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

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