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

  • BE

    Please go back to the old comment setup.. It's messing things up. I'm sure you have noticed the decrease in comments.

    • Kam Pashai

      We're looking into feedback.

      I like the new comment system, but of course we always take Laker Nation's feedback in everything we do.

      • papachango

        website not the same
        screw twitter

  • mytiman

    Kenny Smith puts it best when he said basketball is not a game with a switch that you can just turn it on or off. The Lakers are playing like there is.

    Giving a subpar team a chance to hang with them, and the next thing they know, we're down by 20. We look for Kobe to carry us out with another big game but will sometimes fall short because of exhaustion. Lakers lose. Kobe gets mad. Pau too for not getting enough shots. Derek will say they'll do better next game.

    Repeat cycle for the next 81 games.

    Time to take this seriously. Playoffs baby. Let's get things rockin'

    • lakermarc

      Very well put. Did you feel this way all season long, by chance?

      • mytiman

        Oh most definitely, lakermarc. Kobe had 6 game winners, 5 AGAINST teams that are not even in the top 4 of their respective conference. (Kings, Bucks, Raptors, Miami, Boston, Memphis)

        Lakers are always playing down to their competition even though they have the rare ability as a team to knock them off early on. This is the Lakers team that many said can break the 72-10 record set by his Airness. We have 2 superstars in Kobe and Gasol, 1 great defensive player in Artest, a potential in both Lamar and Bynum, and a great coach in Phil. I just can't see why they still lose against these below .500 teams.

        • lakermarc

          I sense that unlike last year when the season was totally over and the only moves made were Trevor/Ron that this year will really see a change in personnel in The Laker Squad. It HAS to happen. If the Lakers happen to be lucky enough to defend their championship, the ownership will see to it that changes are made because this thing is broken. I feel atleast 4 guys could be gone. I can't help but think that there are tons of players out there just dying to move to Los Angeles and play for theeeeee most storied franchise. Even better than being a Laker is living in L.A.

  • Robert

    Truth is, Lakers have played injured ALL season long, and yet still won best record in the West. Who was injured? Kobe, Pau, Ron-Ron, Drew, Luke, Sasha, Cannon, did I leave anyone out? That's our top 4 in that list, and in total more than 1/2 the team. And, some of the injuries were 'serious', like Kobe's, Pau's, and Drew's. Injuries that drive down playing ability a notch. For example, Kobe's leg is injured – he can't do his usual jumper. There go 1/2 his shots! There goes 'parts' of his closing abilities, which are essential.
    Anyway, it's hard for a team to win, and have the same chemistry, when even 'one' player is injured. To have several would be 'doom'. Portland (for example) has just 'barely' made it to the playoffs.
    So not only do I not expect the Lakers to play hard these last two games, I didn't expect too much out of them after they clinched the West. They are going to have a tough time in the playoffs. It is definitely NOT like last year, because quite simply, they are STILL playing injured (Kobe, Ron-Ron, and Drew is questionable).
    Another point which should be made is that, as others have said, it is easier to WIN a championship than to 'defend' one. The other teams attacked the Lakers with a vengeance this year, and made it especially tough. Teams DO have to pace themselves, due to the long season, but when the Lakers are in town, they STEP IT UP a notch. So, the Lakers had it tougher than any team. Nobody cared about the Cavs, least of all the L'East conference (who have 'losing records' making to playoffs).
    My advice is for the Lakers not to get frustrated these last two games, win or lose, and to take LOTS of vitamins, rest up, drink lots of fluids, etc. etc. Now the GOOD news is that playoff games are spaced, so that there are no back-to-backs, and sometimes even two or more days between games. That will help the Lakers (yes, it will help others, but Lakers definitely need the rest more than any team).
    One more thing – remember the 2001 Lakers. They were one of the best teams in basketball history. These Lakers are a good (or great) team too. Anything is possible!

  • lakerville213

    ok everyone…as a true laker fan…i never doubt the success of my los angeles lakers…i display plenty of frustration and anger over subpar performances and express DEEP concerns…but never doubt…

    here's a few things i would like to point out to my brothers and sisters of the lakersnation…

    1) if you think that the lakers play during the regular season is anywhere near what they can and will bring during playoffs, then you have not been paying attention to the nba playoffs of the last 30 years. the x factors that come into play are wayyyy different than what happens during the regular season.

    2) the arrogance that has been the result of bad performances by the lakers this season and their look of “boredom” out there on the floor is unfortunately something we have to endure during the regular season. that is of course something we all know is a result of the talent they have.

