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OVER AND OUT: No matter what happens in Game 4 or potentially Sunday for Game 5, some feel that the Lakers can start making parade plans after this weekend.Â No matters what happens in Orlando this series is over
[Editors Note: this article was written on Monday June 8 before the Lakers even left for the middle leg of the NBA Finals.]
During game two of the NBA Finals the Lakers passed out those dreaded car flags to their fans and when the team returns from Orlando they can attach them to their cars windows and drive right downtown for the championship parade next week.
Lakers star Kobe Brant and head coach Phil Jackson have said all of the politically correct things at post games news conferences, but deep down inside they are just hiding the inevitable that this series was pretty much done after game one when the Lakers polished the Magic off by 25.
Bryant blazed the Magic for 40 in that one and although he had 29 points in game two, his seven turnovers nearly cost the Lakers in game two.
If the MVP voting was honest then Lamar Odom would be running just behind Bryant for The Finals award.
While Bryant was a one man show in game one, Odom was flawless in game two, connecting on eight of nine shots for 19 points and collected eight rebounds to boot. Odom had a double-double in game one with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Clearly the Lakers don't win game two without Odom or game one without Bryant, and this is a one-two knockout punch the Lakers have been waiting for a long time.
So, as the Lakers boarded a flight for Orlando on Monday for game three, I had already made up my mind- that this series is over!
San Van Gundy out coached Jackson in game two, but nothing that he did could prevent the Lakers from winning. He credited his players, but it was his players who let him down. Courtney Lee, the promising rookie blowing the point blank mid ranger that could have put the Magic ahead in the final seconds and then just ghastly blowing a lay-up as time expired that would have given the Magic a wand to lift their spirits-up.
Jackson described the first two games like a boxing match saying that the teams were still feeling each other out.
What he should have said was that Orlando got knocked down three times in the first and then suffered a 10 count in the second, something that no fighter could recover from.
Van Gundy will need to send his players to see a psychologist to figure out what happened to them and by that time the smelling salt will be ordered.
Superman will be flat on his back, Rafer Alston will vent about how his minutes taken by the ineffective Jameer Nelson, and Shaq will say I told you so about Van Gundy.
Lakers fan will not give a hoot what anyone says, because even though I've said publicly that the Lakers would not win another NBA title in the next five years, they proved me wrong and in fact appear on the threshold of being the dominant team in the league again.
GM Mitch Kupchak will be branded as a genius for his choice of Andrew Bynum in the draft and trade for Odom in the Shaq deal and Trevor Ariza from the Magic and Jackson will takes his place as the greatest coach in NBA history with 10 titles. Bryant will be named MVP, Odom will take a pay cut to remain with the team and Ariza will settle for a deal for about $6.5 million per and a hefty signing bonus.
At the victory parade on Chick Hearn Court, Bryant will finally exhale. He will smile and embrace his teammate and give them all the credit for winning his first title without O'Neal.
Jackson will declare that he's return for another title run, especially since there is not a candidate to replace him.
The basketball world will come to order again and the count down to the next NBA Finals will begin.