Trouble in La La Land? LA Lakers

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Wednesday, December 29, 2010 with No comments
April 29th of 2007, the Chicago Bulls completed a 4 game sweep of the world champion Miami Heat.  Looking back, the outcome could have been predicted on opening night of the 2006/07 season.  That night, which was supposed to be the night that the NBA champions would showcase their dominance turned into the worst championship performance in the history of Ring Ceremony Night.  The Miami Heat lost by 42 points to the "Baby" Bulls, a team that they defeated 4 games to 2 in the first round of the playoffs five months prior.  It was during that playoff series that the Bulls were arguably the Heat's toughest playoff opponent.  Some members of that Bulls team even thought they deserved to win the playoff series which they lost to the Heat, but the signs of change were obvious.

April 30th 2010, Pau Gasol tipped in a Kobe Bryant miss with a half a second left while the Lakers were down a point to the Oklahoma Thunder in the decisive game six to give the Lakers the series win.  The Lakers would go on to win their 15th NBA championship while the Thunder who felt as if it was their destiny to win spent the off season not fishing but reflecting.  When the 2010/11 NBA season started the Lakers jumped out to an 8-0 record but their opponents weren't proven, not championship calibre.  Thus far this season against teams .500 or better, the Lakers have a losing record of 2 wins and 5 losses.  To make matters worse they just hit a rough patch losing their last three games by more than 15 points each including their Christmas Day showdown with the Miami Heat.

The hype was there, the stars were out, but the Lakers put on a horrific performance.  Make no mistake about it, luck wasn't on the Heat's side on Christmas Day, Miami just went to Los Angeles and thoroughly defeated the Lakers and in the process demoralized the current team.  It was supposed to be the game that the Lakers hushed the NBA universe by defeating the hyped and hated Heat but it turned into a revelation, the coaches and the players knew what hit them.  Just like the 06/07 Heat team, the two time defending NBA champion Lakers are experiencing the championship hangover i.e. we've already won so we don't have to fight as hard to win another.

"It's like these games mean more to our opponents than they do to us," Bryant said. "I think we need to get that straight -- play with more focus, put more [emphasis] on these games. I don't like it. ... We know what we're capable of doing, and that's part of the problem."

"Individually, you have to make that decision on what's important," Bryant said. "The game has to be the most important thing. ... This is serious stuff. You don't just have two rings and say, 'That's enough. We're satisfied with what we've got.' I'm not going to let that slide."

Lamar Odom has said, “Part of our problem is we’re cocky and we feel like we shouldn’t lose, we can’t lose.”

As predicted, the next game against the Spurs Kobe Bryant tried to take matters into his own hands and reverted back to the Kobe of old, the Kobe who didn't trust his teammates and would rather count on his god given, yet diminishing talent to push his team to a win.  He did so by taking 27 shots and only converting 8 and during the end of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd quarter, Kobe missed 13 straight shots also for the entire game Kobe only had 2 free throw attempts and 1 assist.  His perimeter game just wasn't there nor was the team concept.  After the game Pau Gasol was at a loss for words while trying to identify what went wrong.

"I don't think we played the smartest game, put it that way," Gasol said. "I don't think we attacked smart out there. We've got to recognize what's going on and understand where our strengths are against certain opponents and try to exploit them.
"Whatever needs to be fixed, we've got to do it all together. It can't be an individual effort from nobody. It's got to be all together on a string, like a family."
Translation needed:  Kobe, stop shooting and pass the damn ball so we can run the offense that's won us the last two NBA titles!
If the playoffs were to start today the Lakers would end up playing the Thunder again in the first round.  How ironic?  Even though the Lakers didn't have to play the Thunder on opening night, they have yet to face off thus far this season.  Is it the Thunder's destiny to end the Lakers championship run?  Anything is possible but I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Lakers will NOT win this season's NBA championship!  In the current state that they're in, their fate will be the same as the 2006 championship Heat team, a questionable season of finger pointing and a possible first round exit.