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.

Clutch, yes.

Washed up?

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.

  • Anthony

    Great article. I really liked the end and the part about Fish. I’m sorry but he’s done as far as being a starting point guard. Look around the league and tell me how many starting PG’s are worse than him? The number is small and our supposed championship hopes will be even smaller if he doesn’t turn it around. That or we force someone else into the line up.

    Our bench is already horrid, so why not stick Lamar in there? hehe. He can be our Magic.

    • lakerman1

      Hate to say it but the only way Ironclad phil uses the other guards is if Fish gets injured for the season.

    • Lakersthe2010Champs

      Not only we have problem defensively in the paint, we have big problems offensively. Kobe’s domination of the ball just makes every cold. He’s a great player, but he has to play teamball for the team to succeed. We can compensate our defensive weakness by having a better offensive flow.

      • Kobe “3peat” Jordan

        “We can compensate our defensive weakness by having a better offensive flow.”

        We’re not the Phoenix Suns or the Golden State Warriors here man! Defense wins championships.

      • iamthetie

        I agree. Defense does win championships, but I’ve never seen a Laker team so disjointed on offense (yet so talented). Totally inexcusable. Besides, defensive numbers don’t count if you’re locking down the scrub teams of the league and letting the legitimate contenders run all over you. If the offense gets any uglier I’m gonna start to think I’m watching the Celtics or the Spurs play ball.

        MOVE THE BALL AND QUIT STANDING AROUND.

    • WifelovesLuke

      Before anyone continues reading any of the following comments below, try to keep in perspective one thing:
      .
      .
      LA is still has the #1 seed in the West. Get your finger off the panic button.

  • lakerman1

    All i am going to say if the Lakers do not win the Ship this year look for major changes next year starting with Phil. Heads will definitely roll because Mr Buss will not be happy especially with the payroll he has. Quit making the same excuses, quit finger pointing and start playing like true champions or just end the season early and go off to your lavish cribs and mega bucks and maybe Mitch can get some guys who will consistently contribute in the off season. I am just tired of seeing the same type of effort everytime i watch a Laker game lately they are consistently playing catchup with every adversary.
    Its time to put up
    or shut up.

  • gugy

    I think Fisher needs more respect. Yes he is old but he has a history of leadership and big clutch shots when it matters most. I would not give up on him, yet.
    What the Lakers need is to sign a good PG next season, get rid of Farmar and put Fish on the bench for maybe one more season and then after if he feels is time to retire, then good for him.

  • KindSir

    I agree with pretty much everything you said in this article, with the exception of why the other teams shoot more FTs than us. It’s because they actually attack the basket, unlike the Lakers who are extremely prone to settling for jumpshots for God knows why. Also yea, fisher just needs to sit his own ass down because he’s absolutely done. He’s never been able to defend, but now he’s just worse than ever. If Mitch re-signs him this offseason then he is a damned moron.

    • KindSir

      Oh yea and people need to quit defending fisher as a good starting pg, just because of what he’s done in the past. Yes he’s hit some clutch shots, but if we are playing him just to hit clutch shots then sit his ass on the bench and only bring him in if we need a fuckin clutch shot. He SHOULD NOT be our starting pg, and should only play limited minutes.

    • Happa 3000

      I agree with the point about other teams attacking the rim. The aggressor going to the rack is usually rewarded. It’s called applying pressure. We are missing that slasher, the closest that we get to a good inside game is when things are clicking with Pau / Bynum and Odom moving the ball around in there for easy ones. The best flow to the interior offense game that I’ve seen this year was when Kobe was out. Ball movement and interior game.

    • Lakersthe2010Champs

      Agreed that Fisher is done, but Farmar is inconsistent.

  • https://openid.aol.com/opaque/4bdde368-2b97-11df-8b9f-000bcdcb5194 onlyone laker fan in L.A.

    True good point he had his moment and now its gone.
    Shouldwe get Horry he hit clutch shots.
    Fisher is a great leader but his days are behind him.
    Farmar and Shannon both can not play as starters
    they are good but not starting guard material.
    Fisher rely needs to retire.
    I m sure he will Buss wont pay a old guard when he has a group of worthless talent already Sasha,Luke,Morrison.

  • xtro

    relax guys. the team will come together in the playoffs. it’s all about zen.

  • SD_laker_nut

    Great article n comments, I concur, sit fish 4 f-n clutch shots……let Odom start!
    nuff said

  • trippleocho

    If Odom starts, the Lakers will be a better team BUT I don’t think Bynum is mentally tough to handle being demoted to the bench. So that might mess up the team.

  • KindSir

    Have Odom start at pg, he can be the next Magic Johnson LOL! Seriously though we really need to address this position during the offseason by signing a pg who can defend and pass. We don’t really need a scoring pg.

  • 09champs!

    Phil knows what he is doing, he has 10 rings, so if he starts Fish , I´m confortable with it :)… remember just this last tuesday, we were up 2 with turkoglu dribbling and Fish stole a pass from him with 10 secs left and sank both free throws , which sealed the victory..

    I BELIEVE IN FISH, and last year, it was the same story with everybody saying he was old and slow, which might be true, but does anybody remember how did that game 4 of the finals ended? thought so :)

    • WifelovesLuke

      Completely agree! Trust Phil, trust Mitch, trust Dr. Buss. The problem is people love to panic at the first sign of adversity. Most basketball people who know anything were prepared for a slide at the end of the season because the Lakers have a road heavy schedule at the end of the season. Everything balances itself out in the end. Relax people!

  • KindSir

    Sure phil has 10 rings, but he’s also had Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Kobe, Shaq, Pau, Lamar all playing for him… And once again yes fisher has hit some clutch shots, so have him in there for clutch situations, not as a starter.

  • BOOYA!
  • uwee

    just play ball!!!!!!!

  • https://openid.aol.com/opaque/4bdde368-2b97-11df-8b9f-000bcdcb5194 onlyone laker fan in L.A.

    I feel sorry for Kobe. He always has to bail them out.
    Then takend him to the line if he maks 2 s all the rips to many shots never passes.
    I would do the same if you want it done do it your self approach.
    Plus why in the Toronto game they never take the foul
    Letting Bosh hit the three was stupid hard foul the in bound pass. If he makes both you win bye 1 and a few seconds on the clock,
    And if misses even better. Phil does this alot . Yeah he has ten rings I have 0 But this seems risky and fundemental.

  • https://openid.aol.com/opaque/4bdde368-2b97-11df-8b9f-000bcdcb5194 onlyone laker fan in L.A.

    I feel sorry for Kobe. He always has to bail them out.

    I would do the same if you want it done do it your self approach.
    Plus why in the Toronto game they never take the foul
    Letting Bosh hit the three was stupid hard foul the in bound pass. If he makes both you win bye 1 and a few seconds on the clock,
    And if misses even better. Phil does this alot . Yeah he has ten rings I have 0 But this seems risky and fundemental.

  • xtro

    i wish they traded for cap’n kirk. like i said, this might come back to bite ‘em.