Lakers vs Dallas: When a winner fights a loser.
Posted by: SPQR on Friday, April 29, 2011 - 12:56 AM
With the dispatch of the Hornets, the conquering Lakers move on to their next field of opposition-the resurgent Dallas Mavericks. Some analysts will have come up with various reasons why Dallas can and perhaps will emerge victorious in the coming fray. Mark Cuban, who has made a career of dissing the Lakers and extolling Dallas’s coming playoff glory since the Shaq-Kobe era will no doubt be at the forefront of those telling one and all exactly why Dallas will topple the crown from the King’s regal head.|
But after all the talk and breakdowns and predictions are history, after the issue has been decided on the field of battle, the Lakers will look ahead to their next foe as their resolute march continues and Dallas will have to survive the slings and arrows of another defeat at the hands of the team that still rules with an iron fist.
Because you see, that’s what happens when a winner plays a loser. The Lakers are inculcated to their very marrow in the culture of winning, of smashing through their opponents best efforts and leaving them blooded and helpless. Dallas, even in the season of their more glorious campaign, the finals against Miami, knows only that the long road to the championship will end in misery. This failure is as ingrained in them as ultimate victory is in us.
In 55 BC the Roman Consul Gaius Julius Caesar then the Governor of Cisalpine Gaul had to deal with the revolt and attack of Germanic tribes. He was successful in repelling them. This was not the first time Rome had to deal with what they considered barbarian incursions. It had happened many times before and in the end, Rome knew only victory and the opposition only defeat. One side was weaned on the culture of winning, the other the culture of losing.
In 52 BC another larger uprising of united Gallic tribes was organized by the brash and cocky leader Vercingetorix. Like Cuban, Vercingetorix was a master of invective and vitriol. He induced a surface confidence in welding the disparate Gallic tribes into one fighting force. They had vast and talented army, outnumbering the Roman legions they faced. The war was vicious, sometimes desperate, but in the end, Caesar once again won out. His final methods of victory and subjugation were cruel, even to the extent of cutting off the hands of 40,000 Gallic soldiers as a warning, and to make these men unable to ever lift a sword against him and Rome again. In the end, as ostensibly confident as the Gaul’s were, deep inside, they knew that barbarians only met defeat at the hands of Rome. It was a lesson already written by history.
When it was all over, Vercingetorix appeared before Caesar at his camp, mounted on his great steed and handed over his sword. When Caesar returned to Rome years later, the Gallic King was marched through the city in Caesar’s triumph for all to see, and then slowly strangled as was Roman custom.
When a talented loser takes on a talented leader, one looks at the winner to see if there are any cracks the loser can crawl through to achieve the upset. When I look at the Lakers, I see no such cracks for Dallas to slip into and expose. As the New Orleans series went on, the Lakers only got better; defensively and offensively. The offense became more diversified and effective; the defense tightened like that rope around Vercingetorix’s neck, choking off all the things that had been effective for New Orleans earlier in the series, leaving the Hornets suffocated and dead. That we did not sweep the Hornets worries me not at all. We could have and perhaps should have beaten them in five. But that it took us an extra game is no big deal. Especially considering how much we dominated those last two games.
The only points of mild concern for us down the road right now are the play of Pau and Barnes. Pau’s efforts are the most inexplicable for the simple fact of how good we know he can be. This man surely didn’t lose careers worth of talent and confidence in a single series. With a fresh team in front of him and the smell of the blood of New Orleans in his nose, one would expect him to return to his normal mode of play and effectiveness soon. There is no tangible reason to believe why it should be any other way.
Barnes, who was so very effective for us all year has obviously not come back yet from his injury (or is it that new haircut?). He just does not seem as effective or energetic as he was before. We can hope that as time and games goes on; his leg will allow him to regain his confidence and pre injury form. Perhaps he can start up that path by cutting that nest on the top of his head off.
But all things as they are, the Mavericks, used to losing, will meet their end at the hands of the Imperial Lakers, who know only winning. They too will lose their hands and Mark Cuban, like Vercingetorix, will be dragged behind Kobe’s triumphal procession through Los Angeles before his mouth is shut up for good.
