In yesterday’s pregame I expressed my desire for a close game. I elucidated my listlessness over the previous five blowouts.
Ask and you shall receive, I suppose.
The Lakers prevailed in an emotional contest in Dallas in which they limited the Mavericks to only 39-points in the second half after allowing 60 in the first.
For a team that had yet to be tested in a late game situation, the Lakers reacted in part with poise and in part with a deer-in-the-headlights type shock. After a late fourth-quarter timeout after the Mavericks had cut the Laker lead to two, I swear I saw Sash with tears in his eyes.
Now, this supposed overreaction and eventual triumph proves two things to me; two things of paramount importance for me. First, the ability of the Lakers to close out a game late in the fourth quarter with their defense while their offense was stymied. Second, that this team now possesses the same abhorrence to defeat that their leader, Kobe Bryant has instilled into them.
It is not that this team cannot lose so far this season; it is that this team refuses to lose.
And it is this refusal that will ultimately transform into that almighty “toughness” that seems to be the missing piece in the Lakers quest for greatness.
The next step in that quest leads the Lakers to the 504: New Orleans, LA, where they will face the Hurrrrnets and their star guard, Chris Paul.
Paul and his ability to penetrate and run the pick and roll with either David West or Tyson Chandler gave the Lakers fits last season, but with their renewed commitment to defense, it will be fascinating to see whether or not Pixie Paul will be able to surgically pick apart the Laker defense.
Tipoff: 5:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- New Orleans: Comcast Sports Television (Bob Licht & Gil McGregor)
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- New Orleans: KMEZ 106.7 FM (Sean Kelley & Gerry Vaillancourt)
Lakers: None to report.
- Questionable: Sean “Kiwi Kiwi” Marks (calf & hamstring), Morris Peterson (knee)
- Probable: Melvin Ely (dental condition)
Required Reading: If you like my pregame articles and if you like NBA basketball for that matter, do yourself a favor and head to the local bookseller and pick up a copy of FreeDarko’s first book entitled The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac. Their intellectual analysis of our collective basketball heroes truly illuminates the overarching style of the new sports journalism class.
Get it now.
Varsity Challenge –
(Prize: Morning beignets with Hamblen at Café du Monde)
The original Charlotte Hornets selected what Laker in the 1988 Expansion Draft?