Just admit it: You want to see the Lakers and Heat in the NBA Finals. Nothing against your favorite team, doesn’t matter if you secretly or openly hate Kobe or LeBron, collateral damage if it means Eddie House ends up with two more championships than John Stockton or Sasha Vujacic gets three more rings than Elgin Baylor.
Lakers/Heat is the matchup that generates the most interest and intrigue League-wide. It’s Kobe and crew going for the three-peat while LeBron and crew going for their first of the potential dynasty. It’s Pat Riley and Phil Jackson flexing their brain and ego muscles for ultimate supremacy … it’s only a minor detail that this “rivalry” technically doesn’t exist yet.
Last night was a good night for those anticipating the NBA’s ideal Finals matchup. The Lakers pushed their record to 4-0 on the young season by destroying the Memphis Grizzlies, while the Heat improved to 4-1 with another blowout of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In L.A., Kobe eviscerated O.J. Mayo, dropping 23 points in the first half and making O.J. a non-factor on offense. Pau Gasol hung 21 points and 13 boards on younger brother Marc Gasol. Lamar Odom scored on step-back threes and aggressive drives. Shannon Brown did his Kobe impersonation in the second half with slashes and threes, and Matt Barnes was like a skinny Dennis Rodman, making defensive plays all over the court and pulling down 14 rebounds.
In Miami, LeBron looked like the best point guard in the League, scoring an easy 20 and handing out 12 assists. Dwyane Wade was in constant attack-mode with 26 points, Chris Bosh filled in the gaps with a quiet 13 and 6 boards, and James Jones found open spaces and knocking down open threes.
Both powerhouse teams were clicking on all cylinders and looked every bit like championship favorites.
But don’t count out the rest of the League yet. It’s a long time between now and June — lots of time for injuries, for infighting, for loss of focus, for other teams to find their rhythm, for other teams to devise game plans, and for a handful of other contenders to rise and make the playoffs real interesting.
Outside of the Lakers vs. Heat, which NBA Finals matchup would you want to see?
Tell us in the comments and we’ll print some of the best responses in an upcoming issue of Dime.