I think in the end our western conference finals showdown with Oklahoma will really tell the tale of how this team will ultimately fare. Unlike Dallas, the Thunder do not have an endless track record of playoff failure to weigh down every crucial shot they take under pressure, that makes them think an extra nervous second too long before making a bad pass. Oklahoma is young, athletic, big, talented and confident. Not the fake confidence of an old loser expecting deep inside the same demise, but the true confidence of blooming youth and strength, without years of defeat to dig deep inside their psyche. The Thunder, unlike Dallas, actually BELIEVE they can win against all teams.
If the Lakers can take down the Thunder, they can beat anyone. Not saying they will; but it will prove beyond any doubt that this team can still play at a level needed to eventually march their hard bitten and bloody boots over any team they face and come out with that final victory now matter how good, how ready, how confident that team may be.
Finally, I want to single out two players from the New Orleans series. Andrew Bynum is one. Reggie Miller said that in his mind, Drew was the MVP of the series. Once can certainly argue he was the most consistent impact player on the most levels of play. Drew has been a bone of contention here for a long time. The only fans who still don’t see him for what he is by now would also have to still doubt Barak Obama is American borne. But regardless of whether one was pro Bynum or anti Bynum, his development is good for ALL Lakers fans. Not just for our current fight for a championship, but for the future of the team we all love. As Kobe, Pau and Lamar age and leave, it is a good thing to know that Mitch and Dr. Buss already have a special young player to build around for future Lakers contending teams. Not just a special player, but one at the center position. It is going make those post Kobe years so much easier for all of us to endure-the team, the fans, the players and the front office.
The other player I want to mention is our old Caesar: Kobe Bryant. Through it all, the finger, the neck, the ankle and all the other things, he just keeps going on like a man possessed. Looking at Kobe, one gets the feeling his body feels like it is 90 years old. Yet on he still comes, not like a mortal man, but as something else. Fighting age and injury, he still deals out his sharp dagger in violent, vicious, bloody thrusts to his enemies. He may not be what he was, but he is as ferocious as ever and the ability is still there. Just ask New Orleans. To watch this man fight with everything he has to get another ring is a marvel to behold. He is no man, but a great lion in man’s clothing. He just fools us by looking like a man.
So on we go, first against Dallas, then to our true playoff reckoning with the Thunder. If we reach the finals, it would be hard to imagine this team not pulling out that last great effort to get the three peat they so desperately want. Our time of discovery will take place soon. We just have to wait one more series for the truth to be unveiled.
And beware Mr. Cuban, the historic fate of all losers who have the hubris to engage with Kings who know only of winning.
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The only thing the Lakers have to fear is the Lakers themselves.
Posted by: SPQR on Monday, April 18, 2011 - 02:16 PM
Back in when the country was in the throes of the great depression, President Roosevelt said, "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."|
His message was clear. While things may be bad, the real enemy was we ourselves. Panic, despair, hopelessness by the population could and would exacerbate a problem that should eventually be solved.
After the Lakers opening game 109-100 loss to huge underdog New Orleans, that message has resonance for Lakers fans and more importantly the team.
The fact is, the Lakers should and will solve the New Orleans Hornets. This is not a team with the talent to beat LA. They just don't have the goods to turn that trick. If the Lakers lose this series, it will only because they beat themselves. And if this team is so out of whack, so stupid, so unredeemable that they manage to do that, then there was never any hope for the 3peat anyway.
Pau Gasol was a no show, in every area. To have a bad shooting game is no sin. Every player has nights like that. What is a sin is when a seven foot athletic player like Pau decides not to rebound or play defense. That doesn't take a shooting eye that is in focus, it just takes some sweat and hard effort.
Pau made a remark that he needs to be in position, "whether the ball comes to me or not." That was a not so subtle shot a team that has some great post players, but really doesn't want to be smart enough to use them as they should. We have seen that before and we will see it plenty in the future. This team does not like to play smart, they like to play for their own agendas and box scores. We have seen that enough to know what is up with that.
