MVP TURNS MFP
By Homer D. Sayson
10 Jun 2008
CHICAGO -- After dropping Game 1 of this year's NBA Finals last Sunday night, the L.A. Lakers also lost Game 2 to the Boston Celtics yesterday, 108-102.
Kobe Bryant is currently the best player in the planet, but down 0-2 in this best-of-7 NBA Finals series, his team's deficit is serious as a heart attack.
Kobe was supposed to deliver a championship speech in a couple weeks, but maybe he should start drafting a eulogy. Because right now, the Lakers are dead as Wilt Chamberlain.
I picked the Lakers to win this title showdown in six games. Instead of insisting that I'm NBA smart, maybe I should just get off of this prediction business.
By golly, these Celtics are good. Really, really good.
They turned Kobe from MVP to MFP, Most Frustrated Player.
Visibly unhappy, Kobe scolded his teammates during Game 2's post-game press conference. He blurted enough profanity to fill a rap song. I'm tempted to print what he uttered, but my column is rated PG and I don't want to scare the women and children.
Anyway, Kobe should be mad at the Celtics. They're the ones who put the handcuffs on him.
Yes, Kobe had 30 in Game 2, but the Celtics made him work doggedly hard for every point. All his shots were contested by either a body check or a hand in the face. He often got the ball late in the shot clock, and everytime he tried to flirt going inside the paint, he was swarmed by a hive of Celtic defenders.
In other words, Kobe was reduced into a mere jump shooter, who made only 11 of his 23 field goals. He was 1-of-3 from 3-point range and went to the free throw line just seven times.
The Lakers coud take solace in the fact that Games 3, 4 and 5 will be played this week at the Staples Center. But homecourt will not be an advantage unless the Lakers do the following:
1) Free Kobe -- The Lakers need to set stronger picks and space the floor better so that their superstar captain would have more room to manuever against a hound of chasing Celtics
2) Shoot better -- The Lakers made only 32-of-77 (41.6 percent) from the field in Game 1. They were a respectable 41-of-83 (49.4 percent) in Game 2, but that clip is deceiving because they were horrendous for three quarters and trailed by 24 in the fourth.
3) Play solid defense -- The Lakers need to shut down the lane to prevent easy Celtic baskets. And they need to keep the Celtics from shooting too many free throws.
I haven't given up on the Lakers yet, but it will take a lot of Zen and Jedi stuff for coach Phil Jackson to rescue his sinking ship.
SPORTS TALK ON DYHP. When fellow sportswriter Salven Lagumbay invited me to guest his radio sports talk show at dyHP last Sunday night, I jumped at the opportunity.
My career in journalism, as if you care, began with radio, where I served as basketball analyst for dyMF Bombo Radyo in the 90s. So it felt wonderful to return to my roots, so to speak, even for just some 55 minutes.
An added bonus was the fact that Salven was joined in the program by his eleoquent co-anchor, my college pal Edward Ligas, who can talk sense about sports and anything under the sun.
In the course of my segment, Salven and Edward received a plethora of text questions, which testified to the far and wide reach of station dyHP. It was amazing to realize how many NBA and boxing fans are out there in the airwaves.
After the NBA Finals, my focus will shift on Manny Pacquiao and his upcoming tussle with David Diaz. And that means I could be back on-air with Salven and Edward very soon.
So set your dial on dyHP between 6:30 to 7:30 pm Sundays. And don't be shy, text or call-in your questions. We'll be happy to answer them.
And as a shameless plug, don't forget to check out the Philippine daily Inquirer, where I have been writing stories for in these NBA Finals.
Top photo: Philboxing NBA columnist Homer D. Sayson with Kobe Bryant, the MVP turned MFP.
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