L.A. Times: Now for the losers, er, Lakers . . .
Unhappily — or not — for the defending champions, they can’t go unbeaten on their East Coast trip as they did last season with wins in Boston and Cleveland, after which they congratulated themselves and went on cruise control the rest of the way.
The Cavaliers, the upstarts who upended them again last week, have an ongoing case of “Stick-it-to-The-Man-eosis,” like the kids in “School of Rock.”
The Lakers are The Man, having overcome an ongoing case of “What-us-worry-eosis” that recurred in last spring’s second-round debacle against Houston, when Trevor Ariza noted, “We thought we could win on sheer talent.”
Dismayed by losing to the Cavaliers, Kobe Bryant questioned his teammates’ toughness, but it’s even more basic.
Pau Gasol was, is, and will always be a finesse player — or as it’s called after big losses, “soft”– but the Lakers are bigger than the Cavaliers.
Shaquille O’Neal is a massive presence but no Bill Laimbeer-type menace. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is as physical as Gasol.
After that, it’s Anderson Varejao, a major energy guy, versus Ron Artest, who has taken on entire arenas.