By Craig Kwasniewski
Okay this is it... or is it? The final home game for the Lakers, the final game in Phil Jackson's career, Derek Fisher's final game as a Laker, the beginning of the end with Byron Scott taking PJ's place on the bench (and it WILL happen when Jackson leaves... this year or next)... all these things could possibly be on the line as Boston looks to close out LA in Game 6.Phil Jackson's been known to edit game films with move cuts to send a message to his troops. With that in mind, and with a very real possibility that tonight is the last game for the greatest coach in NBA history, here are five quotes from the movie Wall Street to best describe what to expect in Game 6:
Remember there are no shortcuts, son. Quick buck artists come and go with every bull market, but the steady players make it through the bear market. Lou Mannheim and the voice of reason, the angel on Bud Fox's shoulder if you will. The Lakers need to realize there are no shortcut to defending a title. You can't roll up to a team like Boston and expect to win just by being there. The Bull market was playing a team like Orlando, young, full of energy but not as mentally tough. The Lakers NEED to match the Celtics' mental and physical toughness in Game 6. This starts in the trenches on defense and the boards. We can talk about how little impact the Kobe-aires had offensively in Game 5, but the game was really lost on defense. Boston shot a stunning 56% from the field. STUNNING!!! Now the Lakers are in a bear market, with nowhere to hide and no room for mistake... no shortcuts!!! Especially on defense.
Sun-tzu: If your enemy is superior, evade him. If angry, irritate him. If equally matched, fight, and if not split and reevaluate. Quote of a movie of a quote from a book but everyone knows who this is. For the Lakers to even have a shot at extending this series Pau Gasol needs to listed to Bud Fox and fight. The thing about the 2-3-2 format is that it really gives the host of the middle three games a shot at completely changing the momentum of the series. Doesn't it feel like we've been in Boston for literally weeks? The Lakers went from a confident defending champs to a team that no longer feels an equal to Boston. Much of this falls on Ron Artest and Lamar Odom but mostly it's Pau Gasol. Heading into the series, Gasol was equally matched with KG yet in the past few games instead of fighting KG head on he's been "splitting and reevaluating." There's no time to split and reevaluate... there's no tomorrow for LA, the Lakers NEED Gasol now to have any chance at taking this to Game 7.
Man looks in the abyss, there’s nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss. The quote that inspired me to write this piece and the one that applies to none other than Lamar Odom. He's not only staring into the abyss, but he's firmly in it. What happened to the player that used to hold his own against KG? What happened to the smile? The rebounds? The heart? It's all gone. One big factor is Lamar Odom is terrible on Sundays. Okay not terrible in a Smush Parker sense but terrible in that his numbers drop by 20% on Sundays versus the rest of the week. (This postseason he averages 7.4 pts and 7.4 rebs on Sunday, the rest of the week he average 10.7 pts and 9.0 rebounds.) So maybe he's just due for a quality double-double that Lakers fans have been begging for. Lamar, get out of the abyss.
And what I do, stock and real estate speculation. It's bullshit. You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own. Gordon Gekko laying down the law to Bud Fox best describes Kobe's impact offensively in this series. He's really like a speculator, creating wealth for himself only. He owns. But his numbers don't create wealth for the rest of the Lakers, the ninety percent of the public with little or no wealth. See that's the beauty of the Celtics defensive schemes, the goad Kobe into his one-on-one game, knowing that at the end of the day he'll try to prove to everyone win or lose that he's the true alpha dog. Yes, Kobe has put up some good numbers against the Celtics defense, but the most important number is 2 and 3 as in wins and losses. With the Lakers on the brink, Kobe needs to "spread the wealth" and dump the Gekko principle.The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Eighteen titles... nuff said. For Boston Celtics fans, greed is good. Yes, I look at this Lakers team, the one I've followed closely for the last 11 years as a season ticket holder and I can't see enough of the inner strength and belief to hold off the Celtics. If I saw Fox, Fisher, Horry, Kobe and Shaq, I'd feel completely different. They fought through the hard battles, they learned how to depend on each other, to lean on the right person, to fight as individuals and as one when the time was needed. I see this Lakers team, this all-but-very-different Western Conference Champs Threepeat and I don't see the same thing. I don't see the unity, the right mixture of individual talent and us-against-the-world feeling that the early 2000's Lakers and present-day Celtics have. For Boston, greed is good... and so is title number eighteen.