I went to Utah for Game 3. What I saw frightened me. Amidst all the turnovers and missed opportunities I finally remembered what I had known all along: the Lakers are mortal.
As my friend Ryan and I approached closer and closer to home, I heard a song that basically summed up how I felt about the Lakers shortcomings and my subsequent departure from Salt Lake City.
For a second there I thought you disappeared.
It rains a lot this time of year.
And we both go together if one falls down.
I talk out loud like you’re still around.
And I miss you.
I’m goin back home to the west coast.
I wish you would put yourself in my suitcase.
I wanted to take the Lakers home and make it all better. I couldn’t in good conscience leave them there, in hostile territory with two less allies. I wish I could have restored the sheen and invincibility that they had so honorably achieved.
And then I realized that the Playoffs are supposed to be this way: gritty, hateful, nerve-wracking. Without that, it is just, well, nothing.
After throttling the Hurrrnets and Spurs in the last weekend of the regular season, coasting through the First Round and the first two contests against the Jazz I had forgotten that the Lakers are prone to turnovers and poor execution every once in a while (exhibits A and B Charlotte and Memphis). Add in a tweaked back, the disappearance of Jordan Farmar and the fact the Energy Solutions Arena is about as quiet and tranquil as a mental institution and it nearly made sense that the Lakers dropped Games 4 and 5.
The good news is that the were just a few breaks short of winning both contests, and while it doesn’t put another in the win column it should reassure them that a series victory is well within reach.
To complete that goal, the Lakers must win tonight at Staples Center. They must continue to hold serve and protect home court because if they do not, they are faced with the daunting task of and elimination game at Energy Solutions on Friday night. I would prefer to gouge my own eyes out than deal with those rabid and overzealous Jazz fanatics salivating over a second consecutive Western Conference Final. So lets hope to see the Lakers be the team that rolled to 10 wins in a row tonight.
I never do this. Ever. But tonight is big. It is bigger than I could ever explain with words. Fan up. If you are going to be at Staples Center, yell and scream until you are hoarse. If you are sticking at home, put on ALL your Purple and Gold and make a fool of yourself. Trust me, you will always remember that.
I guess I will point to that song again: We both go together if one falls down.
Playoff Update! –
Well, the Hurrrrrrrnets have the Spurs on the ropes and are one win away from their first Conference Finals in team history. David West had a gigantic Game 5 in New Orleans last night notching 38 points and pulling down 14 boards while keeping Tim Duncan under control on the offensive end allowing him only 10 points.
Back East, the Pistonitas took care of the Magic in Five and the C’s are still winless on the road in the playoffs. Honestly, it is hard to focus on ANYTHING else besides the series at hand.
National: TNT (Kevin Harlan & Doug Collins)
Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
Utah: KFNZ All-Sports 1320 AM (Ron Boone & Rod Hundley)
- Out: A. Bynum (Knee), T. Ariza (Foot)
Will Play: K. Bryant (Pinkie, Back), D. Fisher (Foot)
Ronny vs. Ronnie: With Ronny Turiaf being spared a suspension from the league office for his flagrant two foul on Ronnie Price during the second quarter of Game 4 Sunday afternoon, lets see if there is any bad blood brewing between these two Ronny/ies. Odds are that Ronny bludgeons Ronnie with Kobe’s MVP trophy by the first T.V. timeout
Kobe’s Back: Kobe tweaked his back. That is about all I know More importantly if you didn’t know, you must be living on Mars or Antartica. Come on. It is Kobe; he will be fine. The only thing that could keep him out of a game is a severed extremity or a realllllllllllllllllly bad tummy ache.
Varsity Challenge –
(Prize – A free kick in the balls to a Jazz fan of your choice.)
Besides Derek Fisher, name the last player to bounce from the Jazz to the Lakers.