Did anybody really buy the whole “Shaq v. Kobe” feud was marketing. Oh, Shaquille O’Neal is smart enough to know how to make these things marketable, but like ancient myths the elaborate stories built up around some kernel of truth.
Then when Kobe got ring number five last June and was quick to say he was “one ahead of Shaq” you could feel how much he enjoyed that.
That comment also sparked the Celtics, according to the Boston Globe (as found by Trey Kerby at Ball Don’t Lie)
“The minute I heard Kobe [Bryant] say he had one more ring than Shaq, I said to Danny [Ainge], ‘Let’s go get Shaq,’ and it happened,” said [Celtics primary owner Wyc] Grousbeck.
“This is a very, very proud bunch of guys, the champions from ’08. And now with Jermaine and Shaq and Delonte, who haven’t been champions with us, this could be a good group. We’ve got huge challenges but we reloaded this summer. We really want banner No. 18.”
How much the aging Shaq and his defensive freelancing really helps the Celtics remains to be seen. He (and Jermaine O’Neal) provides some dept and offense along the front line, if everyone can stay healthy and not regress too much.
We had an efficient Carmelo Anthony sighting in the preseason.
Anthony and the Knicks went up against the Wizards and ‘Melo hit 10-of-15 shots to score 21 points. He also had four rebounds and four assists.
Derrick Williams had 23 points on 11 shots to lead the Knicks in scoring, and New York won 115-104.
There’s this overplayed angle talked about by some fans and pundits suggesting the Warriors just got lucky last season — for example, they faced a banged-up Rockets’ team in the conference finals then a Cavaliers’ squad without two of their big three through the Finals. Then there was Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers saying the Warriors were lucky not having to play the Clippers or Spurs in the postseason.
The Warriors are sick of hearing they were lucky.
Friday Klay Thompson fired back at Rivers, via CSNBayArea.com.
– “I wanted to play the Clippers last year, but they couldn’t handle their business.”
– “If we got lucky, look at our record against them last year (Warriors 3-1). I’m pretty sure we smacked them.”
– “Didn’t they lose to the Rockets? Exactly. So haha. That just makes me laugh. That’s funny. Weren’t they up 3-1 too?”
– “Yeah, tell them I said that. That’s funny. That’s funny.”
Warriors big man Andrew Bogut phrased it differently.
If you think the Warriors just won because they were lucky — you are dead wrong.
They were the best team in the NBA last season, bar none. They won 67 regular season games in a tough conference, then beat everyone in their path to win a title. Did they catch some breaks along the way, particularly with health? You bet. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant didn’t win a title without catching some breaks along the way, either. Nobody does. Luck plays a role, but it was not the primary factor in why the Warriors are champs.
All this talk of them getting lucky is fuel for the fire they needed not to be complacent this season. Way to give the defending champs bulletin board material, Doc.