2010 NBA Finals: L.A. Lakers Lack Team Concept

After a Game 5 loss that crept the Los Angeles Lakers within one whiff of their second NBA Finals strikeout in three years, my mother made a statement that could possibly serve as a forewarning to Magic Johnson, Michael Wilbon and Jon Barry's job security in the NBA analyst arena.

"You know," she said, "the Celtics are the better team."

Mind you, this is coming from a person who knows as much about sports as the McCourt family knows about owning and operating the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise.

In any case, the notion that my mother is capable of making that sort of uncharacteristic yet clear-cut observation is like dissecting an owl pellet in fifth-grade science.

It doesn't take a so-called expert with superior know-how to understand the intricacies of a rather obvious assessment.

No matter how many ways you want to cut it, or how many statistics you want to reference, or how many questionable calls you believe the officials have made, the bottom line is this: L.A. may have the best player in this series, but the Celtics certainly have been the best team through the first five games.

In Games 1 through 4, the best player—one Kobe Bean Bryant—was un-Kobe like, shooting just 41 percent from the field despite averaging 28 points, and yet the series was knotted up at two games apiece. If nothing else, the overwhelming indication heading into Game 5 was that at least one of the next two, maybe three games would be struck by the Black Mamba's lightning.

In Game 5, Bryant answered the bell, finishing with a series-high 38 points on 13-of-27 shooting, including a stretch in which he scored 23 straight points for the Lakers. Still, the rest of the team couldn't provide the thunder to Kobe's lightning, which paved the way for Tuesday's "go hard or (literally) go home" Game 6 in Los Angeles.

And that's the beautiful thing about the game of basketball. More than any othe...

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