Thursday, May 14, 2009

While we wait...

There was a story in the Atlanta papers last weekend that I’m surprised didn’t get more run in national media circles: Before Game 3 against Atlanta Saturday night, LeBron James reserved all three floors of a midtown restaurant and nightclub for a post-game bash. (Eyewitness accounts stating that the Cristal “flowed like Niagara Falls” could not confirmed as of press time. However, several wire reports verified the presence of “mad honies up in this piece.”)

The first two rounds of the playoffs have certainly been festive for the Cavs. Eight wins, all of them by 10 points or more. So, is the party officially over now as we watch Boston and Orlando pummel each other for the right to play Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals? Is anybody worried that this team has yet to face any real adversity? To paraphrase Martin Lawrence in the made-for-TV edit of “Bad Boys II,” did the “sheep (sic) just get real?”

We will discover the answers to these critical questions next Monday at the earliest, according to the NBA (Wednesday if Boston-Orlando goes seven games). I’m not worried about the Cavs becoming lax or comfortable with their envious position as alpha dog. While I do expect a greater challenge no matter who emerges from the Magic-Celts slugfest, I’m reassured by the Cavs’ mental toughness, an attribute that in past years buoyed Mike Brown’s teams even when the surrounding cast around LeBron was found wanting.

These Cavs simply do not beat themselves: When they were hammered in the 2007 Finals by San Antonio and were edged out of the post-season last year by the Celts, they lost to the better team in both instances.

That cerebral sturdiness, now backed by some real talent, will prevent LeBron and Co. from becoming complacent in their good fortune. I cannot imagine Cleveland giving up a 10-point lead with five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, as Orlando did this week against Boston. The Magic are the definition of a paper tiger…a collection of talent rather than a team. The shame is they are probably better than the Garnett-less Celtics.

Maybe Stan Van Gundy really is a “master of panic” as Shaq labeled him. Orlando is a squad that obviously cannot handle success…the Celtics are tough, defense-minded, and championship-tested, but Orlando seems to play not to lose when faced with adversity. Anybody see Hedo Turkoglu get called for an eight-second backcourt violation during a critical possession at the end of Game 1 in Boston? That would not happen to Cleveland…I cannot recall the last time I saw one of my hometown teams so focused. If there’s one thing you can say about this year’s Cavs, it’s that they take nothing for granted.

OK, you ‘Lost’ me
(Ahead are my thoughts on the season finale of “Lost.” Read on at your own risk, for thar be major spoilers off the starboard bow, mateys!)

Before “Lost,” J.J. Abrams created “Alias,” a pulpy spy series that also straddled the realms of science fiction and mythological weirdness. By the end of its five-year run, the show was an incomprehensible mess of plot twists and its own kooky mythology.

That’s how I felt after watching last night’s “Lost.” Seriously…what the hell was that? It wasn’t a bad episode, it was just kind of wonky and confusing, and presented a slew of new questions that I don’t really care to see answered.

We finally meet Jacob, the enigmatic spirit who appears to control the island. We still don’t know who Jacob really is, but that’s OK. He’s not Christian, Aaron, Locke, Lee Iacocca or any of the other rumored names floating through the dorky Internet transom.

The newest twist is Jacob’s apparent battle with another ageless, God-like figure that’s as powerful as he is - and whom we discover is posing as the actually non-resurrected John Locke. This guy also manipulated Ben to seemingly murder Jacob - but not before Jacob warned non-Locke that “they're coming.” Oy. The letdown here is introducing a new character and having him “find a loophole” and “kill” the all-powerful Jacob without any buildup. What’s the bloody point, other than to deepen the show’s already complex mythology?

The show ends with the 1977 crew – Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Juliet, et al - trying to stop The Incident that lead to the building of the hatch and eventually to Oceanic 815 crashing on the island. Our last image is Juliet setting off the hydrogen bomb that may or may not change the future. Boom. White screen. The End. Eight-month cliffhanger, ahoy.

Whatever…I actually enjoyed the season as a whole, but it was not as good as last year. The focus and intensity of season four was somewhat missing; last night’s disappointing finale, perhaps the weakest in the show’s history, did not help matters any.

With all that’s happened in five long seasons of my favorite show, I still stand by my overarching theory: The island is on the moon. Makes as much sense as anything that happened last night, no?