Those being said, even if Pau did not think the ball would come his way, why not fight for position and see if it comes your way? Why just shoot jumpers from afar? Why not block out and rebound? Why not try to play defense? Those things help your team win too, even if you don't get the touches you think you should.
Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum were two of the more accurate and efficient scorers the other night. Kobe got his fill of shots, Drew was once again, sadly lacking with only seven attempts. Nothing new there.
In fact, the three low post players, Drew, Pau and Lamar got a total of 22 shots off. The rest of the team got 52.
Phil said after the game that the ball didn't get down low enough. He said that is where we are most effective, lol. I would say, in theory we are that Phil, but in reality, anyone who watches this selfish team in action knows that while we are most effective down low, we are only a half assed low post team at best. And that is a begrudging half ass. We can ask the players why this is so. Once again, nothing new there. It is our modus operandi.
Chris Paul is the only player on New Orleans who can break LA. And I think there is only one guy on this team, if he is of a mindset, can slow him down to the point where he becomes negligible. That man is Kobe Bryant.
Just like with Michael Westbrook in Oklahoma, someone must put the brakes on Paul. Hopefully, unlike the series last year, Phil won't wait till too much damage is done before he does what should be done and puts Kobe on Paul. Will this hurt Kobe’s offense? Perhaps. It will take much energy to stop Paul. But unlike New Orleans, we have other options to score on this team if Kobe’s offense starts to wan. So if Kobe’s offense suffers from the task, it really would not hurt us as bad as it will hurt New Orleans if Paul is taken out of his offense. If the price of stopping Paul is slowing Kobe’s offense, I will take that trade in a heartbeat.
It’s just like sacrificing your queen in a game of chess for your opponent’s queen. If you still have other powerful pieces on the board and the opponent has only pawns, what ostensibly seems to be an even trade is really the gateway for your eventual victory.
But of course, all this is incumbent on the team wanting to use the other offensive players: Drew, Pau and Lamar.
Do I worry about this series? No. As I said, the Hornets just don't have the firepower to beat us. If some miracle happens and we lose, the Lakers can look in the mirror and see the results of playing lazy, stupid ball, not in the Hornets locker at a more talented team.
If we play smart ball and put out on defense, New Orleans will fade away in quick order. If we don't, then things will drag long like a quotidian nightmare that nobody can wake from.
The thing that does bother me is our lack of effort on defense, our determination to play stupid ball, the inability of the team to learn from past mistakes and losses.
If this is how they insist on playing, they may not reap the final, ignominious defeat and playoff ouster at the hands of New Orleans, but there will be a more talented team down the road who will gladly fill the prescription the Lakers seem to be begging right now to be written.
If we play with brio, energy on defense, if we play smart ball on offense, not selfish ball, this team can be the juggernaut of 17-1 after the all star break and will win the championship. If we don't, then a team that has no problem playing smart ball and hard defense will show us in the most extreme terms what happens to teams who are too stubborn to do it.
We and the Lakers have nothing to fear but the Lakers themselves. The question is, will that fear become a reality when we move on to stronger more powerful opposition?
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Will Kobe’s ego clash with Bynum and the Lakers success?
Posted by: SPQR on Saturday, April 09, 2011 - 05:52 PM
"The people worship the rising sun over the setting sun." - |
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus
As I have watched sports over the many years, basketball, football, boxing, tennis and many others, the one thing I have learned is that nothing lasts forever. Athletes, like the rest of us mere mortals age, time goes on and new realities set in. It is as inevitable as the seasons change.
And this also applies to teams, themselves. They are new, learn their strengths and weakness, grow, adapt and come to fruition. As years goes on, the equations change and so must the way they operated to achieve the optimum success that they can.
Since the day Shaquille O’Neal took his considerable bulk to Miami, Kobe Bryant has been the scoring par excellence of the Lakers. This has gone on for years, and rightly so. Why rightly so? For a simple reason: Kobe was the most efficient and dependable way to score two points…or 32. For Kobe to not carry this burden would have been to play stupid basketball. During his amazing career, Kobe has won five championships, an league MVP, two finals MVP’s, a scoring title and had more jaw dropping glorious moments, 30, 40, 50, point games than any player has a right to have. His road to the hall of fame and legendary status is paved by his hard work and superhuman accomplishment.
