T.
Lakerland has thrown the script out of late. And Angelinos are throwing rocks at the LeBronland throne. Even the ‘Just A Small Town Kid With Big City Dreams’ billboard near STAPLES in downtown L.A. has been taken down. Or at least paint at the mural. But this time with no social media outrage to that, but the man on the wall with his back against it instead. After the rise of purple reign last fall following the Lake Show’s new Prince in the King, they had the best Christmas ever. Even beating the champion Warriors under the tree without him.
But with the New Year came new problems. And after a groin injury to LeBron and time cut for a hurt Lonzo the Lakers well and truly took it in the balls. And then to kick them when they were down there was some guy called Anthony Davis. Almost free and more than willing, but one the Lakers were also willing to give up their whole young core and half their squad and lottery tickets for. And the New Orleans Pelicans said “nah”! Now tell me Magic what does that do to someone’s collective confidence? It parts benches like that hilarious Larry David inserted Photoshop that has us tripping like Shaq courtside in that ‘Curb’ episode. Although if you want to know the truth check Rajon Rondo’s real teammate Instagram post. Well now starring down the barrell of missing the playoffs, let alone the finals for the first time in a decade, having even a team-less Carmelo now passing up and looking at back-to-back series of limited minutes to close out the campaign, some Laker fans want to take LeBron out of the land like the Hollywood sign and send him back to Cleveland.
That’s a hell of a lot of pressure for one man to take. Even the King. And you could see it on the bench again. This time taken on his quarterback broad shoulders as he emotionally reached another milestone like Michael. In a bittersweet celebratory moment of emotive reflection, akin to brother Kobe sitting in the Sixers showers with a championship jacket and cap on. Starring into the distance, cradling Larry O’Brien thoughtfully with all the cares in the world’s shoulders. As ‘Bron took it all in with a towel in his face like when he ‘Casino’ talks to agents or his players postgame behind his jersey, all draped in purple and gold.
One that still read Lakers.
Say what you will but the King and all his men have still been serving up numbers (hello Brandon Ingram, future of the franchise. Kyle Kuzma, heart of the city and the Lonzo Angeles Lakers) this season. Its just the King needs help and the kids need more respect. And when that happens this raw but ready roster can find it’s identity like a logo. Time for President Johnson to clutch at Jerry West’s G.M. playbook. Still his spell cast for a crown was a master move like the one L.B.J. has been making all year whether ball rolls or deep threes, make or miss. And those signature dunks and chest thumps. He’s still one of the greatest and best right now. And forget the Twitter troll timelines that become white type noise in a refresh. The history books read different.
They are engraved in champion concrete. Like being the only player in history himself to be both top ten in both points and assists after passing point god Andre Miller last time he broke records. And after spending this season wilting numbers of Goliath Laker legends like the 100 strong Chamberlain, the King passed the greatest of all-time last game. 23 took over another 23 to stare down 24, as L.B.J. had a lucky 13 over M.J. wearing “thank you” Air Jordan III sneakers as he cemented this moment and milestone. That’s as many points as LeBron James needed to pass Michael Jordan for fourth place on the all-time leading scorers list. But he reversed and reflected all that with 31 to now stand at a grand total of 32,311. As now the only ones that stand in this Laker legends way on the historical numbers run is other former purple and gold greats. One over 23 in number 24, Kobe Bryant. The special deliveries of iconic Utah Jazz Mailman, Karl Malone. And of course the sky-hook heights of the number one top of them all, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
But the Lakers still caught an L that night against the Denver Nuggets. Not to mention a hilarious Alex Caruso voice over jibe on Twitter from The Ringer. So the King looking to be the lord of the rings again knows that even with playoff mode activated this all doesn’t mean as much as the ultimate W. There’s going to be another long list for James to climb to achieve. But he’s a seasoned vet when it comes to league ladders like that. He’s not got far to go. But it’s still a long road.
“Come on with it”!
The Warriors Came Out To Play This Series
Even without the fantasy Basketball of Kevin Durant in this series, the Golden State Warriors still brought out the brooms like ‘Fantasia’.
And swept out of Game 4 like Thanos click finger dust, the Portland Trailblazers may have only lost by a bucket (119-117)…and in overtime at that. But with all the Splash they had to contend with this series from brothers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, they were left dealing with more leaks and holes in all of their own ones like Mickey Mouse in said Disney epic.
This was meant to be the showdown between Dell Curry’s boys Steph and Seth which divided a household. And although the youngest gun stepped up to the plate, swung big in this carnival and knocked them down, big brother was always watching.
Steph Curry averaged over 36 points a game this series. Just read that again. 36 points. Right now we don’t need to talk about Kevin.
The Warriors are a dynasty for the ages even without their best player (although this writer thinks he wasn’t missing this entire series). The first team to make it to five straight finals since the Boston Celtics. The 1960’s Bill Russell Celtics. That’s King James crowning legendary. And Steph Curry with the shot and that facet of the game is just as iconic and dominant as a Bill block.
