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The Finals, finally. Get your last basketball fix until Summer League starts up in a few weeks.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS VS. ORLANDO MAGIC

Only one of you gets to taste gold this time.

Only one of you gets to taste gold this time.

DUBBS:  Well, here we are folks.  The beginning of the end of another long season.  It all comes down to this, the matchup everyone’s been talking about the entire year:  Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers versus Lebron James and the Cleveland – wait, what?  THE ORLANDO MAGIC ARE IN THE FINALS?!?!  How the hell did that happen?  Somebody fucked up!  Does David Stern know about this?  He is going to have somebody killed.  Seriously, Jewish Steel In The Finals of Chaos.  What happens now?  What about the the Kobe vs. Lebron Vitamin Water ads?  And those awful puppet commercials they keep trying to force us into finding funny?  WHO WILL SAVE THE RACIST PUPPET COMMERCIALS?!

BROKEASS: That awful puppet looks as much like Dwight as it does Lebron. That’s about poor puppetry. And you know I have no tolerance for poor puppetry. I also have no tolerance for how long these damn playoffs run. I can’t even remember what they’re fighting about anymore. I don’t want this series to be played. I want them to shake hands and call it a draw. Just give the championship ring to Lebron so he can stop pouting and shake somebody’s hand already.

DUBBS:  You are racist because you think all Black puppets look alike.  This series is going to be fun.  Because it’s unpredictable.  Everything was so predetermined for the Finals.  Then Orlando won and suddenly it wasn’t.  The matchups in this series are funkier than expected.  Two very different teams are facing off.  And we don’t have to listen to the announcers go on and on about Kobe and Lebron every minute of every game.  This series could be a blowout or it could go seven.  I have no idea.  You need to get excited again.  To flip the script on Steph’s sage words – You’re caught up in life.  You need to get caught up in basketball.

BROKEASS:  You wouldn’t know fun if it sucked you off at an amusement park. I’m caught up in a playoffs as old as time. Orlando making it to the Finals would’ve been exciting a month ago. Now, they’re just one of the last two teams awake. All the champion wins is the right to turn off the lights.

DUBBS:  A month ago, Orlando couldn’t have made it to the Finals.  That Magic team and this current Magic team are very different.  This is a team that has become who they are during the playoffs;  really, only a couple of weeks ago during the Boston series.  A young team coming into their own versus a veteran team expected to be there.  A young superstar trying to emerge as a dominant force and win his first championship versus an aging superstar trying to cement his rep as one of the greatest to ever play the game.  If this doesn’t wake you up, I think it’s time for me to trace my penis on your forehead.

BROKEASS:  I’m awake! I’m awake! Put your marker away. You could draw any penis, why does it have to be a self-portrait? The Lakers are awake, too. That Houston series guaranteed LA wouldn’t be sleepwalking through any more of the playoffs. Not discounting the Magic, LA is better. In retrospect, Orlando had clear advantages in the previous three rounds. Advantages that favored their best players. This time, far less so. Their positional advantages are no longer aligned with their positional strengths. If both teams play to the level of expectation, the Lakers will win.

DUBBS:  But who knows what the expectations are for Orlando?  The goalposts have shifted several times for them throughout the Playoffs.  They could show up with a Just Happy To Be Here vibe and get stomped.  Or they could show up and work hard and beat a team NOBODY’s giving them a chance to beat, just like last round.

BROKEASS: Is Orlando really better than we expected? Or are Cleveland and Boston worse? LA can’t be faulted for not exceeding expectations when expectations were for them to be fighting for a championship in June. They are. No one thought that Orlando would get this far and no one thinks they will win it. Sooner or later the critics will probably be right. This isn’t a challenge to the Magic’s resolve. They are the worse team in the series. If Dwight goes off like he did in the Conference Finals, sure, anything could happen. But the Lakers are younger, bigger, and healthier on the block than the Cavs.  If Boston could curtail him, he will be truncated by LA. There’s a subtle difference. Orlando needs to pick a point guard before anybody starts worrying about them.

