A loss is a loss, its how you lose that determines who you are!
O.C. Register: The Lakers were back.
Not to Orlando after last visiting in June. Not from 10 down in the fourth quarter.
They were back to being competitors, and that’s why their loss Sunday to the Magic will stand as a victory in the long run.
The masters of the obvious will call this a low point, the team’s first three-game skid with Pau Gasol. The real truth is that the Lakers laid out there: high-intensity effort, same as they brought last spring when they were good enough to be NBA champions while losing lost five out of 11 postseason road games.
It’s that difficult to win on the road against focused, good teams, so no shame in not quite pulling it out Sunday.
The Magic showed up playing well, riding a four-game winning streak, and motivated after countless days spent sitting in the treatment room at their training facility, where there hangs a photo of Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelsondejectedly watching the Lakers celebrate the championship on Orlando’s home floor.
“That was just a battle,” Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. “That was much more a battle than a basketball game. It was extremely physical, both teams fought extremely hard the entire way.”
As usual in their post-title season, the Lakers ran into a team that fundamentally wanted it more. For a change, the Lakers played like they wanted it, too.
“I saw what I wanted to see,” Kobe Bryant said afterward. “If we play with this kind of effort, it’s going to be hard for a team to beat us four games in a series.”