After what was largely an uninspiring NBA season, the Lakers and Pacers gave us some great theater in the finals. Game four was a classic, as Kobe Bryant dominated overtime after Shaquille O’Neal had fouled out. But while Kobe, and Reggie Miller, and Jalen Rose had their moments, the finals belonged to Shaq. He dominated the final game with 41 points, the third time he had scored 40 in the series. He tore through the Pacers in a variety of ways: getting position down low and forcing his way in for powerful dunks, grabbing rebound after rebound and slamming them home, or hitting little fall-away shots. Despite Shaq’s dominance, throughout the series and especially last night the Pacers took every punch the Lakers had and kept fighting back. Indiana led after three quarters last night, nearly forcing a game seven, before the Lakers and Shaq finally wore them down. It was a thrilling game to watch. The game and the series proved that the NBA can still bring us intriguing matchups and dramatic, quality basketball. I just wish we didn’t have to snooze through nine months of drudgery to get it.
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