DUBBS:  They need to stick with Rafer because he got them there and you don’t switch your lineup all around headed into the Finals.  Rafer seems to be developing a taste for the big moments.  And there’s no bigger moment than the NBA Finals.  If Jameer is healthy and not too rusty (which is a big if), bring him in as a backup.  But let Rafer lead the team.  Still sort of a scary thought.  That thing we complained about each round?  That Dwight Howard should be unstoppable but wasn’t?  Well, he is now.  Dwight Howard is a man. Andrew Bynum is a boy.  Pau Gasol is an old Spanish woman.  And Lamar Odom is a Diabetic coma waiting to happen.  Magic Shooters stay hot.  Dwight manhandles.  Stan Van keeps his cool (ha) and triumphs.  Orlando in 7. Magic Fan, I’m with you!

BROKEASS: Not even Mighty Dwight can steal a rebound from LO on a Skittles buzz. Odom, Gasol, and Ariza counterpoint Lewis, Turkoglu, and Pietrus (that’s right, a Mickael Pietrus reference before a series. You growing up, Barefoot!) better than any team in the league. And Kobe hasn’t even been mentioned yet! I’ll give Counrtney Lee more credit than we have in previous rounds. But donning that mask will be the only thing that prevents Kobe from breaking his face. A rookie standing between Black Mamba and a Shaq-less championship? As the kids say, laugh out loud. I agree with you about Skip and think, no matter how you slice it, point guard is an advantage the Magic hold. It’s an important one, and coupled with this coming-of-age big man you keep talking about, worth about two games. Lakers in 6. Countless LA douchebags, I’m siding with you.

Every one of our predictions, even the ones we disagreed on, have come true. The Finals will be no different.

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KENYON DOES NOT ACCEPT YOUR APOLOGY, MARK CUBAN!  These two won’t move on so let’s do it for them.  Western Conference Finals.  Don’t sit near La La:

(1) LOS ANGELES LAKERS VS. (2) DENVER NUGGETS

"Stop playin', Kobe. This ain't a hotel room."

It's all smiles and giggles 'til somebody gets raped.

DUBBS:  While Denver advances to their first Conference Finals in 24 years, Chauncey reaches his seventh in a row.  (An impressive feat that only four other players since 1970 have accomplished. )  Chauncey is responsible for turning this team from a talented bunch of underachievers to a force to be reckoned with.  No one expected Denver to be here.  Everyone assumed LA would be.  Yet Denver has been the more impressive team so far in these Playoffs.

BROKESS: Denver has been impressive. Just not against LA. You have to bother Kobe Bryant in order to have a chance against the Lakers. Houston posed the greatest challenge by throwing the likes of Ron Artest and Shane Battier at him. JR Smith couldn’t cover Kobe with tattoos. Putting aside that the Lakers have their most talented team since the Last Days of Shaq, who is going to keep Bryant from winning this series single-handedly?

DUBBS:  DAHNTAY JONES!! aka The Ruben Patterson Stopper!  Um, yeah, Dahntay Jones ain’t stopping Kobe.  But Kobe deciding he’s going to win the series single-handedly would be great for Denver.  If Kobe refuses to play within the team’s offense, LA will lose.  He can win a game that way but not a series.  And ‘who’s gonna stop Kobe?’ has a flipside.  Who’s gonna cover Chauncey?  Or Carmelo?  What if they have to put Kobe on one of those guys?  If he expends too much energy on the defensive end, will he start settling for jumpers on O?

BROKEASS: LA’s offense is designed to find their opponent’s defensive weakness and exploit it. No matter how good you are, if you have a hole at the shooting guard position and you are playing the Los Angeles Lakers, you’re in trouble. LA feasts when Kobe has a big advantage. On the other hand, Denver’s best scorer, Carmelo Anthony, has the pleasure of matching up with LA’s best defensive stopper in Trevor Ariza. It’s just that kind of unfortunate pairing for the Nuggets. Nearly every choice favors LA. I’m taking Phil’s zen over George’s meltdown. Odom’s peace over K-Mart’s war. Pau’s Catallan over Nene’s Portuguese. Chauncey over Derdan Fishmar is Denver’s only decisive advantage.

