Monday, June 15, 2009

Lakers Net Another Championship

Two to the front of the class.

Roger Federer nails the French Open.

Kobe Bryant hammers out the NBA title.

Fed sheds the lie that he couldn't win a clay slam.

Kobe unShaqles himself.

Fed rebounds from his marathon loss at the 2008 Wimbledon final.

Kobe rebounds, passes, shoots beyond that crash in the 2008 NBA Finals.

The edge? Give it to Kobe. The tiebreaker: Mrs. Bryant. One radio guy went ment ripping her for hogging the postgame stage Sunday.

Whaaaat? She was worth every point in the ratings. Put it this way: If Bo Derek was a 10, Vanessa Bryant is a 24. She defines knockout.

Then there's Mrs. Fed, the meaning of mutti.

Set the DVR. For Christmas. Lakers-Cavs. With Shaq set to join LeBron in Cleveland, ABC is frothing over this clash.

Kobe-Shaq. Kobe-LeBron. Turn on that Hollywood spotlight.

The genius. Tommy Tutt, my Vegas buddy. All he did was text before Game 5 with this pick: "Lakers by 13. Bet the farm, the IRA, the wife."

I should have. L.A. won 99-86.

True fans. No one can dunk on Rose and Francis Gapuz. They don't just bleed purple and gold. They breathe it. And read it. And clip it.

This Love Laker couple has more Kobe & Co. mags and scrapbooks than a newsstand.

Had the privilege of watching Game 2 of the Finals with Francis. The Navy veteran knew exactly how to steer a victory to port.

With Team Gapuz on their side, the Lakers can't lose.

The dud. Some call him Charles Barkley. I go with Sir Chunk for his big, fat losing predictions. Such as Nets over Lakers in 2002. And Magic over Lakers in these Finals.

After the laughter died, Sir Chunk said Phil Jackson will quit this summer. That's my cue to guarantee Phil will stay on the Playa del Rey beach.

Now that he has 10 titles. Jackson is the greatest coach. Period.

His triumph Sunday was so convincing, even naysaying Roger Lodge on his radio show the next morning bowed to the Tower of Jax.

The teen. My niece Grace figured it all out, and she's just 13. Spotted the sweaty panic of Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy. And the cool coasting of the Laker boss. And said right there that Phil's force would clinch it.

Riley was right. Remember when Pat Riley bounced Gundy, took over in Miami and led the Heat to the 2006 NBA title? Looked like a knife job, which it was.

But it was a sharp move. Under Riley, the Heat overcame an 0-2 hole in the NBA Finals to beat Dallas. Under Gundy, the Heat would've wilted.

The name. Moniker of the year: D Swish.

Credit L.A. Times letter writer Jason Mathis for coming up with a twist on D Fish, the bucket-sinking Laker otherwise known as Derek Fisher.

Bucky Fox is an author in Southern California and editor of

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fish, Lakers Hooking A Title; Penguins Wing It

Derek Fisher, good to see you’re still in Club Clutch.

That .4 miracle in ’04 punched your ticket. Thursday night you upgraded with those crunch treys, lifting the Lakers to a 99-91 triumph in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Other members of the Club:

Bobby Thomson for his homer in 1951 that let The Giants Win The Pennant!

Bill Mazeroski for his World Series-ending blast in 1960.

Joe Carter for his jack that finished the 1993 Series.

Ben Roethlisberger for his big fling in last winter’s Super Bowl.

Santonio Holmes for his KO grab of that Ben zinger.

Jim O’Brien for booting the Boys in the 1971 Super Bowl.

Adam Vinatieri for kicking the Rams in the 2002 Bowl.

Doug Flutie for passing BC into college football mythology in 1984.

Robert Horry for his King killer in 2002.

Next? Thanks to Fish in the Lake, L.A. won't have to bother clinching at home.

The boys in purple and gold will collect their 15th NBA banner by winning Sunday in Orlando.

Which sets up a rematch against the Lakers' nemesis, Boston.

The Celtics clocked L.A. last year. The Lakers will own this year's title.

Kevin Garnett will no doubt get Boston back to the Finals. The Kobe-Pao punch will swing L.A. to a return trip.

So bring it on. Lakers-Celtics, 2010.

You better believe Madison Ave is generating purple/green ads as we write.

Speaking of rematches: Detroit can have its Hockeytown. The Penguins won Game 7 there 2-1 Friday to turn Pittsburgh into Titletown.

Pittsburgh thus clinched its second championship of 2009. You might remember the Steelers of NFL fame.

