Watch this clip from Wet Hot American Summer.
It pretty much sums up what happened to the Lakers on Sunday evening. Cruising along these Western Conference Finals. Rumor had it that Jordan Farmar and Coby Karl were singing Kenny Loggins on the team charter. The Lakers were without a worry in the world.
Then they crashed into the defending champion Spurs who, somewhere between LAX and San Antonio, rediscovered the formula that has produced them four NBA titles in the last nine years.
It turns out that those visions of ascendancy were a tad bit premature.
As the Laker Nation wept for Pau’s seeming inability to finish around the basket, Lamar’s shoddy 2-11 performance and Kobe’s sabbatical from the free-throw line, what they forgot was the core tenant of professional sports: the other team has players and coaches too. And boy did their players show up for Game 3.
For how spectacular the Lakers performed in Games 1 and 2, behind familiar faces and a sea of silver and black, the Spurs found similar success. Despite Sasha Vujacic’s valiant and pesky defense, Manu Ginobili lost his acrylic fingernail and found his shot connecting on 5 of 7 three-pointers en route to a game high 30 points off the bench. Timmy Duncan found time between his daily regimen of Dungeons and Dragons to have a Druid-esque game, gobbling up 21 rebounds and casting a level-three charm spell over the basket for his 22 points.
In Game 3, the Lakers were not outclassed like Denver was. They were not overmatched like Utah was. They were not inept and they were not amateurish. They simply had a moment of playoff-neophyte weakness.
In Game 3, the angry, crusty, pissed-off, sneering, villainous, miscreant San Antonio Spurs simply stated that they would not go gently into their seemingly inevitable goodnight. This group of picaroons will go down kicking, screaming, wailing, moaning, thrashing, flailing, cavorting and will be generally unwilling to accept that a changing of the Western Conference guard is at hand.
19-point blowouts and fancy adjectives and verbs aside, the Lakers enter Game 4 with a very enticing predicament. Win and march back to Staples Center with a commanding 3-1 series lead; 48 minutes away from the NBA Finals. Lose, and they stumble back to Los Angeles tied at 2 games apiece. For the health and stress level of Vic the Brick and the general wellbeing of Laker fans everywhere, lets hope they choose the former.
Playoff Update! –
As the great Walter Sobchak once asked: “Has the whole world gone CRAZY!?” Over the weekend, the Celtics lost at home AND won on the road. In other bizzaro world news, I am the new small forward on the Seattle Supersonics and I’m also dating Darcy from Degrassi.
National: TNT (Marv Albert & Doug Collins)
Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
San Antonio: WOAI 1200 AM (Bill Schoening & Paul Castro)
- Out: A. Bynum (Knee)
- Will Play: K. Bryant (Pinkie), D. Fisher (Foot)
Resiliency! Resiliency!: What happened on Sunday happened. The Lakers must capitalize on the golden opportunity they have before them. A potential 3-1 series lead going home for Game 5. That is HUGE! GIANT! Don’t blow it! Please?
Did I mention that the Spurs LOVE corner threes?: I wrote this in the last game preview. The Spurs LOVE corner threes. Maybe corner threes are like Pinkberry in San Antonio. Bowen loves them. Udoka loves them. Hell, I bet you Matt Bonner loves them. I would be content if the Lakers deny the corner three ONCE in Game 4.
Varsity Challenge –
(Prize – A tour of the basement of the Alamo.)
What have the Spurs accomplished that none of the other ABA crossovers have?