DUBBS:  Everyone has talked all year long about how deep LA’s bench is.  I don’t see it.  And they have not been showing up in the playoffs.  Denver is actually the team with depth.  They have a great point guard who controls the game, doesn’t turn the ball over, can score when he needs to, and is money from the line.  They have a world-class scorer in Carmelo who can play inside and out.  An energy guy with a commitment to defense in Dahntay Jones. A defensive stopper/tough guy in K-Mart, who will intimidate the shit out of those Laker softies.  An agile big man in Nene.  A sixth man who can shoot lights-out in JR Smith.  An experienced backup PG in Anthony Carter.  And a blocking/rebounding specialist and fan favorite in Chris Andersen.  And we haven’t even gotten to Linas Kleisza, who does… something, I’m sure of it.  Somehow, Denver has become the most complete team in the league.

BROKEASS: Complete teams get to the Conference Finals and lose. Denver relies on all its parts to equal a whole. LA’s subs are like basketball understudies. They only perform due to injury and in Sunday matinees. Wait, the second part isn’t right. Ask Boston what happens when a crucial player gets hurt. Depth is nice, but a star player goes down and his team probably loses. I just don’t see the need for a deep bench when those dudes are literally just going to sit on the bench. Kobe and Pau can go 40+ each and will. At the big positions, that’s where you need fresh legs. And that’s where the Lakers are stacked. Andrew Bynum would start on Denver. He’s coming off the bench to hunt Birdman in this series. And let’s not forget DJ Mbenga, owner of a meaty body and the best name in the NBA. Dickie Simpkins that’s a good name!

DUBBS:  I’ve got a better idea.  Let’s do forget DJ Mbenga.  Everyone else in the fucking league has, including his own teammates. No discernible basketball skills whatsoever.  And Andrew Bynum should start on LA, only he’s been inconsistent.  Like the Lakers.  The point to Denver’s depth isn’t to guard against injury.  It’s depth that works together at the same time.  So if you stop one guy, another guy can kill you.  This is not the case with the Lakers.  If you manage to stop Kobe, they are losing.

BROKEASS: That was true as recently as two years ago. Not now. But it doesn’t matter because Denver can’t stop Kobe. Is Kobe going to stop Kobe? HELL NO. Not with the Lebron Coronation ceremony already scheduled for June. Don’t forget, when the League’s crown is finally given to King James officially, it will be removed from Kobe Bryant’s head. You can’t just take a man’s crown without expecting a fight. Pity the Dahntay Jones who stands between him and a tete-a-tete with his heir apparent.

DUBBS:  Denver is peaking at the right time.  LA has looked unfocused, to say the least, during the Playoffs.  They have a habit of not respecting their opponents until its almost too late, as in the case of Houston.  That will not work against a Denver team that is firing on all pistons.  Ouch.  Let’s say hitting on all cylinders.  Nuggets in 6.

BROKEASS: LA was humbled in Houston. They won’t be sleeping on anyone from here on out. I saw “Kobe Doin’ Work.” He’s a goddamn superhero. Denver will hit on all cylinders, they just won’t touch much nylon. Playing better doesn’t mean you are better. LA has way too many advantages. Lakers in 5.

DUBBS:  Come home Chauncey!  All is forgiven!!

Eastern Conference Finals prediction coming tomorrow.

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Muscle up, lil’ babies. Western Conference semi-finals: Don’t you ever in your life, when i got a gun, come at me with a knife. A’ight?

(1) LOS ANGELES LAKERS VS. (5) HOUSTON ROCKETS

Seven games of this? Yes please!

Love will tear us apart.

BROKEASS: Houston’s got the Lakers?! What?! Oh no.

DUBBS: I know! Our bandwagon team is up against the top dog in the West. I love what Houston did in the first round. Ron found some redemption and with that Houston found its identity. But this ain’t the first round and the Lakers are not the Blazers. Houston will push them but the Lakers are too good. Sorry, Ron. Just stay in the tree of trust and keep your shrink on speed dial.

BROKEASS: Win, lose, or fight the crowd – this is Ron-Ron’s series. He’s back, baby! And he seems saner than ever. This has to be the calm before the storm. Where’s that Ron-Ron insanity we all know and love?!

