wolves 83, kings 80
AP Photo/Andy King
I've been waiting all playoffs for this. Hell, I've been waiting eight seasons for this. Finally, on his 28th birthday, KG delivered on his enormous promise in a game that looked to define him as a player. With 32 points (14, including every Wolves basket, in the 4th quarter), 21 rebounds, 5 blocks & 4 steals, Kevin Garnett stepped into the spotlight of Wednesday nite's game 7 against Sacramento & took it over in Jordan-esque fashion, leading his franchise to victory. And it was a sight to behold.
Now the tired, limping Wolves have drawn the hall-of-famer stacked & soap-opera racked Lakers to town for the Western Conference finals. For this Laker team, anything less than a title will be a disappointment after acquiring Karl Malone & Gary Payton, two players desperate to cap off their storied careers w/a championship, in the offseason. But does anybody outside of Los Angeles fans, ABC & maybe David Stern want to see these Lakers win another title? While the team is finally hitting on all cylinders on the court, they are still plagued by bitterness & dissention, with their four superstars playing together with little-to-no joy - who actually likes these guys? They certainly don't like each other.
Just as KG stepped up in game 7, he must take over this series w/the Lakers. His successful MVP campaign called Garnett "the best player on the planet," and he's going to have to be just that in order to advance to the NBA Finals. This is his opportunity to take his place atop the NBA by taking down an iconic Laker team that nobody likes - an evil empire, if you will - & ripping the "heir to the throne of Jordan" title from Kobe's dead, rapist hands. Despite home court advantage, which did a very different Wolves team little good against a very different Lakers team in the last year's 1st round, the Wolves will not be expected to beat Shaq & Kobe. Looking at the strategic match-up, I don't think the Wolves will prevail either.
But KG, who (war/gun-comments aside) represents everything good & pure about the game of basketball, has the talent, ability, & drive to lead his team to the promised land. Can you hear that? Can you hear what the basketball gods are chanting?
To quote Brad Pitt from Troy, "Do you know what's waiting beyond that beach? Immortality! Take it! It's yours!" And LA has lots of beaches.
advice to the graduate
In honor of recent graduates Rachel, cousin Scott, Dan & Minda, here is Daily Show host Jon Stewart's recent commencement address @ William & Mary (via stereogum), as well as a photo of him from ye ol' college days. I don't think my hair ever got quite that large when I was in school, but I did manage to sport a halfway decent beard for a while.