They say the NBA is an expert at fixing things, well let's see it make The Finals interesting.
For the last few days we've been inundated with hogwash, the Celtics and Lakers, the greatest series one might imagine about to begin, no one mentioning what a bore it might be.
How about Rajon Floppo? All that hype for this guy, someone who plays it so casual it's like he's trying to fit into Southern California -- Jordan Farmar stealing the ball from him at the end of the first quarter because Floppo just isn't into the game.
The Celtics play in slow motion. Garnett is old, his team missing 38 shots, the Lakers 39 and he could manage only four rebounds.
Kendrick Perkins is one tantrum away from being suspended, like anyone would miss him, Tony Allen is so bad he should never be seen in The Finals unless buying a ticket, the Celtics so bad they made the Lakers look like champions already.
If you're a Celtics' honk, just what do you hang your hopes on now? Nate Robinson growing a foot by Sunday.
How did these guys beat Orlando and Cleveland? Or is it just an indication of how weak the NBA is these days, the Lakers having to only beat Oklahoma City, Utah and Phoenix to get here.
This just isn't interesting, the Lakers up by 20 after three quarters in a series that is supposed to be compelling, meaning everything to these so-called tough Celtics -- everyone forgetting they just aren't any good.
I've got to believe the people of Boston are smarter than they look and act, admitting right now, "This is the team we watched all year."
As for everyone else, The Finals are not just played for NBA fans, but television viewers across the land -- the championship for any sport an opportunity to showcase the best it has to offer.
Well, you watched Game 1 and maybe the NBA for the first time all year, probably coming away expecting to see Big Baby Davis later this summer on "The Biggest Loser."
When ABC's Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy are talking about Scrabble in the fourth quarter of the first game of The Finals, the best thing that can happen for America is a Lakers sweep.
"Isn't this supposed to be more interesting?" I asked Phil Jackson. "It's The Finals."
"It's Game 1," said Jackson, as if we need to be reminded how long this might drag on.
"Were you bored by what was going on?" I asked.
"No," he said. "It was long, though. It was a long game."
It was so long the Lakers lost interest in Game 1, the only way Boston could outscore them in the fourth quarter. I worry the biggest problem confronting the Lakers, is the same one every else has now, staying interested in The Finals.
JOHN WOODEN has been in the hospital the last week and surrounded by family.
The Orange County Register and the Washington Post reported Thursday he had died, but maybe they will do a better job of reporting when it actually happens.
"He's comfortable," said Nan, Wooden's daughter. "He's just about the same as when he came to the hospital. He's not in any pain. We're just playing the waiting game.
"We're talking to him," she added, while aware of earlier media reports. "Daddy has not passed; he's still with us."
Bill Walton, who was at the Lakers' game, said he had the chance to visit Wooden in the hospital two days ago.
"I told him I loved him," Walton said, "and then I kissed him goodbye.''
BEFORE GAME 1, I gave Phil a chance to announce he was returning to the Lakers. And he did, sort of.
"You said if you made it to The Finals this would be a successful season in your mind," I began, "and you'd be more likely to remain with the Lakers. Would you like to make that official?"
"Yes, I think a lot of that is true," he said. "It feels like we're really headed in the right direction. We believe in what we're doing. We've got momentum.
"I know the Celtics do too, but this is really the topping on the cake, so to speak, as to how you come out in The Finals and how you play. I'm looking forward to this, and that's it."
Before he left the stage, I said, "That sounds almost like you're leaning more toward staying."
He smiled and said, "All right."
I ALSO asked, "Are you as appalled as I am reading the L.A. Times that Kevin McHale actually gives the edge in coaching to Doc Rivers in this series?
"Kevin McHale gave them Kevin Garnett," cracked Jackson, speaking of McHale when he was VP of basketball operations in Minnesota. "I mean, why not? Geez. That's somebody calling the kettle black."
DON'T KNOW if the kiss-cam video made it back to Boston, but you can just imagine what those people were saying about California when Dustin Hoffman kissed Jason Bateman.
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