I have one question for you. How do you like us now? I mean now that we are referred to (at least momentarily) as the 8th seed. I have been a Lakers lover for a long, long time, and I must say it sounds good… and it feels even better.
Now this statement is coming from someone that years ago couldn’t have even imagined uttering a strange statement like that. Afterall, I am accustomed and even spoiled by the success of the Lakers over the years. Since I started following this team all those years ago, I have been privileged to bask in the glorious sunshine of victory. I have even conjured up in my mind the fact that this organization has always resembled that of a royal family. Now with royalty comes a certain sense of entitlement and arrogance.
As Lakers fans, we accept nothing short of division titles, conference championships, and Larry O’Brien trophies. We would never dare to think that in any given season the Lakers would be fighting for playoff seeds like kids fight for the biggest piece of cake or the largest bowl of ice cream. Except this year.
The first thing I want to talk about is my trip into Staples Center on March 3rd. In my humble opinion, this is the game that has fueled the latest run to the playoffs. It’s not just because I was in Sec 106, Row 5, Seat 11. It’s not because Ron Howard was in the house, or because I was wearing my Lakers hat.
Okay, maybe it was because of all those reasons, but the way the Lakers played that particular Sunday afternoon was a more logical explanation. This game had everything I expected AND MORE. Numerous lead changes, clutch shooting, stellar defensive effort, oh, and did I mention Kobe went nuts? I mean at his age, doing what he is doing, at the level he is doing it is simply amazing. When he served Josh Smith that nice round piece of pumpkin pie on the slam dunk, the game winning layup, the Steve Blake steal with the game hanging in the balance. This game had all of that, and free tacos at the end. Yes, that’s right, the Lakers held the Hawks under 100 points in the game.
Sure we dropped a game to the Thunder, but the comeback efforts in the games against the Raptors and the Hornets, were of epic proportion. These are the types of battles won by kings. Not the Sacramento Kings, the kings of the royal family called the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers displayed a will to win in those games, and showed us the pride and integrity we have all come to expect from them. Then the homecoming performance from Dwight Howard last night. Are we finally seeing a glimpse of the guy we thought we were going to see all year long?
The 8 seed. Has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? But don’t fret, these Lakers will not be rolling around on the ground looking for tiny morsels of food like a village peasant for long. The 8 seed will soon turn to the 7 seed, maybe even the 6 seed. Then this royal family will ride into the playoffs, and the rest of the Western Conference will take notice. Soon and very soon the guys in purple and gold will grow accustomed to hearing the opposing teams saying,
“The Lakers are coming!” ”The Lakers are coming!”