But like every other athlete, even the legends of the legends, like Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali , Joe Montana and Michael Jordan, time will out and skills will fade. There is another thing time will do: bring in new, fresh blood to replace the old. That is also as sure as the changing of the seasons.
For Kobe and the Lakers, both scenarios are now taking place. As Kobe faces his 33rd birthday next year and his sixteenth year in the league, both father time and a new, gifted player are tapping him on the shoulder, telling him the time is coming to pass the torch.
We all know who this player is: Andrew Bynum. Finally, after years of injury delay, he is getting to play and learn the game in good health. And just like those flashes of brilliance he showed before he was robbed of time by his injuries, he is showing himself to have the capabilities to be a very special player.
Already, at this early age, despite his physical setbacks, limited experience in every level of ball, he has become our biggest defensive presence and best rebounder. He is also our biggest, strongest and one of more physically gifted players. He already, at age 23 is the second most important player on the team and is rapidly becoming an untradeable commodity. He is that rarest of the rare in the NBA: a true elite center.
But Andrew Bynum is only allowed right now to show half his game-The defensive half. His offense half is held in abeyance, by the demands of his older teammates, most notably Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. Yet Andrew Bynum, callow as he is, is already our most efficient scorer.
Next year Andrew Bynum will go into the season at 24 years of age in the pink of health and condition. Given the other factors on this team, there is not a single good reason to not begin to transition him over to the being the man the offense runs through. Not when he is so big, so young, so talented, so strong, so gifted with such soft hands. When you look at Drew, with all his gifts, he has premier scorer written all over him. There will be reasons given by members here why this should not be so. But they are only reasons, born out of ulterior motives and not basketball common sense. Andrew Bynum will be 24 years old next year. He will be a position to do what he should be able to do. There is no GOOD reason why our most physically imposing, efficient scorer should not take his place in the offence. Just as when Kobe took over as the top scorer on this team, way back when, it would be stupid for Drew not to ascend next year. It's just his time.
Those who give reasons why this should not be so will be wrong. Just as those who said Drew had no talent for years were wrong. Just as those who said he couldn’t rebound or defend were wrong. Just as those who wanted to trade him for Garnett or Kidd were wrong. And those who wanted to exchange him for Carmello Anthony.
There is no genius or strange prescience in knowing that Drew should become the focal point of the offense. It just takes two eyes to see and brain to process the information and an understanding of what Drew is, of sports history and what the passage of time brings.
In NBA history, the passage of time leads to a rite of passage: the old making way for the new. Scoring stars make way for younger, better ones, for the good of the team. The big O did it for Kareem. Kareem did it for Magic. Bird did if for Reggie Lewis. The list goes on and on. These were legends, but smart legends, who subsumed their egos and were happy with their years of being the leaders, when the time came, for the good of their teams, to let a younger man take over the helm.
But what will Kobe do? Given his history, it does not seem likely that he will give way to a bigger, younger, more efficient player. Kobe Bryant has said that the only thing that matters to him is winning. I think in reality what really matters to him is winning, as long as he is the scoring star. But he will get his chance to prove me wrong. We will see next year, whether Kobe is willing to let our 24 year old center become what he should be, or whether he decides it more important to keep the bulk of the shooting under his purview.
When Kobe was an 18 year old kid, Shaquille O’Neal graciously waited for the kid to come of age. Even though Shaq did not have a single ring, he never wanted or pushed for Kobe to be traded for veterans so that he could get that elusive championship. Years later, when Kobe was in a similar situation, but with three rings already, he was too selfish and cold to give that same courtesy and largesse to Andrew Bynum, demanding his trade for veterans. It was instrumental in showing the true character of Kobe Bryant. Or I should say the lack of same. He didn’t learn the lesson in humanity that Shaq so graciously extended.
