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NBA Finals By the Numbers

2008 is a dream match-up for any NBA fan over the age of 30.

Why? Because it's showtime again. Coast to coast baby! Tough Celtic defense versus the fabled triangle offense.

Pete Vecsey of the NY Post has been quoted (on a Celtics blog) saying, 
"This should be a layup drill for the Celtics after being defended by the Pistons." 
I doubt it will be a lay-up drill for many reasons, the least of which is that LA
is not a bad defensive team (and that Vescey is often wrong).

Let's run the numbers on the series...


That's the Celtics over the Lakers in NBA Finals match-ups since their first meeting in 1959 
(when Boston swept the Minnesota Lakers).

10-0. That's the championship ring count of the two head coaches. 

LA coach Phil Jackson owns one ring as a player and nine as a coach. 
He's been here before and he knows how to win.

On the other side, Doc Rivers was Coach of the Year in 2000, but had never won a playoff series
until this year. Hopeful Celts fans read that part again: Rivers had never won a playoff series until 
this year. His teams have never made it out of the first round!

This is the stat that should worry Boston-ites more than any other-- Doc Rivers has ten fingers
and no rings, but Zen-master Jackson has one for every finger.

21 years. That's how long it's been since the two teams have met in the NBA Finals.

This stat has the NBA and television broadcasters salivating and scripting drama: 
the thought of a Kobe versus Kevin duel. 

Everyone knows Kevin and Kobe will not guard each other (fortunately for Kobe), but many
have wondered why '04 MVP Kevin Garnett did not place higher in the MVP totals after taking 
Boston from division cellar dwellers to Eastern conference champs. (He finished

42 wins. That's how many Boston added to it's win column from the previous season. 

They don't call KG the "Big Ticket" for nothing. Boston's off-season maneuvering 
(mostly Ray Allen and KG) created the biggest single-season turn-around in NBA history.

2-0. That's the regular season record the Celtics had over the Lakers this year.

Okay, this counts for nothing especially since LA meanwhile has added Pau Gasol and Boston 
added Sam "Melonhead" Cassell. Gasol is solid and in his prime but Cassell will probably consider 
retiring by Game Two. (For that matter, so will PJ Brown and Doc Rivers.)

4-2. That's my prediction for the NBA Finals this year. 

Sorry Shamrock fans, but your storied season and glory days are numbered. 
The Truth and the Big Ticket will have to wait another year. 

Lakers in six. 

Fantasy Sports Leagues Still in Business

Okay, I'm not a player. Not a fantasy team manager. I don't like it. Although I played in 
an on-line NBA fantasy league a few years ago, I quickly decided that it wasn't for me. 
In fact, I hate fantasy leagues.

I like to watch games, not juggle imaginary lineups. I like to read gripping accounts of games, 
but I'm no "Box Score Willie."

And this week when the Supreme Court rejected an appeal from MLB to hear a case on fantasy 
sports it didn't hurt me and my superstar starting nine plus relief pitchers and DH because I don't have one.

MLB wants the owners of fantasy sports leagues to pay licensing fees for the use of players' names 
and statistics. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, Missouri had ruled against MLB 
and the players' union.

One of the co-owners of the company embroiled in the 2005 lawsuit estimated that almost 
20 million fans play fantasy sports. Now that's a lot of wasted time!

But let's talk about the greed of MLB.

 Major League Baseball (and other pro sports) are in the public domain. We created the interest, 
we (essentially) pay the salaries because we maintain the financial basis for the MLB, NBA, NFL, 
and NHL, so why shouldn't we (present company excluded) be able to make a fantasy around managing a team?

I'm glad that others are allowed to play with the names of real-life players and stats to have fun. 
But can you really call it fun? C'mon sports fans, root for a TEAM not a player.

I understand when people say that it brings them closer to games they would otherwise ignore, but I'm not sure
I need to chase down that stat and hope against my team that player X gets a hit or save or whatever to earn your points.

For all the league owners and managers out there: is this really your idea of a fantasy? 
Did you really grow up thinking "I want to manage a team, like Don 'Fat Gerbil' Zimmer"? 

I doubt it. So play the games, draft your favorites, but keep it a little real please. 
Don't be a "Box Score Willie," appreciate the reason(s) you like baseball or (insert favorite sport here).

To get you started here is a short list that doesn't compute into baseball fantasy league points: 
long fly balls caught on the warning track, pinch hits, pick-off moves, the pitcher's stare, third base 
coaches, and catching a foul ball for your kid.

(Note: Former Celtic Kevin McHale was the first person I heard using the term "Box Score Willie" 
and I want to give him full credit unless I hear of another source for this term.)

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