By Steve Haywood Special to Published Jun 11, 2008 at 7:23 AM

Aight... Yea, I said it, aight. And that is how I meant it when it comes to the NBA Finals moving west to Cali. First this game is a grown-man business, and you better keep your eye on the ultimate prize.

Bostons' big 3 left two-thirds of that group on the tarmac in Massachusetts (Pierce and Garnett). Well the good news is its about time Walter Ray Allen showed up. Grown folks tend to do better in an environment that they are used to, where they are comfortable, and confident, that was the case for the Lakers on Tuesday night in Staples Center as they closed the deal on their first win of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Kobe Bean Bryant (always remember, great athletes and serial killers use their middle names) did his thing and dropped 36 pts on the "Cs" while helping shut down Paul Pierce on 2-of-14 shooting. It has been said and will continue to be said by this observer, ‘When it comes to the "glorious association," and most sports the great ones can carry their game on the road and close the show.' The great ones always do.

Think about anyone who has won the ring in recent times in the NBA -- they usually have their greatest performances in their road jerseys, from Magic in the Boston Garden in ‘87 to D. Wade killing Dallas in ‘06, and of course Michael Jeffery Jordan in just about every final he laced them up.

It is no coincidence those teams got it done. Even some honorable mentions from Reggie Millers' 25 point fourth quarter in Madison Square Garden to Lebron's epic explosion on Detroit in the Eastern Conference Finals last year stand out more because of the hostile environment in which they were accomplished.

Notice the free throw attempts tonight...hmmm, I did too.

The fix is in. The Tim Donaghy / NBA refs blog is on the way. "That being said", enjoy the Lakers showing up at least in terms of Kobe and SASHA Vujacic (What?) in Game 3, and lets see how those other guys in the green uniforms respond to the second-guessing of their skill, heart and competence the next 48 hours.

Remember, you have to be special to perform in any environment, and blessed with talent and work ethic to achieve the results that consistently create success. Great teams and athletes, porn stars and race horses come to mind when I try to emphasize this point. Tell me its not true...what did brown do for you?

God, I love my job.



Steve Haywood Special to

Steve Haywood is the host of “That Being Said,” which airs weeknights at 6 p.m. on Milwaukee’s ESPN Radio 1510 Days / 1290 Nights. A lifelong Milwaukee resident, Steve has been working on the radio since 1996 and also is executive producer of Sports Perspectives on MATA Community Media.

After graduating from Milwaukee Tech High School in 1985, Haywood attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he graduated in 1991.

He has covered a number of major events, including the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2002 and the NBA All-Star Game in 2003.

Haywood, 39, is married with two kids, a dumb cat and a dog described as a “real curmudgeon.”