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Published May 26, 2009

Or is it dilemmi? Either way.

As the entire NBA world eagerly awaits the potential match-up of Kobe and LeBron in this year's finals, they also can't help observe it's getting increasingly difficult for them to get there. The Magic and Nuggets are hitting their strides at the right time, with bench players stepping up at crucial moments, Van Panic and Karl making good coaching moves, and both team's point guards acting as the leaders they can be. Even if the current and future MJ's of our time average 50 a game for the rest of the playoffs, it won't matter. That's not how you reach the Golden Summit (Yes, I just used "Golden Summit" as an analogy for the Finals. Deal with it. I like it.).

If Kobe's Lakers are going to utilize home-court advantage and take this 2-2 series, Lamar Odom's going to have to step it up, dawg. You can't just score 7.5 points a game against Denver. They aren't the Clippers. Also, learn to box out. CHRIS ANDERSON SHOULDN'T HAVE MORE UPS THAN YOU. As someone who watched last night's humiliation, I can safely say the only thing more embarrassing to watch than Anderson jamming home the tip-in on a missed shot was his lamer version of TO's eagle routine, shouting a "wooooot" bird call to Denver's lame bird-loving fans as he ran backcourt. That, to me, was the epitomy of the bench differential. Denver's reserves are whooping Los Angeles'. Where's the depth? James Posey was a HUGE reason the Celtics won it all last year. At least their bench showed up.

As for "King" James, his supporting cast has been getting manhandled by Orlando's size, speed, and a combination of the two. This is clear as day because Coach Van Panic has done a solid job of exploiting Cleveland's lack of depth. Michael Pietrus (Who?) has 39 points through the series' first three games, which is THE NUMBER ONE REASON Orlando has a 2-1 lead going into tonight's Game 4. Pietrus finds any way he can to get into the lane, while the Cavs just stand and watch. On the flip side, Wally, Joe Smith, and Sasha Pavlovic, what the f*** are you staring at? Putting Pietrus on LeBron, too, was a great move by Van Panic. If only he'd kept him there for that last shot in Game 2. 

Something else I've been impressed with is the impact of the point guard in this year's playoffs. Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Aaron Brooks, Mike Bibby, Mo Williams, Chauncey Billups and Rafer Alston have all been special (Rafer, this means I forgive you for that gender-questioning slap you gave Mr. House last series). I don't include Derek Fisher because he's done nothing to show me he's worthy to be on that list. The elbow to Scola was a capper. D-Fish, how are you being a leader to Farmar by doing that? Since Mo "Money" Williams has at least been making buckets (and tough ones), I give Cleveland a better chance to advance than Los Angeles. Mo Money can at least hang with Alston--who, my friends, should not be under-estimated. If Odom starts playing like Pietrus, and Kobe dishes more to Gasol, the NBA world can rest assured knowing the LeBron-Kobe war we've all been waiting for...is on.

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