But next year, Kobe will get a chance to show us that winning is really the only thing that matters to him. That he has finally grown up and is not the self centered child that so many of still think he is. He can follow in the footsteps of past, smart, self effacing, team oriented legends and start to do the right thing, for Drew, for the team, for himself. Or he will show, even at 33, he has not grown an inch.
Three years ago, before Drew’s first injury, when he started to explode, I was talking on an LTB thread with someone. I mentioned my concern that if Drew proved himself to be an exceptional player, then I had feeling this could cause a problem with Kobe’s monumental ego when the time came for a changing of the guard. I think, now, three years later, we are reaching that critical mass I worried about back then.
Long ago, a young Roman General Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus told the aging, preeminent general of the day, Cornelius Lucius Sulla that the people worship the rising sun over the setting sun. His meaning was clear. There is time to rise, a time to shine at the top of sky and eventually a time to set for the new sun.
If next year, Kobe Bryant is not really interested in winning, but only holding onto his top spot, if he decides he will hold Drew back from where he needs to go, needs to be for this team to be at its best, then he is not only hurting his own legacy and legend, but at that point becomes a stone cold detriment to the greater good of the team. In essence, then he has become that old Shaq, and Drew the young Kobe. And something will have to be done.
And as with any player who puts his ego and desires over the greater good of the team’s best interests, over their best chances of success, then something needs to be done.
It is ironic that long after Kobe’s contretemps with Shaq, a center he started his career with, over whom they had to part because Kobe decided it was time to be the man on the team; it is another center who will decide how Kobe will be remembered in the twilight of his career.
Back then, the setting sun had to be forced off the team so the rising sun could shine. All these years later, kobe is back in that same situation, only now he is Shaq and Drew is Kobe.
Back then, the Lakers made the wise move. They shipped the older fading sun out, so the newer, younger one could rise to full brilliance. And boy did that sun shine like few others in history. But if Kobe refuses to concede the sky to Drew, then for the good of the team, the Lakers should do what seems unthinkable right now: sit Kobe Bryant down and ask him about where he would like to be traded.
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League Is Rigged: Unfair Bias Against Western Conference
Posted by: cuckooroller on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 02:16 PM
The present structure of the League in Conferences, and in Divisions, has been and remains essentially unfair.|
All teams should have the same shot at gaining the best record, and the consequent great advantages accruing from the tie-breakers that directly lead to the HCA leading into the only true season, the post-season play.
The present structure of the League leads to an obvious weighted disparity in the basic treatment of the various teams according to the Conferences that they belong to. It is a question of fairness, and the League is obviously not interested in being fair to the Western Conference.
The non-equality in treatment between the two Conferences is directly reflected in the Strength of Schedule. The most immediate indication of this unequal treatment is given by looking at how many times each team must face teams above .500 during the year.
So, let's take a look, at just the major contenders of the two conferences, in decreasing order of games with teams over .500, for the present season:
Los Angeles - 46
San Antonio - 44
Dallas - 44
Miami - 42
Oklahoma City - 41
Orlando - 39
Boston - 38
Chicago - 36
I repeat, it is a question of overall fairness. Here we have a favored Conference that plays cupcakes, while the Western Conference is fed a diet of hard tack!
We are presently tied with Chicago and attempting to gain a tie-breaker with them.
Wouldn't it be nice if we were not penalized to the tune of having to play 10 more games against tough teams, while they get fed cupcakes!
I have maintained for years that the structure in Conferences must be done away with. I repeat this call to overall fairness.
Everybody should play each other, though it would involve alternating years to even out the home-away factor, an equal number of games during the year. No more cupcake schedules for the eastern elites. Five games should be added to the regular season, permitting everybody to play each other three times. The top sixteen at the end of the season get into the playoffs, regardless of geographical considerations. If you have just one Eastern team and 15 Western teams, well, that would be just tough titty!
Strike a blow for fairness! Abolish the treatment of the Western Conference teams by the League as second-class citizens subordinated to the hegemony of the League and their favored Eastern teams.