DUBBS: I think Pau Gasol just dunked it over Yao. Seriously, Pau is gonna give Yao fits. He’s way too fast and light on his feet for that gnarly old tree. And he can draw him away from the basket.

BROKEASS: Yao may not be nimble or quick, but he is a rather large candlestick to jump over. And on offense, well, good luck with that Pau. The Lakers can be beaten. Hell, the Pistons even beat them once.

DUBBS: What’s a Piston? The only advantage Houston has over LA is at the point guard position. Aaron Brooks is gonna make Derrick Fisher and Jordan Farmar look like Shrimp Fest at Red Lobster.

BROKEASS: Cheesy biscuits! On paper, the Lakers seem stronger. And on the basketball court, the Lakers beat the Rockets every time they played this season. But Ron-Ron don’t care about first rounds and he DAMN SURE don’t care about regular seasons or positional matchups. He and Shane Battier will corral and harass Kobe all game long. Ron-Ron is moving in to Kobe’s head as we speak. And Ron-Ron is a noisy guest. A frustrated Kobe equals a tentative, nervous Lakers.

DUBBS: In matchups against guys like Kobe, Ron has a tendency to forget he has teammates and turn it into a game of one-on-one. And Kobe is the only guy in the NBA not afraid of Artest. Houston will try to grind but the Lakers are gonna run on them. LA is too fast, too agile and they have too much firepower. We haven’t even talked about Odom and Ariza. And Phil Jackson has spent his career peeing in Rick Adelman’s kitchen sink. Lakers in 6.

BROKEASS: If LA runs, Houston won’t catch them. But Houston’s aim will be to slow the tempo and test their trapping D against that vaunted Triangle Offense. On offense, pick your poison in the post: Yao, Artest, Scola, Landry. The Lakers softies will be overmatched. A quick PG like your boy A-Brooks will average ten dimes on drop-offs alone. No one can phase Kobe over the course of a single game, but in a series, we have seen him unravel. If that happens against the Rockets, Houston will pounce. I’m saying it, Dubbs! UPSET!!! Houston in 6.

DUBBS: Don’t tell Ron and the rest of the Queensbridge soldiers I fell off the bandwagon so quickly. Big Noyd, we meet you at the top kid! Shout to Cormega!

(2) DENVER NUGGETS VS. (6) DALLAS MAVERICKS

"Put your tongue away, Dirk. You ain't Herr Jordan."

Kenyon laughs at Dirk's Herr Jordan impression.

DUBBS: Did you see that Chauncey Billups received the Joe Dumars Sportsmanship Award last week? That shit’s like rain on a motherfucker’s wedding day, son. Denver is rolling right now but New Orleans rolled over and died on them. They have yet to be tested. This series with Dallas will show us if Denver is for real or not.

BROKEASS: Denver is real. I’ve been there. It’s in Colorado. Oh, you mean as a basketball team. Right, this will test that. But I think they can pass that test. Defense has long been their achilles heel, but Billups has changed that. Scoring was never a problem. This team can now beat you in a variety of ways.

DUBBS: Dallas is coming off of the high of beating their archrival. Chauncey Billups is a much better match-up for Jason Kidd than Tony Parker was. And the Nuggets are starting Dahntay Jones? What the fuck is a Dahntay Jones? Is that the traditional Irish spelling of Dante? Why aren’t they starting JR Smith?

BROKEASS: JR Smith comes off the bench until he learns his lesson from a disciplinary issue four years ago. These are two of the deeper benches in the NBA and the team that best utilizes its reserves will probably win. This will be a battle of JTs and JRs; Carrolls and Kleizas; Birdmen & Balkmen and Basses & Bereas. Gerald Greens. Anthony Carters. You get the picture. A battle of benches.

DUBBS: It’s certainly not gonna be a battle of Centers. Dampier vs. Nene is a wash. I’m not sure who that’s more embarrassing for. Basketball, I guess. Chauncey and J-Kidd may cancel each other out. So it comes down to who’s gonna come up bigger: Dirk or Carmelo. Carmelo is inconsistent. He only had one great game against New Orleans, and he spent the entire series being guarded by the defensive sieve of Peja Stojakovic and the sadness of James Posey. Josh Howard is a much tougher defender. And Dirk, unlike Melo, is consistent. Kenyon can’t take him for seven games.

