Phil Jackson’s two three-peat championship teams triumphed minus home-court edge in the finals.
Tim Duncan might as well be getting long on the tooth, but most from his enviable supporting cast isn’t.
As a result, the San Antonio Spurs seem to have rediscovered their championship formula and are off to one of their best starts in franchise history.
Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics‘ determination sparkles remarkably, eager to make sure that this time, should there be another seventh game in the finals, they are backed by the comfort and nerves that their home crowd provides.
The Lakers? The champions? Well, they’re just well behind both teams in the win-loss column, unable to orchestrate their mojos against any of the league’s towering powerhouses.
They bowed to Boston in jarring fashion Sunday afternoon 109-96, while another test from Spurs looms just around the corner.
Both teams have embraced the role as the Purple and Gold’s nemeses for years, and what they continue to prove this season is that everyone else should better watch out, for the league’s dominion is once again within their grasps.
Their records in standings speak for themselves.
However, down the road, the defending champs have this to say: Two of three of coach Phil Jackson’s three-peat championship squads have notched their respective championship victories on the road, sans the perk of the series’ home-court advantage.
Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls did it both in ’93 and ’98, conquering the relentless Charles Barkley-led Phoenix Suns and Karl Malone’s and John Stockton’s pick-and-roll-powered Utah Jazz, respectively.
In 2002, Shaq’s and Kobe Bryant‘s Lakers toppled the top-seeded Sacramento Kings at Arco Arena for the Western Conference supremacy in Game 7, paving the way to a dominating championship run.
The lessons of the past ring true until proved otherwise: Jackson knows best how to get a whole team in peak condition and proper mindset amid pressure-packed playoff challenges.
And whether or not they finish the regular season looking down on everyone else, it doesn’t matter.
That’s because great teams thrive and win on the road, and there’s no better example than Jackson’s illustrious masterpieces.
Staring at the prospect of consequently facing both formidable giants (Spurs and Celtics) on enemy grounds for the openers of a double dose of promisingly intense playoff showdowns, history says the two-time champs indeed shouldn’t shudder.
“It’s not the playoffs yet. We’re still playing regular season games. We’ll get there in time,” said Jackson after Los Angeles’ latest loss to Boston.
As the saying goes: History repeats itself. Most of the time, it does. True. So now, L.A. hopefuls, take a deep breath and take heart.