The NBA season is a long arduous marathon, and perhaps the Lakers recent run of poor play is just another blip on the radar.
True they broke their three game skid, but it took yet another Kobe game winner to pull it out.
In the grand scheme of things playing like “garbage” against the Raptors probably doesn’t mean a whole lot.
It’s sort of routine for a Championship caliber team to lay up some stinkers against inferior opponents (we’ve definitely made an annoying habit of this though).
And losing three in a row doesn’t necessarily mean that much either, especially if you consider many of this decade’s NBA Champions did, at one point, lose three in a row.
But what is perhaps troubling is that only three teams this decade lost three in a row, after the month of March, and went on to win the NBA Finals. (Spurs in ’05, ’07, and Heat in ’06). Of course this really means that the other seven NBA Finals’ losers all lost three in a row after March.
Maybe this is a bad sign for the Lakers, and maybe it’s not, but clearly we are not playing as well as we could; or should be.
Anyway, that’s just something to think about, but while we’re at it, why don’t we also think about some other items of importance?
Cleveland Cavaliers -
This team is scary right now, and LeBron isn’t even what really scares me about them.
What’s scary is that they have the two things that give the Lakers the most trouble: a quick PG who can score, and physical interior play.
Every single team knows that Pau, Bynum, and Odom have major issues when teams put bodies on them, and play physical. And every single contending team seems to be able to do that effectively, and the Cavaliers are no different.
Also, there’s the added factor that every team who plays like this against us seems to get rewarded for it. Isn’t it odd that in the ’04/’08 Finals, Detroit and Boston, played “good tough” physical defense, and somehow go to the line way more times? Isn’t it also odd that Cleveland got a gazillion more foul shots in the two games we played against them this year? Basically, if we play Cleveland in the Finals, expect us to play two teams: the referees and the Cavaliers.
Oh yeah! This team also has LeBron. It’s going to be interesting to see how “post weight loss” Ron Artest does against King James. Ron clearly struggles with quicker players like Wade, and he was completely unable to even stay close to LeBron in the previous two meetings. Let’s hope the weight loss will give him a chance this time around.
The West -
Two months ago if you would’ve asked me if I thought there was anyway for the Lakers to lose before the Finals, I would’ve said, “Hell NO!”
Yeah, about that…
We’re 3-4 against Dallas and Denver, and all four of those losses have been by double-digits. Only one of those wins — against Dallas at home — was a double digit win, the other two were by a combined eleven points.
Does anybody else feel reassured?
Also, both of these teams have also added multiple players that they can throw at Kobe. I don’t think theirs any way that Aaron Afflalo, J.R. Smith, DeShawn Stevenson, or Caron Butler can stop Kobe for a series, but they have all shown that they can at least make it tough for Kobe to score. If we do get past Denver and Dallas, how much will Kobe have left in the tank for the Finals?
Let’s just say that April 8th, at Denver will be huge game! It’s a road game, it’s against maybe our biggest threat to repeat, and it’s when we should start to peak.
If we lose that game… You know what? I’m not even going to talk about losing that game. It’s a must win!
Derek Fisher -
Great guy, yes.
Can somebody explain to me what exactly we are getting out of Fisher right now? Sure, he knocks down the occasional big shot, but would we even need those damn shots if he wasn’t the biggest defensive liability in the league at the PG position?
Look, you can argue that Shannon and Farmar aren’t quite ready for prime time, or crunch time, or whatever you want to call it, but we’re never going to know with Fisher playing the bulk of the minutes.
Fish’ is also one of the worst passing PG in the league (2.5 apg), and he’s lost his fastball (.358 from deep is hardly “knock down”).
I really really don’t know if the Lakers can win it all with Fish’ starting.
Of course I was saying the same thing last year — and I was saying it all year too — and he came up pretty big. I don’t know if he has anything left in that well of his, but let’s just hope so.
The Finals -
“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.
But I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep.” - Robert Frost
The Lakers dark deep woods, are only lovely if they keep their promise, which is an NBA Title. Indeed we do have miles to go before we sleep, but at least we have miles.
Improvement can still be made defensively, offensively, mentally, and physically. Some of the greatest teams have peaked late in the season, like our ’00-’01 squad.
Let’s hope that our well traveled team is able to keep their promises when they’re out of the woods, and they finally lay down to sleep.