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The Kings That Could've Been.....


Jason Terry (KC) www.basketballboards.net writer

July 14, 2002


Crack! That was the sound of Mike Bibby's nose popping after he received a quick elbow from Kobe Bryant at the end of game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. No, this wasn't an accident and no, this wasn't your typical referee no call. This was about man-hood. As Bibby lay disoriented on the hardwood, many Kings fans knew that the little respect their team had earned, and the toughness that they had displayed against the defending world champions was not good enough. The Kings had failed to garner respect from a certain, special team. No, not the Lakers---- the officials.
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Game 1:

The Kings and the Lakers got set for a rematch after the massacre that was playoffs 2001. The Kings fresh off of their round 1 win over the Dallas Mavericks took center stage at the Arco arena. They worked all season for this moment. For the chance to perform their trademark dance in front of their crowd against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Kings came in with a newfound confidence and the Lakers came in without an aura that had been wounded after an anti-climatic series versus the San Antonio Spurs. As the game began, the crowd waited to explode. They were waiting for a glimpse of hope. Something that could get them to say, "Hey, we can beat these guys!" That moment never came. The Lakers came out sharp and took a huge first quarter lead. Each rally the Kings put together came up short. The Lakers would not be denied. Even though they received second-class treatment from the officials, the Kings were in no position to complain. They were outplayed. However, it would be the only game in the series that the Lakers actually "beat" the Kings.

Game 2:

As game 2 came to the forefront, the Kings knew that they couldn't play as bad as they had in the previous contest. This time, the Kings came out sharp and motivated. After all, it was their backs that were firmly against the wall. The Kings responded well to the pressure and played like it was the regular season. They played with a purpose, and they were no longer afraid. Game 2 served as the big boost in confidence that was sorely needed after the game 1 disappointment. The officials were tame and they called a much better game the second time around. No coincidence about it; the officials’ stay on point---- Kings win. Easy as 1-2-3..... So we thought.

Game 3:

As the series switched to Los Angeles, the pressure was still on the Kings. The Lakers had done what they needed to do by getting a split in Sacramento. The Kings responded with a fast start that quieted the Lakers crowd. The defending champs were wounded. The Kings withstood a 4th quarter rush by the Lakers to take a 2-1 series lead. Things were looking up, even though there were some questions about the officials allowing Kobe Bryant to manhandle the smaller Mike Bibby. The Kings were too high on emotion to care at that point. The Lakers were the ones that had to respond now as the Kings did what they came south to do, which was to win one game.

Game 4:

The pressure was now on the Lakers to respond. However, after another horrible first quarter, the Lakers found themselves in the exact same position that they were in during game 3. As the second quarter began there was a clear swing in momentum. The problem was that this new momentum was not earned by the Lakers, rather the officials stole it from the Kings. Time after time, Shaq would bowl over the competition with no call. On the other end, Kings players were being brutalized, while the referees swallowed their whistles. An after-the-buzzer miracle shot by Samaki Walker brought the Lakers within striking distance at the half. The second half started much like the second quarter and by the end of the game, the Lakers were in a position to win. On the final play of the game, Kobe Bryant drove to the hoop, missed a gimme and Shaq missed a follow-up lay-in. The Kings had just done the unthinkable and were now up 3 games to 1. The Lakers didn't get the memo. Kings center Vlade Divac, in an attempt to clear the ball, swatted it out right to Lakers forward Robert Horry, for the open three-point basket. This time, it was over and this time the series was even 2 games to 2.

Game 5:

It was back to the Arco arena in Sacramento for the next contest. The Kings, who were obviously disappointed, didn't let it show. They fought hard and were once again in control of the game. The Lakers made their usual fourth-quarter rally and, despite an excellent game played by the Kings, it was another photo finish. As the Kings came out for one final shot, and what seemed like their only chance to regain a stronghold on the series, they came with a plan; a plan to execute a play by using teamwork. Chris Webber proceeded to set a great screen and Mike Bibby, who had been the hero all series long, hit the soon to be game-winning shot. Kobe Bryant then missed a last second shot and the Kings were up in the series 3 games to 2.

Game 6:

Game 6 in L.A. started out like many of the other games in the series. Both teams traded baskets and it was a close affair as the first quarter ended. Little did we know that this would go down as the worst officiated basketball game since the United States' loss to the Russians in the 1972 Olympics. The theme of the game was, Shaq runs over Kings back-up center Scott Pollard, scores and draws the foul--- on Pollard. The officials were able to manipulate the game and turn it into a joke and a complete farce. The Los Angeles Lakers would go on to win after a Kobe Bryant elbow to Mike Bibby's nose pretty much typified the entire game and most of the series up to that point. After the game, the Kings were rightfully upset at the display that just took place. Kings forward Chris Webber said, "I will never forget the feeling I had when my point guard was lying on the floor with tears in his eyes." Neither would the loyal Kings fans; they that had to sit through the mockery that was supposed to be an NBA basketball game. The Lakers had tied the series at 3 games apiece, but the Kings still held the home court advantage going into the seventh and final game.

