It turns out the Lakers (7-1) are mortal. It turns out they are prone to nights where they are the ones being boatraced off the floor. It turns out the 2008-09 regular season will not be a mere coronation.
Despite the perceived inevitability of unflappable success, the Lakers will lace up their sneakers and play each of their 82-games, as will their opponents.
And some nights, their foes will best them. And when that happens (and it will happen…more than anyone cares to admit) it is important not to set fire to the fallen.
That being said, Friday’s loss to Detroit may prove to wash away some of the cockiness and sense of entitlement that may have developed over the young season’s first seven games. Kobe was flat, Lamar and Jordan’s minutes were slashed and KWAME BROWN outplayed Andrew. Times are not tough. Friday was a setback, not a calamity.
Tonight, the Lakers face a Chicago Bulls (5-5) team that seems to reinvent itself every season. Starting with 2008’s number one overall pick Derrick Rose and ending with contract-snubbed Ben Gordon, the Bulls have a wealth of talent; yet seem to be awry and lost in the midst of another identity crisis.
Going on ten seasons from Jerry Krause’s dismantling of the elite Bulls teams of the 1990’s, the team has never fully recovered, despite flashes of success in 2007 and 2005.
With Luol Deng locked up long term and Derrick Rose playing extremely well for rookie coach Vinny Del Negro, perhaps this is the year that the Bulls establish an identity for themselves.
Tipoff: 7:30 PM PST
- National: NBATV
- Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Chicago: Comcast SportsNet (Neil Funk, Stacey King & Red Kerr)
Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
Chicago: ESPN Radio 1000 AM (Chuck Swirsky & Bill Wennington)
- Doubtful: Vladi Radmanovic (thigh contusion)
- Out: Kirk Hinrich (thumb surgery)
- Probable: Larry Hughes (shoulder)
Small Forward Musical Chairs: With the uncertain status of Vladi, who suffered a thigh contusion on Sunday, it is unknown if Phil Jackson will choose to insert into the starting lineup. Trevor Ariza seems like the obvious choice, but in the spirit of keeping the Minutemen unit firing on all cylinders, do not be surprised to see Luke Walton get the nod. Walton has not seen much action so far this season, but he may be able to serve a very Vladi-esque purpose for 14-18 minutes in light of the injury.
Varsity Challenge -
(Prize: A Phil Jackson-style Acid flashback.)
It is well known that Phil Jackson had massive success with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990’s, but in his early coaching days he led the Albany Patroons of the CBA to a title. What is a Patroon?