Maybe L.A. can duplicate such a double with a Laker/Dodger sweep.

And does Pittsburgh have a lock on history or what? You heard the previous time a team in any sport won a final series Game 7 on the road was the Pirates in 1979. That was also a year the Steelers won it all. So a Steel City two-fer again.

Look out for 2010. You can see a Pen-Wing rubber Stanley Cup Finals just the Lakers and Celtics are revving up.

And this: The Denholm & Long Show on ESPN radio has a text contest on afternoon drive time. After the Magic's disappearing act at the foul line in Game 4, the Friday q was: Keeping with the boring movie "Kobe Doin' Work," what would you call Orlando's no-show?

The two best:

"Dwight Men Can't Jump."

"Brick Fest at Tiffany's."

Bucky Fox is an author in Southern California and editor of

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lakers Better Not Be Drowning

Hand us the gaspipe. Laker fans are ready to suck on it after that suicidal loss Tuesday in the NBA Finals.

Was that Kobe in the stretch? Missing? Fumbling? Choking?

Was that Ariza blowing a dunk just when L.A. could’ve grabbed control?

Was that Bynum doing nothing? Never mind that question. The answer is obvious. His M.O. is stand around and foul.

It was all enough for a 108-104 Loss Angeles.

So for us Laker crazies shooting for a sweep, Orlandon’t.

Maybe that's not so worrisome. L.A. still leads the series 2-1.

Then again, it's enough to make us recall another Florida team that came back from 0-2 to win it all just three years ago.

Two points are especially troubling for purple-and-gold nuts 2,500 miles from the middle three games:

Stan Van Gundy. So he's sow. And has a royal Dutch name. Simply, this guy can coach like a banshee.

That lob he drew up in Game 2 was some scary genius.

Now he’s throwing Kobe for a loop. After our stud was nothing but hoop.

Bryant in the last three quarters of Game 3 looked like Sasha from the field. And Shaq at the line. And Walton dribbling. Shoot, miss, turnover.

That’s so out of character for Kobe, you have to laud the guy forcing him to dive: Gundy. Obviously the head Magician's plan is stop Bryant at all cost. If that means five guys on him, fine.

The way this coach is rolling, Magic fans have to be kissing the court that Billy Donovan pulled his about-face two years ago.

Hedo Turkoglu. Shoots with the aim of a SEAL assassin. Drives like a Hummer in field. All while standing, what, 10 feet tall?

This Magician can score at will. If I were Gundy, I’d let the Turk shoot on every play. One hundred points later, you’re sure to have a victory.

I mean, no one can stop him. The Lakers sure couldn’t in Game 3. And he scored just 18. Wait till he really heats up.

Between the Turk and Orlando’s other dead-aim sequoia, Rashard Lewis, the Lakers are facing two tall tasks.

Don’t know what the answer is. Only that an even better coach than Gundy should have one by tipoff Thursday. He’s Phil Jackson.

And this: Manny Ramirez said in his steroid defense, "I didn't kill nobody, I didn't rape nobody."

Both double negatives. So he killed and raped?

Bucky Fox is an author in Southern California and editor of

Monday, June 8, 2009

Lakers Have The Magic

Talk about nut-cuttin' time. The Lakers hardened. The Magic cracked.

Los Angeles leads 2-0 in the NBA Finals.

Orlando looks lost after its 101-96 loss Sunday.

And L.A. fans who survived that cruncher can relax. Until Game 3 Tuesday in Florida.

The NBA Finals, where heart attack happens. I about had one during Game 2. Went nuts during Lamar Odom's cavalry charge in the fourth quarter. During Courtney Lee's missed chance. During Kobe's dish to Gasol. Pao? No, Pow!

And while focusing on these two guys:

1. Andrew Bynum. Man, could he lock this series. Every Laker fans is thinking what radio analyst Dean Merrill said Monday:

"If Andrew Bynum can stay on the floor, we have ourselves a sweep."

But no. Any Magician gets near him, and Bynum takes offense. Throws an arm, something. And before you say "Don't!" he's on the bench with two fouls.

That forces Phil Jackson to devise a multiplayer D against Dwight Howard.

If Bynum could stay in the middle, L.A. would blanket Orlando's long-range bombers. And coast. Yes, his benching means Odom flies in with his super game, but he could be spotting other guys.

One more point on Jabbar's 7-foot project. Notice how everyone's reaction to a Bynum flub is "he's still young"? I'm tired of that. He's been a pro three seasons. He's 21. His moment is now. Seize it.

