It’s been said that we can learn more from losing than we can from winning.
What we can learn from the Lakers’ 84-82 loss to the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night is that this team is starting to hit its stride.
Los Angeles has won 2 of its last 3 games since the abrupt departure of then head coach Mike Brown. Under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff, the Lakers have displayed a hint of the basketball brilliance we knew was present in this team since this summer.
Granted, the two wins came at the expense of the struggling Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings. But wins don’t keep a record of who you play. And with the changes this organization is faced with, the Lakers needed to face opponents that could sharpen their skills as opposed to testing them. Simply put, they needed easy prey.
After all, a lion hunting for the first time doesn’t go after a full grown gazelle.
Despite the Lakers committing 17 turnovers, Kobe and crew had the Spurs in a death grip for most of the 48 minute contest. The Lakers held San Antonio to just 38 percent shooting and just 84 points. Not too shabby for a team that has been criticized for their defensive deficiencies. Sure, San Antonio came into Los Angeles and left with the victory. But if the Lakers had sank a couple more free throws, we all would be telling a different story. That’s how close it really was.
The outcome of the previous two games were much different, with the Lakers winning in double digits each outing. Sure, they were playing with more emotion and determination than before, but that’s expected when a team fires its coach 5 games into the season. Everyone knows the players will be next on the chopping block should the losses continue to pile up.
The Phoenix Suns will be in town on Friday, looking to add another game to their win column at the Lakers expense. It’s still not determined if the former architect of the the Sun’s offense, newly crowned head coach of the Lakers, Mike D’Antoni, will be calling the plays from the sidelines for the Purple and Gold. Regardless of the circumstances, the Lakers need to feed off their continued improvement and take care of business. The Sun’s are a scrappy team and will be giving the Lakers all they could handle. The Lakers need to come out and remind Phoenix why there are so many championship banners hanging in Staples Center: When you enter the lion’s den, the is only one certain outcome.
Go sick ‘em, Lakers.