BROKEASS: Carmelo’s inconsistent scoring hasn’t equalled anything but victories. In years past, Melo’s lack of offensive input spelled automatic doom. But this year he has blended into a balanced offense keyed on enabling the hot hand. His 34 in the N’Orleans closer reminds us that he lives for the big game, even if his pro career hasn’t been prolific with opportunities. If Dirk doesn’t shine, Dallas is probably hopeless. The same is not true of Carmelo and Denver.

DUBBS: Whatever. Carmelo’s head is emptier than the Palace at playoff time. Jason Terry will exploit JR Smith’s awful jigsaw puzzle tattoos. Josh Howard will tempt Birdman with a fattie, getting Birdman kicked out for violating the terms of his reinstatement. Dallas in 7.

BROKEASS: Josh Howard is a Star-Spangled-Banner-hating traitor. If Dallas wins, so do the terrorists. You need to quit siding with anti-American sentiment, Dubbs! Denver in 7 thanks to home court advantage and American pride.

DUBBS: Wait a sec. Dallas has Matt Carroll? Ugh. Can I change my pick?

We’ll be back with our Eastern Conference picks on Monday, assuming Boston and Chicago don’t secede from the NBA and start their own league.

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Aaron Brooks stays well-fed.

Aaron Brooks stays well-fed.

Rockets 108, Blazers 81: When I said Aaron Brooks was gonna eat, I was thinking a light meal. Y’know, soup, salad, maybe some breadsticks. But Aaron set up an all-you-can-eat buffet in the Rose Garden, going for 27 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds as the Rockets destroyed the Blazers in Portland. Yao shot a perfect 9 for 9, scoring all 24 of his points in the first half as the Rockets came strong out of the gate. This was clearly a case of one team being ready and the other… not so much. I’m sure the Blazers will find their legs.

Hawks 90, Heat 64: This one surprised me. The Hawks were motivated. When’s the last time that happened? Last year’s playoffs, I guess. Atlanta held D-Wade to 19 points. I don’t see that happening again. If it does, this series is over. On another note, I take Josh Smith’s performance from the free thow line (5-6) as a personal insult. Josh Smith was on my fantasy team this season and was a disaster from the free throw line – lots of 1 for 7 performances.

Sixers 100, Magic 98: The Magic had something to prove in this game and they failed to do it. They gave up an eighteen-point lead at home to a crappy Sixers squad. I’m still sure the Magic will win this series, but they aren’t going anywhere this year, as usual. Magic = softbatch.

Nuggets 113, Hornets 84: Chauncey Billups had 36 points, hitting a career playoff high 8 three-pointers and still finding time to drop 8 dimes. Ouch. Meanwhile…

Cavs 102, Pistons 84: Lebron James abused Tayshaun Prince (what else is new?) for 38, 8 and 8 while Tay responded with 4 , 2 and 2. No single player can really hope to stop Lebron but it’s been clear for a while now that LBJ is inside Tayshaun’s head. The one ray of hope for the Pistons in this game: Stuckey scored 20 and played fairly well. Stuckey has to play well for this series to be worth anything to the Pistons.

Bulls 105, Celtics 103: Derrick Rose blew up for 36 points and 11 assists as the Bulls stunned the Celtics in OT. As predicted, the Bulls have come to play. But I don’t think the Celtics are in trouble. Yet. Rajon Rondo put in a good one with 29 points, 7 assists and 9 rebounds.

Mavs 105, Spurs 97: The Mavs were down 11 after the first quarter, but came back to win their first road playoff game in three years. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker played well. BUT THERE’S NOBODY ELSE!! Big win for the Mavs.

Lakers 113, Jazz 100: The Lakers were ready to go. No surprise there. The Jazz’ advantage at point guard was clear – Deron Williams had 17 assists – but it didn’t matter. Trevor Ariza had 21 for the Purp-and-Gold. And Kobe did this:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Bulls-Celtics and Mavs-Spurs get their game 2 on tonight.

Posted by LA Dubbs

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