Game 7:

The culmination of one of the greatest playoff series’ ever to take place occurred at the riled up Arco arena. The game could only be described as a miraculous get together of some of today’s best players. The officials could not ruin this game, though; the drive of both teams was far too great. Much like playoff games in the past, this game was made for the finish. It was made for one team’s glory and one team’s heartbreak. As the teams played each other neck and neck, the story of the game became the inability of the Kings to hit their free throws. In a game 7, nothing is free except your chance at the line. The Kings blew it. After hours of complaints and whining about the officials, the Kings fell short in the biggest game of their lives. It was now time for the Kings to congratulate the victors and walk away with a feeling of, “We let this one slip away.” Kings fans were left to watch the cocky celebration of the Lakers in their locker room, with “our” Western Conference championship trophy. The Kings were destined for glory, but what had been taken away in previous games, had been given away in game 7.
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As the fans drift back to present day, we realize that the Lakers have once again reached the mountaintop. The argument has become long and drawn out, as to whether they earned it or not. Any NBA champion has to earn their respective place in the sun, but as Lakers fans celebrate, let them remember that the game 7 victory they bragged about and their team celebrated never should have been. As we come back to the question of respect, I will take an excerpt from Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal, who recently appeared on Jay Leno’s late night talk show. “Sacramento is a great WNBA team.” Shaq can speak now, unafraid of the consequences of his words, but come next May, he will have to face these “women” from Sacramento again and the next time around, the results may not be as pleasant.


Contact Jason Terry: [email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Originally posted by BizzyRipsta
good job! i especially liked your opening paragraph...
Thanks Bizzy! This is the first article I have ever written.... I hope people enjoy it. :yes:
 

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if your going to talk about bad officiating in game 6, please remember the horrible officiating against the lakers in game 5... You seemed to have forgotten it, thanks :)
 

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:rolleyes: Please...you call that a story...so much for writers being unbiased...whine whine whine
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Originally posted by Wilt_The_Stilt
:rolleyes: Please...you call that a story...so much for writers being unbiased...whine whine whine
LOL, you can't please everyone.... This isn't for Lakers fans. :no:
 

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Originally posted by Wilt_The_Stilt
:rolleyes: Please...you call that a story...so much for writers being unbiased...whine whine whine
Oh, Wilt, writers don't have to be UNbiased - in fact, most times writers are extremely biased, as most human beings generally are opinionated except for people who tend to be wishy-washy! :D

BTW, nice writing KC.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Originally posted by TheRifleman


Oh, Wilt, writers don't have to be UNbiased - in fact, most times writers are extremely biased, as most human beings generally are opinionated except for people who tend to be wishy-washy! :D

BTW, nice writing KC.
Thanks.... :D
 

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Pretty good for a first try

I don't want to criticize you much, but I will say that it was obviously written from the Kings' point of view. You neglected to mention that the officiating in game 5 seemed to favor the Kings. You described the Lakers' celebration after the win in game 7 as "cocky." I've never seen a cocky celebration after a win to put a team into a championship. Overall, the whole thing was from one point of view. I like that:D . I don't necessarily agree with it, but it's good.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Re: Pretty good for a first try

Originally posted by moTIGS
I don't want to criticize you much, but I will say that it was obviously written from the Kings' point of view. You neglected to mention that the officiating in game 5 seemed to favor the Kings. You described the Lakers' celebration after the win in game 7 as "cocky." I've never seen a cocky celebration after a win to put a team into a championship. Overall, the whole thing was from one point of view. I like that:D . I don't necessarily agree with it, but it's good.
When I say "cocky" I mean people like Rick Fox saying "We knew we would win the whole time." "It was never in doubt." I think that's a bit cocky.

This editorial isn't supposed to be written for Lakers fans. It is supposed to be biased towards a Kings point of view. That was intentional. I welcome criticism and I appreciate yours. That is the only way I can get better. Thanks for the praise as well.
 

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great article but u did leave out some things like game 5 and the cockyness part on behalf of the lakers, but overall great article
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Originally posted by KBStAt
great article but u did leave out some things like game 5 and the cockyness part on behalf of the lakers, but overall great article
Thank you very much. I'm glad a Lakers fan can put aside the personal issue and analyze my article for what it is: A biased acount of the WCF, from a Kings Fans standpoint.

I have taken into account the things all of you have said. It is greatly appreciated.... :yes:
 
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