Give some credit to a blazing Portland side who never gave up despite the box score. They can hold their heads in the PDX. Even in their Moda Center home-stand City Of Roses end in RIP City. Their season eulogy should read as a celebration and commiseration, not a trolling condescension from critically entitled fans who have done nothing to determine the outcome of these games and could never make it this far in their wildest memes. They call themselves “influencers”? Well no one’s going to remember them in 50 years.
The NBA will remember one of their Top 100 greatest of all-time in a half century though. As after hitting the biggest buzzer beater in playoff history against Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, Damian Lillard played through the pain of separated ribs this series and still made the Basketball God’s look down from the hoop heavens with praise. Like New York singer St. Vincent tweeted, “Damian Lillard is my hero”. Even his backcourt brother of splash CJ McCollum in the only small man set up to rival Curry and Klay came out to play against the Warriors after midrange mining the Nuggets into submission in Denver just over a week ago.
But Curry’s red hot triple double, starter, mains and dessert dish of 37, 13 and 11, to go along with a playing not crying, Draymond Green’s day of 18, 14 and 11 assists also was just too much in the clutch. As Stephen and Dray became the first teammates in NBA history to have a triple double in the same playoff game. Forget how much this team can unbelievably keep winning, how does this ball manage to get shared this much?
Well that just may be the secret of success?
The real test is dubbed next however in the Warriors last season in Golden State before they move across that Golden bridge to the Silicon Valley of a digital age in San Francisco. They will play the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks (probably…Giannis…MVP. Sorry Toronto but come on!) and Raptors series. But by then they should have some guy called Kevin back.
I mean come on. This has been getting crazy. This is just out of hand like said ball in Splash City.
Now Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics’ record of eight straight finals and wins doesn’t look far out of reach for Steph Curry and the player and team with the biggest range in the association over the gate of the Pacific.
Welcome to the Toronto Raptors’ Jurassic Park
“In Jurassic Park, Raptor fans wait until after dark. Even if the cold might eat them!”
Fans find a way.
An ace serve or two away from being as legendary as Wimbledon’s ‘Murray Mound’ or ‘Henman Hill’ outside the Scotiabank Arena, the Toronto Raptors Maple Leaf Square’s “Jurassic Park” may just be the ticket for this sold out crowd.
Raptor Klaw, Kawhi Leonard ruled the earth last night. He and the T-Dot at the final tick beat the Sixers in The Six, as his shot bobbled like a beach ball on the surface of a swimming pool before making the biggest splash of these postseason playoffs. Taking longer to fall than Leonardo DiCaprio’s spinning top in ‘Inception’. But this was no dream.
And if you thought the Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto erupted last night, then outside in Maple Leaf Square it was like the volcanoes that killed the dinosaurs after that big ball dropped. An Armageddon even Bruce Willis couldn’t save like he wish he could his career.
Welcome to Jurassic World.
With all due respect to the Linsanity of Jeremy Lin, or pick your poison whoever is your flash card pick of the bench mob pack, but the Jurassic Park crowd fenced in outside of Scotia is the teams spiritual sixth man, spark plug. As electric as the paddock like perimeter fence surrounding them feels with this buzz over basketball (and national sport hockey come Leaf picking season), this crowd can’t be contained.
Forget rain or shine. You see the slickers. These faithful fans will pitch a spot waiting for game time like the ball to drop in Times Square for New Year in New York, sleeping bag lining up all day in their hordes huddled for warmth. These beautiful fans will brave the harshest, most frigid temperatures to be the coldest fans in the game in more ways than one. Part of the ‘We The North’ community in the 6 that the Basketball God’s look down on with pride, whilst other armchair fans watch this game for the throne from home. Or leave early like those suit and tie corporate seats trying to catch that last red eye Matt Bonner home.
Can you imagine of they called game early before Kawhi last night?
I could imagine Drake taking in the CN Tower looking up views of the Jurassic though, like it was all the basketball God’s plan.
Well those in the park for recreation stayed until the beautiful end to a game Butler almost delivered bitter. And you could could phantom cam see every emotion in slow motion last night as Leonard’s buzzer beating ball toyed with the rim like three dots on messenger, or Damien Lillard even further downtown in Oklahoma City.
This is the spirit of the stadium and the soul of the squad, expanding the capacity arena and the Canadian ballclubs worldwide fanbase watching on their own Jumbotrons.
And the Toronto Raptors are going to need all the north they can get if they’re going to stop the Bucks in Milwaukee.
But this club has the claws to do it. And if you don’t think they can win in Wisconsin on their own road to being the first franchise outside of the United States to be NBA finalists and who knows what next against the Warriors(?), then just watch this Canadian cornerstone from the Jurassic era.
Extinct in six? Nah! Get ready to hear the North roar.