Wanna know how much it's weighing on the Lakers? Well, the season hasn't even started and the Lakers are already talking about getting back to the Finals and beating the crap out of the Celtics. Here's the Boston Globe's Marc Spears with the scoop:
Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are seeking revenge, and their preference is to see their bitter rivals, the Celtics, in the NBA Finals again in hopes of making amends for last season.Although it's bold for the Lakers to come out and make these kind of statements in the preseason, I'm really happy that they did. You know this is likely going to lead to some sort of response from Celtics players where they tell the Lakers to be careful what they wish for. That kind of back and forth will only motivate both teams to get back to the big stage. And that would be a great thing for the league.
"Of course, [I want Boston]," Bryant said. "If you see a guy that you fought at lunchtime and he knocked you out, oh, I'm coming back the next day. I don't want the little 4-foot guy. I want the big football player, that's what I want."
Lamar Odom said, "You always want to play against the team you lost to. They're a heck of a team. I would love to play against Boston, personally."
The league really needs a rivalry to play out in the NBA Finals. Don't get me wrong, the league has had plenty of in-conference rivalries over the post Jordan era (Kings v. Lakers was probably the best), but nothing that has gone across conference boundaries or played out in the NBA Finals.
Rivalries are built from the bad blood that develops when teams play each other in multiple playoff series. After last season's Finals, you know there is already some of that there. By coming out in the press and saying they want the Celtics again, the Lakers are stirring the pot and planting the seeds for an NBA Final that could get ratings the NBA hasn't seen since Michael Jordan retired. I'm praying that we are lucky enough to be granted such a re-match. Although, I have to say, LeBron v. Kobe on the NBA Finals stage would also work just fine for this NBA fanatic.