Further Discussion here: http://lakers.topbuzz.com/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&p=512038#512038
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Coming face of the NBA: RIP to Lakers dominion
Posted by: SPQR on Wednesday, March 09, 2011 - 03:35 PM
In an article in his week’s Sports Illustrated, the new face of the NBA, as desired by David Stern and owners is made very clear. And that face will be undergoing extreme plastic surgery and change from the face we Lakers fans have so adoring gazed upon for over 50 years. |
So while the Lakers seem to be driving onto yet another NBA finals, and we as fans debate the merits of Andrew Bynum vs Carmello Anthony or Chris Bosh when we play virtual GM, as well as other team issues, something is going to happen that will affect our team and the league in ways that will strike us to the very core and that will change our beloved franchise forever.
First I will print the article for all to read, and then I will follow up with my thoughts.
Nba's Future: Star-crossed
The moves of Melo and other big names are exciting—but untenable
Why has the NBA suddenly become so entertaining? Because it is so deeply flawed. Television ratings are up by double digits ... one season after the league reported $370 million in losses. Eight highly talented contenders are racing for the championship ... even as the league claims that three quarters of its franchises are swimming in red ink. This most provocative year of player movement—culminating in last week's flurry of deals at the trade deadline—is about to give way to a self-immolating lockout that promises to reinvent every aspect of NBA business.
"The game is in great shape," declared commissioner David Stern on All-Star weekend. "It's never been better." But he was making narrow reference to the universal fascination with the comings and goings of the players, whether from basket to basket or franchise to franchise. Stern then spent the worst part of an hour explaining why he and the owners may find it necessary to sacrifice next season to a work stoppage. "We want a sustainable business model that enables 30 teams to be able to compete for a championship," he said.
All of it—the NBA's successes and its flaws—boils down to one divisive topic: the movement of star players. The league's biggest names are being hoarded by the wealthiest franchises at a rate that is exhilarating to fans and alarming to the owners who can't hold onto them. The Nuggets spent seven months trying to persuade All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony to accept a three-year, $65 million extension before surrendering him in a three-team, 13-player trade to the Knicks on Feb. 21. The rival Nets, having failed in their pursuit of Anthony, took aim at Jazz point guard Deron Williams, who had neither asked for a trade nor indicated a longing to leave Utah as a free agent in 2012. But the Jazz had seen the destruction wrought by Anthony's trade demands as well as by the abrupt departures last summer of LeBron James and Chris Bosh and so, without public warning, Utah yielded its franchise star to the Nets for rookie Derrick Favors, point guard Devin Harris, two draft picks and $3 million.
No team is immune to the threat of free agency, as Boston showed by dealing the expiring contract of cornerstone 6'10" center Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder in a deadline shocker on Feb. 24. But the East-leading Celtics made that move from a position of strength: Not only did they receive 6' 9" combo forward Jeff Green and 7-foot center Nenad Krstic from Oklahoma City, but they were also optimistic that they would replenish their front line with 6' 11" Troy Murphy and a couple of other potential buyout candidates. The trade was based on the certainty that the NBA table is slanted to slide players toward such big-market contenders as Boston.
National audiences have made it clear they enjoy watching the league's have-not franchises feed talent to the haves. While the NFL thrives on parity, the NBA is marketed around a limited group of individual stars. Fans loved the NBA in the 1980s, when the deeply stocked Lakers, Celtics and 76ers dominated, and they loved it in the '90s, when they could count on seeing Michael Jordan in the Finals year after year. Now Miami has three of the biggest young stars ready to challenge the Celtics' future Hall of Famers and the two-time champion Lakers, with their league-leading payroll; meanwhile, the deep-rostered Spurs, Mavericks, Bulls, Magic and Thunder are all in pursuit. The postseason is going to be spectacular.
The union has no grounds to gripe about rollbacks in player compensation, given that the average NBA salary is more than $5 million. But the players have a rare chance to win the battle for public opinion by portraying themselves as caretakers of the current system while accusing the owners of trying to ruin a hierarchy that fans are standing to applaud. The union claims that enhanced revenue sharing can fix most of the financial difficulties faced by small markets. But Stern isn't buying it. "You can't revenue-share your way to a profit as a league," he says.
