Mark Heisler's probably my favorite writer on the LA Times sports page. Without him I would care even less about the NBA. Here's something from today's season-ending debriefing:
"Before Game 6, the Boston Globe's Bob Ryan, a Celtics beat writer when there were classics, wrote a column headlined, 'It has to get better than this,' noting there hadn't been a 'knock-down, drag-out 48-minute demonstration of mutual athletic greatness' that would have thrilled a wider audience.This brings up my favorite sports theory, which I export from the NHL, which is that the sheer size of everyone nowadays limits the time and space for offensive geniuses to create. Size, and increased conditioning. Weight training has been a disaster for aesthetically inclined sports fans (I prefer Ozzie Smith-era baseball as well).
Unfortunately, today's defense-oriented game doesn't promote classics.
The '80s Lakers-Celtics Finals games that popped up on ESPN Classic had flowing action with both teams running and scores in the 110-120 range.
This season's quote, unquote, high-scoring Lakers, averaged only 93.8 points, stymied by that Celtics defense packed back in the paint.
Athletic greatness requires a stage on which to perform. Bryant, one of the game's greatest high-wire artists, spent the Finals shooting jump shots from the cheap seats."