I interrupt March Madness to bring you my opinions. Not that they are more important than the most exciting weekend in sports by any stretch of the imagination. However, the NBA is getting close to the start of their own tournament. A little thing called the NBA playoffs. As the regular season winds down, and teams like the Lakers make that final push to grab hold of one of those remaining gold tickets allowing entrance to the playoff pool, the Lakers are poised to make a big splash off the high board.
As I write, Pau Gasol is expected to play tonight after a long absence nursing a foot injury. Kobe will be back on the court after resting his injured ankle, and the rest of the band is ready to go. Nash, Howard, MWP, and the role players are ready for the stretch drive. This is it folks. It’s time for the Lakers to prove they belong in the run for the rings. It’s time to stop losing to teams the likes of the sorry Suns, and show the world they have what it takes to hoist another championship banner. Either ratchet up the effort and energy another notch or start making alternate plans for the summer.
When you look at the teams in the Western Conference that will be staring the Lakers in the face, & blocking their path to the NBA Finals, it can start to become a bit intimidating and a tad bit overwhelming. San Antonio, OKC, Memphis, Denver, Houston, Golden State, the Clippers. All talented teams, all with their own arsenal of weapons at the ready. And all with the same goal as the Lakers. WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP. And let’s not forget teams in the Eastern Conference chasing the same thing. A little team called the Miami Heat have been playing like they may want to run the table again.
With all that being said, let me be very clear about one thing. This Lakers team can be every bit as good and every bit as dangerous as all the teams that will be playing for the Larry O’Brien trophy. You can’t overlook pedigree and your Lakers have a tremendous championship pedigree. And you won’t find a guy with more fight and determination and competitive spirit than Kobe. The question is not are the Lakers good enough to win the championship, it’s do they want to? If they decide they want to stop messing around and form that special brotherhood that championship teams need to form watch out! The championship road is treacherous, but if the Lakers crash the party they could be lethal.
Unfortunately, the Lakers continue to be their own worst enemy, as witnessed with the latest meltdown against the Wizards last night. Simply inexcusable loss, and all the more reason to question who this team really is. We will find out soon enough. Champs or Chumps? It’s up to the Lakers to decide.