The majority of his owners have demanded that Stern come up with a model that escalates the value of all 30 franchises. Why should anyone buy the Grizzlies or the Hornets (currently held in ownership by the NBA) when neither team can make a profit, much less compete with the championship payrolls of the Lakers and the Celtics? The owners are seeking a hard salary cap that would prevent the big- spending teams from investing in an extra star or two at the cost of a luxury-tax penalty; in the future, budgets will be tighter, and talent may be scarcer.
The owners insist that the current model is unsustainable, and, face it, they'll have the final say because they can hold out longer in a lockout than the players can. So spend the last four months of this collective bargaining agreement in celebration of the rivalries, the abundance of must-see games and the ongoing speculation over Chris Paul's ultimate free-agent destination. Because we may never see an NBA season like this one again.
Every since the our first table setting dynasty of George Mikan, Lakers fans have been spoiled by having a flag ship franchise and owners who were willing to spend huge amounts of money to ensure success.
But the new face of the NBA will shortly include the bête noir of all Lakers fans, the dreaded H word: The Hard cap. Just like they have in the NFL. The league and owners want a better competitive playing field for fans of all team, and to cut team costs. They have seen what a level playing field has done with skyrocketing NFL ratings and how the cap has helped owners with their bottom lines.
The implications of this for us and other high spending teams is manifold. No longer will you have a team with a West, a Chamberlain and a Baylor. No more teams with Magic, Kareem, Worthy and Scott. It means the end of a conglomeration like Kobe, Pau, Drew and Lamar.
No more Celtics of the 60’s or 80’s, no more Miami Heat or Celtics of today. That will all be ended by the hard cap.
In the future, if you have a max player like Kobe, you will most likely be able to have one more elite, though not as good player, then the rest of your roster to be filled out by hard working role players. Think Kobe with Drew, or Pau or Lamar. Think of him with one of those guys and no others. Think of the rest of them playing on other teams. The future face of the league for all teams.
This will also obviate a move such as bringing in a Dwight Howard in the future if Kobe is still here. He will have to go to a team that can pay him and stay under the cap. Other teams will be able to give him much more money than the Lakers will.
We have been very lucky to have an owner like Dr. Buss, who through his financial largesse built Showtime, the Threepeat team and now this one. In the NFL, Jerry Jones, if given his druthers would spend any amount of money to win a title. Much like Dr. Buss. But under the NFL hard cap, he can’t spend any more money than any other team. He is in effect handcuffed, as will Dr. Buss.
For Lakers fans, this will be the end of long days of wine and roses we have enjoyed. It will stop the seemingly endless dynasties we have witnessed decade after decade. It will not predicate a collapse of our fortunes, but it will end the joy ride we have been living. In the NFL, teams with good management, like the Patriots and Steelers, still have great years, teams and championship glory, by spending limited money wisely and drafting and developing players with acumen. Teams that don’t are dead.
And that will be the formula for success in the future NBA. The Lakers will have to draft and develop players better than they have in the recent past. They will not be able to afford a major screw up like the Walton contract and hope to build a championship team. Because they will not be able to go out and stockpile a Pau, a Lamar, an Artest, to cover up mistakes with more spending.
If the Lakers are smart, like the Steelers and Patriots of the NFL, they will still have good years over time. Just the unending joy ride to championships and dynasties will end with the new, level playing field.
For the Lakers fans, Celtic fans and for other elite, high spending teams, it will mean the death knell to a glorious era. For fans of the other teams in the league, it will usher in a bright, new, shining era. It will mean the Clevelands, the Trail Bblazers, the Golden States will have access to stars, to a level playing field that will mean they too can compete on an equal level with teams like the Lakers.