2. J.J. Redick. Who? The old Dukie? The same.

Just when Laker fans got nervous that Jameer Nelson was righting the Magic ship, coach Stan Van Gundy yanked him for (1) Rafer Alston, drifting this deep in the playoffs, then (2) Redick.

That sigh you heard was from 15 million L.A. fans. Whom was Redick going to stop? Did Gundy expect this guard who had done nothing in Game 1 to light it up? I'm still waiting for answers, and it's almost Tuesday.

No question Gundy is a sharp guy. Won with Miami before Pat Riley knifed him. Won with Orlando after Billy Donovan bailed.

But like Redick, Gundy looks out of his league. Running the other team is Phil Jackson, he of nine NBA title rings. As Merrill said on the air Monday, "Phil always takes a team as far as it should go."

It should go all the way now. And it will. Jackson's record 10th ring is on the way.

And this: Jeff Biggs on KLAA's "The Drive" radio show suggested Monday that Vlad Guerrero should slide to sixth in the Angels' batting order. Good for the team, said Biggs, and "Vlad would understand."

Would he? I haven't heard Guerrero speak English the six years he's been in Anaheim.

Bucky Fox is an author in Southern California and editor of

Friday, June 5, 2009

Lakers Show The Magic In Disney Duel; Radio Rides To Hero's Aid

Two factors leapt from the NBA Finals' Game 1, a 100-75 Laker landslide.

That is, aside from Kobe soaring like a Disney ride in Los Angeles and Orlando.

1. Andrew Bynum stood his ground. With him hustling to his spot in the paint — just as the radio's No. 1 hoop analyst, Dean Merrill (a regular guest of Jeff Biggs on KLAA's "The Drive"), told us to watch for — the Laker center handled Orlando’s Dwight Howard.

And how. Bynum muscled like the he-man we saw before his injuries the past two winters, and Howard slunk away with one lousy basket. So much for the phony who stole Shaq’s Superman gig.

2. Jameer Nelson wasn’t worth the gamble. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy rolled Nelson onto the court, and fortune wasn't with them.

This is the Nelson who hurt his shoulder in a weird game accident that didn’t look damaging at all. That was back in February. He missed the next four months.

By Thursday, Gundy tried to make it look like he was making a game-time decision. What a crock. Obviously the coach saw on tape weeks ago that Orlando had no chance with Rafer Alston at the point against the Lakers. Better to go with Nelson and hope he improves enough by Sunday’s Game 2.

Nelson did kill the Lakers in the regular season. But now you can see the Lakers licking their chops against him. Why? His defense is as ugly as that black mouthpiece he keeps spitting out.

By the time this series ends, Nelson won't seem like victorious Horatio at Trafalgar. He'll have met his Waterloo.

He sees after all. Enough with the darts at Roger Lodge (on right in above photo with sidekick Dave Smith).

Last week I targeted the sports radio host for having the foresight of his old TV show, “Blind Date.” In other words, not much.

Lodge’s sin? Tossing Phil Jackson to the dustbin of NBA history for losing a playoff game. Meanwhile, the Jackson Five are making 1-2-3-4 work of Orlando in the Finals.

Now I have a new perspective. Lodge might miss on his rips of the greatest coach in basketball history. But he knows history. While noting Ichiro’s hitting streak this week, he didn’t miss a beat recalling Gene Garber’s stoppage of Pete Rose’s 44-gamer in 1978.

And Lodge is dead-on with his latest campaign: helping an injured soldier.

Army Sgt. Daniel Thornhill was in Afghanistan when a bomb blew off his legs. Now he’s at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, recovering from burn wounds.

Lodge knows a hero when he hears about one. And he's tuned in to Thornhill. The radio man made a big deal on a recent edition of “The Sports Lodge” on the Angels’ KLAA station about the sergeant’s condition.

And Lodge’s message was clear: Help our hero out, even if it’s with just a birthday card.

Send it to:

Sgt. Daniel Thornhill
Fort Sam Houston Fisher House
3623 George C. Beach Rd.
Fort Sam Houston, Texas 78234

Listen and learn: Another plus about Lodge. He and Smith don't interrupt each other. When Smith goes off on his leave-the-pitcher-in-forever tirade, Lodge lets him loose.

How refreshing after hearing KLAC's afternoon drive gang. Five guys scream at each other. And we're expected to get the point?

I sure don't.

Bucky Fox is an author in Southern California and editor of