    3) i will have to disagree with the rest of lakersnation and say that the lakers are NOT more talented they were last year or perhaps even two years ago. i hate to say this but i miss trevor. i feel that the lakers should have left last season's squad alone and ill even go to the extent of saying ronny turiaf is severely missed by the bench. this season and the playoffs will and has been extremely more challenging than last season.

    despite all this, i still feel that with andrew bynum(who is really pissing me off but thats up for another discussion) on the floor, pau's consistency, lamar's great improvement in jumpshots and threes, and most importantly kobe's leadership and unmatched determination will propel us to a 16th nba championship.

    if we get over this slump we're in and win all, the offseason is going to get very interesting and with the right moves, mitch/dr buss insanity, and a little bit of good ole laker luck, we can very well lock up the greatest championship dynasty of all time. im not saying any names from the goldmine of a free agency list that's coming up, but i have a good feeling about what is to come.

    • ramneet

      Well put my friend; I have to admit that Ariza gave us that spark and effort that is lacking this season. And occasionally he makes threes, which Ron is not this year

      • lakermarc

        I LOVE TREVOR ARIZA. He was my favorite Laker…Hell he's still my fave Laker. I was making that claim when no one really seemed to know who the hell he was and all of a sudden people were big fans of his as The Play-Offs unfolded. Trevor was awesome all year long and did his part, and then some, regardless of his role on the team. His play came to the forefront because of TNT and The Playoffs and televised games, but us season ticket holders and League Pass subscribers know,…Trevor was mighty all year long, Remember the legendary dunk on Grant Hill on Christmas? That was on his first game as a Laker the year before last year!!!! Trevor Ariza was Shannon Brown before Shannon Brown. Atleast he never flopped in a dunk contest. OUCH!!!!!

        • ramneet

          Yep, and I remember him putting the icing on the cake vs the Celtics

    • Robert

      Good points, Lakerville. It's clear that the Lakers appeared to have more drive last year, and their talent matched or exceeded every other team in the league. I do think that Ariza might have earned us a couple more regular season wins, but Ron-Ron is taking a while to learn his 'role' (he had been a 'major player' on previous teams, not a role player – Ariza would still have been a role player on the Lakers). Also, RR is learning the triangle, which can take a year or more to learn properly. He still has skillz, and how they fit in with the triangle will probably make more sense 'next year'.
      As for the playoffs, we do all know that the way teams play in the playoffs is different from how they play in the regular season. Our biggest opponents will probably 'actually' be the Spurs, who still have 'champions' on their team, and who have been through this exercise and have won in the past. This is also their (Spurs) last chance. Everyone on that team is healthy now, so the Lakers shouldn't take them lightly.
      I'm not worried about the Nuggets anymore – first, K-Mart has to integrate 'back' into their offense (and defense), and George Karl, as we find out, is the spark behind some of their intensity (and thuggery too!). It will be rough for them.
      The Lakers can handle Dallas – the latter have to play their butts off (even with our friend Caron Butler), and I don't think they will win a series with the Lakers.
      So, if we get past the Spurs (eventually), our biggest opponent will be the Cavs, who have some 'ok' guards, but not that 'real speedy' guard that always gets the Lakers (like Aaron Brooks, etc.). It will be a 'big man's' game, so we'll do fine if Bynum is healthy.

      • lakermarc

        The Sours are really DONE!!! Granted they have played well lately but its like a trick of the eye, or a self fulfilling prophecy, people always want to include them as if they can still do it. THEY CAN”T. There's this romantic notion in many minds that the Spurs are a real threat just because of where they have been, but that's not the same as where they are right now. Tha Cavs are the real test and they are still quite marginal. THe worst thing that could ever happen is if the 'king wins his ring', as the King Asshole Asskisser Shaq said. I may as well die. Imagine the arrogance, then.

  • dclaker

    Our bench has hurt this team also…should've gotten Hinrich.

    • lakermarc


  • kb24forlife

    The lakers are forgetting to play the right way, Around this time, they should be attending class basketball 101. They are forgetting to play fundamental basketball like free throws, 3-point shooting, proper passing, ball movement, boxing out, defensive rotations, communications, charging, rebounds, etc. Right now they are expletively HORRIBLE………. a JV team probably has the chance to beat them. It's as easy as this. They should be working on this for the playoffs. Forget about execution, they know how to execute, but they are forgetting the basics. They need to go back to the freakn basics.' That's all and just play ball with intensity and urgency.

  • airkobe

    hoping for a good play-off start agains a young and unexperienced team on oklahoma….must go 4-0 to prove their the champions!!!