Getty Images | Photo By Jeff Gross

Towards the end of December the Lakers were arguably playing their worst basketball during the Pau Gasol era.

During the stretch they lost four of six, by an average of 17 points.

Including a 19-point loss against the Milwaukee Bucks who were playing without their best player (Brandon Jennings), and a 16-point embarrassment on Christmas Day against the Heat, in what was marketed as the NBA’s “Game of the Year”.

Pau Gasol looked wore down, the three point shots weren’t falling like they were early in the season, Bynum’s return created more problems then positives, the bench was non-existent, and the panic set in.

Lamar Odom, although a lot of his post-game comments contain “Umm, (long sigh), we….(pause)…have to….umm…(long sigh)” Said something to me in the locker room last season that resonated.

“A NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint”

Sure, its been said before, and its not the most brilliant statement ever made, but its something Lakers fans often forget.

A six game stretch doesn’t decide a championship, a loss to the Bucks isn’t all that bad, and a four game losing streak is nothing more then a bump in the road to a championship caliber team.

Take the 104-85 loss to the Memphis Grizzles back on January 2nd. After the game, Phil Jackson said, “Kobe has to screw up the game and start energizing the team by going one-on-one and that takes the rest of the guys out as a consequence.”

It was the 4th loss in the aforementioned 6 game stretch, Kobe Bryant “screwed” the game up by going 10-22 from the field, including forcing multiple three pointers going one for seven from beyond the arc.

Reports then start to come out that Kobe Bryant has not been practicing due to swelling in his knees, then he makes the following statement after passing Dominique Wilkins for 10th all time scoring.

“Even in my prime I couldn’t dunk like Dominique”. Bryant Said.

Wait?

Does, Kobe think he’s out of his prime?

Then one starts to think, well, his scoring average is down, he has finger injuries that have been deemed un-fixable, heck he can’t even practice with the team because his knees are so bad.

Then you may come to two conclusions, the Lakers aren’t looking so hot these days, and Kobe may be deteriorating before our very eyes.

Then two things happened.

Four wins later, the Lakers put together the 3rd biggest win in franchise history by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers by 55 points, 112-57. Showing what a two-time champion is suppose to do to a team that came in losing 19 of their last 20.

The following night the Lakers go up to Golden State. A few misses here and a few there, and Kobe may be labeled with the “screwed up the game” tag again.

He did screw up the game plan that was for sure, but I think Phil was O.K. with it.

30 Of Kobe Bryant’s 39 points came in the second half, including 17-points in the final 5:39 of the fourth quarter.

“It don’t matter who’s on me. When it’s go time, it’s go time,” Bryant said. “You have the responsibility to come through for your team and make the right play. Tonight, I did that.”

Doesn’t sound like someone out of his prime.

As you watch Kobe stick his bottom jaw out, exposing an under-bite when he is in Black Mamba mode, ask yourself. Is that guy going to let this opportunity pass him by?

The Lakers understand the pace, and the ups and downs of an NBA season, they then know once the 82 games are in the books…

All they have to do is sprint pass the finish line.

  • gugy

    Thank you for this article!

    I have been saying this for at least since this site was created. Lakers go through this kind of bumps every fu-cking season.
    Kobe is deteriorating every fu-cking season, meanwhile he goes to prove everybody wrong in June.
    Damn, Lakers fans need to learn to have some faith on PJ and Kobe. They always find a way to turn around things.

    • HATER

      Im with you on that! Go LAKERS!

    • lakers_The_Truth

      Well said!
      I will tell you this, if the Lakers were playing like the Spurs is right now I would be way more worried. That’s not their characteristic.
      That’s why I feel at some point in the season the Spurs will break down and not make all the way.
      Lakers and Boston for the tie-break is my feeling.

    • marj

      dat’s y we luv dem esp. KOBE for making games so exciting & thrilling!!! GO LAKERS, GO!!!

  • Mr. Anonymous

    Doesn’t matter if Kobe is 18 or 81, the man puts on a show when it matters most.

  • ilikebasketball

    this post sounds like a premature sigh of relief.
    we are only half way through the season.

    • lakers_The_Truth

      true but s a reassurance that this team is far from dead.

      • ilikebasketballl

        yep, and that is nice

  • steelkobe

    Great article…ur rite, i think alot of ppl, myself included (sometimes) forget that the season is a marathon, not a sprint. However, we gotta get back up to that top seed before we can relax til the playoffs

  • Short Dog Loc

    No need to run. Let’s walk back to the Finals.
    “Let’s walk down f… them all”

    Lakers will get home court.
    spurs will get bounced off in the first round by the thunder or some shiit.

    Short Dog Loc
    Real Fan

  • GOD AND KARMA

    LAKERS VS OKC THUNDER MONDAY 01-17-11 (MLK DAY) KEVIN DURANT NEED TICKETS?–> http://bit.ly/a6iLTr

  • 253WA

    NO NEED TO PANIC LAKER NATION, EVERYTHING IS FINE!!!

  • Barracuda

    Yea! …finally beating them pesky (under 50%) Teams…yep! them critters were 6 out of the last 8…(lost to only 1 of them).

    The next 5 + weeks are (mostly) against some of the very best teams.

    So put on some Willy Nelson, cause were “going on the road again”.

    • LakerMarc

      Nol willy nelson..not even kidding.

  • Likwidsage

    Finally. A post that truly understand what a Laker season is made up of every year.