The men wearing Purple and Gold have had some amazing jaw-dropping performances, but they also had occasions were their lack of effort left fans irate.
Take this season for example; the Lakers finished the season at 56-25 with wins against Boston and Orlando. Nevertheless, the Lakers came up short to teams like the Hornets, Rockets, Raptors, and Grizzlies. Not to mention ending the season with a 4-6 record. The Lakers obviously didn’t look as strong as they did last year, but they still finished as the top seed in the West and were the favorite coming out of the Conference.
Knowing the crew in Los Angeles, playoff time is the part of the season for which they live for. There was no doubt that the Lakers would regain their focus and that championship edge come playoff time.
The Lakers looked sharp in the opener of the first round, since they won 87-79 and locked down the Thunder’s star Kevin Durant. Game 2 in Staples Center saw the Thunder lose another game, 95-92. The Lakers were going to the Ford Center up 2 games to none.
The men in purple and gold seemed to recapture that championship swagger. However, like I have stated before, the Lakers have had occasions where they did not show up in games and the absence of their effort turned out to bite them. Game 3 and 4 are both prime examples of how the Lakers can lose any game if they don’t come out and play to the best of their ability.
Judging from the first four games of the series, the Lakers couldn’t win a game on the road and had to rely on the Staples Center court for a victory. The inconsistency of the Lakers this season carried into the first round, as the Lakers would have a miraculous game but then play horrific the next.
Game 5 was the most dominant performance the Lakers had, they won by 24 points and took a commanding 3-2 series lead. One may have predicted a Lakers loss in game 6 based on the previous games in Oklahoma City and from the pattern during the regular season.
However, the Lakers suited up and came out with the right attitude, to win the game. Last night’s game resulted in a 95-94 victory thanks to a Pau Gasol tip-in.
Hopefully the effort in the past two games will remain with the Lakers, and they realize that they must compete in every game, since the road ahead will get much tougher. The inconsistency got the Lakers in trouble all season long, including the first round. The Lakers have to “play every possession” and knowing the Utah Jazz who will fight and try to out-hustle a team, the Lakers must make effort a priority in the next round.
I understand that the Lakers won the hard fought series with the Thunder, but their occasional lackadaisical efforts during the series cannot occur versus the Jazz or any other team. The remaining teams in the playoffs are experienced and will take advantage of a team’s flaws. In the Lakers case, their Achilles’ heel was always their lack of effort; if they don’t show up for every game, the men in purple and gold will have a longer summer vacation than originally planned.
Follow Ramneet Singh on Twitter @RamneetKB24