Lakers Resume Storied Rivalry With Celtics; Defeat Suns, Refs


My philosophy is that in a 7 game series, the better team wins 10 out of 10 times. Referees can certainly make things difficult, but my belief is that the better team will always triumph.

Well, the refs in Phoenix certainly did all in their power to prove me wrong.

Forget the Suns-favoring 20.5 average free throw differential in the two games the Suns did manage to win, forget the innumerable, blatant fouls the Suns committed essentially for free, the refs capped off their all-out effort to prolong the series when they called Sasha Vujacic for a flagrant foul early in the fourth quarter.

That call not only gifted the Suns with two free throws, but also awarded them possession – all after a possession in which they had already scored. That call propelled the Suns to a 16-4 run and a free pass to get right back into the game.

A lot of attention was placed on the various implications of that call, but no attention was placed on the call’s legitimacy.

Goran Dragic went after Sasha Vujacic taunting and bumping him before Vujacic retaliated by throwing his arms upwards, hitting Dragic’s jaw. In short, Dragic initiated the confrontation – and the contact – but after a Grade A quality flop the refs had all the justification they needed to award the Suns with game-changing momentum instead of calling a more appropriate double-technical.

Regardless, the Lakers were not to be denied their 31st NBA Finals appearance and a rematch with the only team fit to stand as a true Laker rival, the Boston Celtics.

Sure the Lakers have plenty of other pretender “rivals”.

For instance, the Cavaliers have never met the Lakers in the Finals nor have even they won a single Finals game, yet the media had done all in their power to generate a rivalry between the two teams based on Kobe Bryant and LeBron James alone, despite the obvious gap i...

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