By David Brickley – Los Angeles
Well guess who’s back.
After going 17-1, after the break, the Lakers have lost 3 straight to the Nuggets, Jazz, and most recently to the Golden State Warriors.
The last time the Lakers lost three straight, it was against Orlando, Charlotte, and Cleveland right before the break. The Cavs loss was considered when the Lakers were at their lowest.
The Cavs were a team that the Lakers beat by 55 points just a month before their 99-104 loss in Cleveland.
They were playing their worst basketball of the season. “It’s a painful, painful loss,” said Pau Gasol, after the February 16th loss to Cleveland, “It’s very disappointing. I don’t understand it.”
Then the proverbially “switch” was flipped. The Lakers would win eight in a row right out of the break, lose a close game against the Heat in Miami, and then rattle off another nine wins.
The Lakers looked unbeatable, and did the unthinkable. They came within striking distance of the #1 seeded Spurs in the West, after San Antonio dropped six in a row.
Their focus was sharp, their passion was at an all time high, and they saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
Then they drop three in a row.
Lethargic, unmotivated, sluggish, whatever word needed to describe the team that has dropped their last three. They’re not a very fun group to watch.
Its not as if the teams the Lakers have lost to have executed their offense to perfection, or played lock down defense.
The Nuggets, Jazz, and Warriors simply played harder, and possessed a stronger will to win.
The Lakers have now lost out on the chance to get home-court advantage in the West, so no more questions on if the they will catch the Spurs.
“I’m just happy you guys ain’t going to be buggin us about that … any more,” said Bryant, to the LA Times.
With four games left to play, the Lakers would like to finish the season off strong. However, don’t be surprised if they don’t. Last season, they finished the season losing four of their last six, and then went on to win a 2nd straight championship.
ABC analyst Mark Jackson said something interesting on the telecast against the Warriors. Jackson said that he has never seen anything like it, the ability to play so bad, and then flip the switch to play championship caliber basketball.
The Lakers weren’t too excited during the dog days of the season, then they got motivated after the break, now maybe their so close to the season being over that they have quit before passing the finish line.
It’s been a roller coaster of a season. At times this team has just gone through the motions, while at other times they have looked extremely motivated.
Its unknown if the Lakers will choose to flip the switch, and come out of complacency land to finish the regular season off strong.
If last season taught us anything, it doesn’t really matter.
(David Brickley is the host of the Voice of the Nation, check out recent shows, exclusive interviews, and more over at LakersPodcast.com)