Is effort and a desire to succeed the way to win games? For an answer just ask the Lakers… the 2008-’09 Lakers. As the 2010 NBA Playoffs approach the Lakers are struggling and unfortunately no Laker fan can hide the fact that the team’s performance is troublesome, to the point where their repeat chances are looking slim.
As teams like the Mavericks and Magic are rolling, and the Cavalers have already locked up the best record; the Lakers are showing complete lack of intensity.
The Mavericks have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games while the Magic have gone 8-2, and also took over the lead for second best record in the NBA. And as for the Lakers, they have gone 4 and 6 in their last ten, losing to team like the Hornets, Spurs at home, and to the Blazers; after a let down in the fourth. Not to mention, beating the Timberwolves by only 11 points; without their star power forward.
The latest struggle has something to due with the absence of center Andrew Bynum, however with the best starting five in the league and not to mention the greatest player in the world, this stretch is quite alarming. While the Mavericks and Magic, two teams the Lakers may face in the playoffs, are one of the hottest teams after the All-Star break, the team in Los Angeles still hasn’t shown to be dominant. Last year, the key to a championship team was determination, thus resulting in beating teams like the Celtics and Cavaliers; at the same time pounding on lower quality teams.
Yes, I agree, every team has its ups and downs in a season, but this has been the story for the Lakers all season long. They seem bored out there and win games because of their raw talent. Teams like the Hornets and Blazers don’t even come close talent wise against the Lakers but still find a way to win. In both those games the teams were missing their best player; the Hornets and Chris Paul and the Blazers with Brandon Roy.
The Lakers seem somewhat arrogant with their games, they believe the other team will hand them the victory or their talent only will win the game. News Flash, Lakers, the NBA is a talented league and any team can win a game. In order to be considered a great team, one must come to every game ready to play and show full passion.
The past ten games for our beloved Lakers had been nothing close to great, and I even consider this one of the worst stretch of games in the Pau Gasol era. The dismal performance on the road trip and the latest skid has to cause some tension and Lakers Nation have a reason to be worried.
Many people had the Lakers claiming the prize this season with the accusation of Ron Artest; almost all agreed that the Lakers were more talented than last season. However, the one thing and the main thing last year’s team had was a hunger and a mentality that no one can beat them. Talent does not guarantee anything, and the only way you win games is through effort.
The 2008-’09 team may not have been as talented, but they showed up to every game. This year, the team has sometimes lost focus and showed no desire to win.
We all pray that the Lakers will regain their championship effort and hopefully the “Playoff” logo on the Staples Center court will get them refocused. But one thing the Lakers must keep in mind is that anyone can beat you, your lack of effort will fire back and an early playoff exit is possible.
As the old saying says, “Hard work beats talent, if talent doesn’t work hard.”
Follow Ramneet Singh on Twitter: @RamneetKB24