A month and a half later, the NBA bubble continues to float in the air like a fable that only needs to assign the protagonism that corresponds to the champions. With the unlikely deployment that the coronavirus has forced, players, technicians and other employees locked in the Disney World complex in Orlando as if it were a sports Big Brother, nothing like the greatest historical rivalry of the great league on the planet to finish off the appetizing of the matter.
The Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics look at each other sideways, hanging on each other like two old bedmates who meet again in the same ointment. In between the Denver Nuggets and the Miami Heat have been planted, two teams with packaging, without the luster that characterizes the two most successful franchises of all time, but greased to give a scare to the minimum confusion. For now, the first was taken by the Celtics, defeated in the inaugural duel of the Eastern Final (114-117).
Waiting for the foreseeable reaction from Brad Stevens' men, favorites by the hairs against which by results is the best team in the bubble (only a loss for Miami in the playoff), the pressure falls on leathery shoulders like those of LeBron James. The one from Akron is the great star that survives the inclemency of the qualifiers, defeated the other Los Angeles contender, the Clippers of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, by the tenacity of Nikola Jokic and company. There is the paradox that whoever is probably number two of those who remain in Orlando is one of his teammates, Anthony Davis. This, added to the responsibility with respect to the victory for which the Lakers are distinguished, paints all the pressure yellow.
It is the panorama that gained strength in the eighties, when the magic of Magic Johnson or the class of Larry Bird redefined basketball as a mass phenomenon, condensed everything into a duel , Lakers-Celtics, which nurtures the heritage of the sport. Three finals in four years (1984, 1985 and 1987; the first for Boston, the next two for the Lakers) that allowed to recover the aroma of classic fermented in the sixties, six equal finals (all for the Celtics) in that decade.
The new millennium brought with it a valley through which both colossi had to wander, in search of the perfect formula to rebuild the foundations of success. From this process, a championship for the franchise of the great Irish and Catholic city in the US germinated, 2008 against the glamorous Lakers of Bryant and Pau Gasol, who had their revenge in 2010, sweet after also winning the 2009 ring , this time against the Orlando Magic.
What then seemed like a rise to the skies ended in another difficult time for both teams. In Los Angeles, they had not seen their flagship in the NBA finals since 2013, a calamity for a franchise that does not understand processes, moments or evolutions, and that at the hand of James yearns to recover the glitter among which they are accustomed let's move. For now, his technician, Frank Vogel, has hit the right key on the track, combining LeBron's command and Davis's decisive ability with a group of squires who eat the track, from the veteran Rondo to the surprising Caruso.
The Celtics have looked a little higher, blessed as they have been since they had the precocious Stevens on the bench. Now they have managed to assemble a great litter of young people, with Jayson Tatum, called to be the next great figure in the league, at the helm, and talents like Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart at his side.
With Miami and Denver calling for the floor, by the end of the month it will be known whether it is time to dust off the history books.