Two words: Zack. Greinke. The best story in baseball this season had his best game ever.
It was almost -- almost -- enough to knock the NBA's double-trouble last night from the lead of today's SN column.
I will only say this once: If you look back to November, in the NBA preseason picks, I predicted Rockets-Magic in the NBA Finals. This morning may be as close as I get.
The Rockets were one of a very very short list of teams actually competing for a championship this year, and they seem to have the ingredients to hang with the Lakers: Yao as the hub, Ron-Ron as the X-factor, Battier as the defensive glue, Brooks as the backcourt scoring punch. Anyone else think the Rockets were sunk when Yao went out with 5 minutes to play? Houston was still ahead, but you could see the Lakers coming -- especially if the Rockets didn't have Yao. His return and subsequent contributions (8 pts in the final minutes)... let's just say that if that happened with KG in Boston or LeBron in NY, the hype would never stop.
The Celtics are another matter: Who DIDN'T see the Magic winning in Boston last night coming a mile away? The Celtics probably thought the first two quarters were a few more stanzas of OT against the Bulls -- of course, the Bulls weren't as good as the Magic.
As predictable as the Celtics' Game 1 loss was the notion that the Magic nearly let an umpteen-point lead slip away in the 2nd half. I almost thought they would throw the game away entirely -- but even the psychologically challenged Magic couldn't blow THAT big of a lead.
LeBron as MVP: Really, it was no contest. Statistically, he put together one of the greatest individual seasons of all time. And he led his team to the best record in the NBA, including the 40-win season at home. He makes everyone better and is, himself, unstoppable.
I asked this in the column: At what point does LeBron get the "Anyone But You" effect on his MVP votes? Presumably, he will be the best player in the NBA every year for the next, say, decade. Like they did with Jordan, the MVP voters will want some variety: Maybe Dwight Howard one year, maybe Wade, maybe Durant...eventually.
But let's not kid ourselves: LeBron is the best player in the game. He will remain the best player in the game. He may very well be the best player ever. Without a ring, it is all meaningless.
Complete SN column here. More later.