I'm sitting here in my bed, Indian-style, hands crossed, praying for a Lakers-Clippers western conference finals. Many reasons: Lakers get home court all the way, Clippers are automatic losers in the eyes of one Donald Sterling (a "gimme" for all you Laker fans out there), and Lakers want to apologize for last year's playoff collapse against the dreaded Dallas Mavericks. Well, they've stumbled upon one of the strangest road blocks in their treasured franchise history: George Karl's starless Denver Nuggets. No-namers like Javale McGee running the block party, Ty Lawson having an unconscious scoring night, and Timofey Mosgov (whose last name entered the Merrian Webster's ghetto dictionary by way of Harry Potter and Griffindor) doing the double and triple frustration play to Andrew Bynum. Lakers are up three games, so is Denver. Saturday's Game 7 will determine the fate of your fabled Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
So yeah, Game 7 has a couple silver linings. Ron Artest/Metta World Peace returns from a seven game suspension. Lakers regain home court advantage. 80% of game sevens have been favored towards the home team. And Kobe Bryant still managed to pull off a 30+ point performance. But here's something that people are forgetting: Kobe's game 6 stats served him no good if the game result ends in a loss, and God, was it an embarrassing loss. When Jordan had that flu game against the Utah Jazz in the 97-98 NBA Finals of Game 5, they won that game. Ultimately, the inspired performance of Jordan battling through sickness lifted the Chicago Bulls through a game 6 and won their six and final trophy. If you want to do Kobe-Michael comparisons, the Lakers should have won game 6.
Now, they're forced to win game 7. The fate of the franchise is on the line. Everyone's job is on the line. A win in home court could give the Lakers renewed focus as they head on to face the Oklahoma City Thunder, and prevent history from repeating itself by defeating the San Antonio Spurs, when they first won the championship on the 98-99 lockout season. There's so much pressure going against the Lakers that if they choke, we might have to say goodbye to Pau Gasol, Ramon Sessions... hell, the entire team might be gone. Maybe Jim Buss will ultimately trade his protege, the presumed seven footer who was meant to be known as the resurrection of Shaquille O'Neal for a center who is not only powerful on the court, but professional and mature off the court. But holy hell, the Lakers can still win game 7.
And the only way the Lakers can win a game 7 against the Denver Nuggets is by committing a flagrant foul 2.
Yep, you heard me right. Injure a player on purpose so that you can steal the game. Yep, it's bush league. Sure, you'll get a bad rap for it, and you'll be thrown out of the game. But ultimately, the dirty tactic worked for both the Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Hornets when one of their players did the running man (Jason Smith) and the judo chop (Robin Lopez) to Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers. They had a very good reason for delivering such blows, too. All Blake does is dunk. He's not a very good defender, his jump shot is not fully developed yet, and he flops. And he's got a very mean mug. Blake Griffin is public enemy number one, a plague to the entire NBA, and you want to purify the courts of his acting antics. How do you put a stop to it? You take him out, the hard way. The flagrant foul, a cheap shot, a move designed to disrupt a player's focus and way of thinking, reverting it back to childhood. It's like going for the head, but instead, it's Sub-Zero yanking the head off in a violent fashion. (Damn right I ain't postin' it, too graphic.)
The Lakers can do it, too. Already they've managed to pull one off. It was the day when Ron Artest/Metta World Peace unsuspectingly concussed James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder. There was a momentary lapse in the Lakers-Thunder game, when they were down by 17. Chances of the Lakers return to glory stayed slim to none until Mike Brown pulled out Andrew Bynum in exchange for Jordan Hill and brought in second-year guard Devin Ebanks. OKC didn't have an answer to either of these two men as they were playing for something more. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant had problems making their shots. Without James Harden controlling the floor, the Thunder were discombobulated, and a fourth quarter comeback by the Lakers followed. Kobe Bryant came back, and the Lakers pulled off an overtime victory that ultimately stole the Pacific Division from the Clippers.
If the Lakers want to win game 7, they'll need to give Denver what they want. George Karl has set up plays for the Nuggets requiring two or three players to suffocate Bynum whenever he has the ball. Bynum is now the Lakers weakest link: the more he stays, the more he suffers from getting teamed up. He'll lose focus and display his malcontent on the court. Instead of giving the Nuggets a pissed off Bynum, the Lakers should reward the Nuggets with no Bynum at all. Remember how the beast did a nasty clothesline to J.J. Barea back in game 4 last year? He did it at the wrong place at the wrong time, when they were on the verge of being swept by the Mavs. But when you are in a situation where the Nuggets are continuously going to damage you in the paint and turn you into a lost cause, this is the perfect time for you to check out early. Deliver a fatality (but not too serious, okay) to a Nugget player, and have them assume the early victory. But Lakers got Jordan Hill and Josh McRoberts. Pau Gasol will be forced to step up now. Ron Artest/Metta World Peace is back. Rookie Andrew Goudelock the Mini-Mamba will surely be needed. And don't forget about the Lakers own Michael Jordan, Kobe Bean Bryant.
If the Lakers commit a flagrant foul 2, they will automatically win.