The defending champion Detroit Pistons earned their second consecutive trip to the NBA Finals tonight by defeating the host Miami Heat, 88-82. The Heat held a six point lead late into the fourth quarter, yet were unable to score. Defense wins championships. The Pistons shut down an injured, but inspired Dwayne Wade through double teams & traps. Wade will have to wait another year for the coveted ring.
I'm disappointed w/ Miami: the game was in their hands. Their playoff inexperience was evident by the bad fouls, missed free throws & rushed shots. Though I dislike watching them play, I respect Detroit. I admire their poise, tenacity & unselfishness as a team. They play as a unit. No egos, flashy players or superstars reign supreme. The Pistons have an opportunity to repeat. But first they have to get pass the San Antonio Spurs, who many feel will war the crown in 2005.
Shaquille O'Neal has given Miami a boost of energy through his charisma, leadership & superior skill level. Though the Heat lost three key players (Caron Butler, Brian Grant & Lamar Odom) to get O'Neal from the Lakers last summer in a blockbuster trade, the city has embraced him like a king. The "Diesel" has responded by taking the Heat to their first NBA finals appearance in eight years.
In L.A., the tension between O'Neal & Kobe Bryant was thicker than Beyonce's thighs. Under the zen guidance of coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers won three straight titles in 2000, 2001 & 2002. Last year, the Pistons gave them a thoroughly whipped ass in the NBA Finals, which fueled an exodus from Jackson, who admittedly found coaching Kobe to be "difficult."
Kobe & Shaq were never friends, but they managed to put their magnanimous egos aside to get the job done. The Lakers had a losing season this year. At times, they resembled a division two college team. I was not surprised by their poor showing. In fact, many folks blame Kobe for their woes, citing his aloof & indifferent personality, in addition to his inability to make his teammates better players.
An NBA junkie, I'll watch the NBA Finals w/ chagrin. Detroit & San Antonio are boring as hell to watch. I don't like half-court basketball. I wanted the phoenix Suns to play Miami for the championship, but the Spurs' tenacious defense was too much for the young guns in Arizona. Steve Nash won the league's MVP. Amare Stoudemire averaged over 35 points in the Western Finals series. Shawn Marion was superb.
And, Jimmy Jackson is fine...but that's not why I watch the game. I'm an athlete who appreciates healthy competition. Despite the players' astronomical salaries, owners' slave like mentality & soaring ticket prices I love NBA basketball. Thank God for cable. Perhaps I will consider getting the league pass next year. I have to learn how to save money before that happens.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.