NFL ratings have never been higher. Because fans know their team, a have not now, can in just a couple years be celebrating a Super bowl triumph. That is because of the hard cap and the player movement it engenders. As a Lakers fan, I won’t like the new NBA as I do the current one. I am used to being spoiled by Dr. Buss and the current system. I am a selfish Lakers fan. But as a NBA fan, I understand the need for this. If I had been a fan of say Milwaukee, I would have stopped watching the NBA years ago. Because what is really the point of rooting for a team that, because of the system, you know will never win a championship? That is not a good system for league health, and is unfair to loyal fans who just want an even chance to complete with teams with deeper pockets. All teams go through ups and downs, but as a fan, you do need to know your team can win a title on a level playing field. Something the NBA does not give most of its fans.
So when you watch this team march on to perhaps another title, relish it. Enjoy every second of it. We are watching the last team of a dying era. In the near future, the face of the NBA will be much different, and Lakers championships so very much harder to come by.
The league is about to get a face life. So serious we won’t even recognize it. For the fans of the Lakers and few other similar teams, the days of forever wine and roses are coming to an end.
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Lakers crush Spurs: Surge shows no move was the best move.
Posted by: SPQR on Sunday, March 06, 2011 - 05:03 PM
So the Lakers continue to storm out of the gate like Secretariat charging for the triple crown since the all star break. |
Undefeated, their latest victim was the West leading San Antonio Spurs. Sunday, the Lakers made them look more like the Clippers than a team with legitimate hopes to upend the champs in the summer.
It was a great win for us; besides the Boston game, our best of the year in my view. It was a statement game for us, for San Antonio, and the league. It said the Lakers are back in business and pretenders need not apply. It was the kind of game and athletic exposition that we have been sorely lacking this year. It is nice to see it again.
With games on this trip still against Dallas and Miami, the Lakers can continue to make these kinds of statements to others who presume to have what it takes to claim the thrown. With Boston trading away that valuable commodity of height in Perkins for some speed, the Lakers chances for the three peat suddenly are blooming like the flowers of springtime. Boston had their reasons for making that trade, either salary cap next year or because they thought it would make them stronger this year. To me, it weakens them against not only us, but Chicago, Miami and Orlando, too. I am glad they made that trade.
Watching Andrew Bynum once again dominate today on the boards and defensively, I am also glad we did not pull the trigger on the Carmello trade. Since the all star break, the best rebounding and defensive center in the league has not resided in Orlando, but in LA. His play is not really a huge surprise to those who have followed him closely his whole career. Any time Drew has had a lengthy time of play unimpeded by injury, he has done nothing but improve by leaps and bounds. Now, once again, healthy, he is following that pattern.
Jeff Van Gundy said it best. Drew dominated that game from the very beginning, and he did it only scoring 2 points in the first quarter when he set the tone for both teams. In just a couple of minutes it seemed he had two blocks and five rebounds. He just shut down everything San Antonio wanted to do in the paint and allowed them no second chances. On defense he was everywhere. Throughout the game, it seemed like he corralled every other rebound. Mark Jackson also talked about why we will win the title if we play at the top our game. Because with Drew, we have the size and talent of no other team.
Since the all star break, Drew has been doing his best Bill Russell interpretation: rebounding and blocking shots at will. Van Gundy also said if Drew were on another team, he would be the first scoring option and would be a perennial all star. This is true too. But in Drew we have a true rarity: a player without ego. He does what he is allowed to do, all the while smiling and having fun. On another team, without an egocentric scorer like Kobe, Drew would be getting a steady flow of shots every game. But even though most players want that on their resume, after all 23 points a game instead of 11 or less looks much better at contract time, or even when you are talking with your friends, Drew does not complain, does not say he would welcome a trade, does not state he wants to be the man, nor is he tired of playing in anyone’s shadow. He just smiles and plays.
He is the ultimate chemistry teammate.
What is ironic about that fact is that many Kobephiles on here were so keen on trading the ultimate chemistry player on this team for Carmello Anthony, to help Kobe with the scoring. These people were overlooking so many issues that since the all star break have come into sharper focus. First of all, before you bring in a star player, you better understand and project how your current stars will accommodate them. Watching Kobe jack up shot after shot since the all star break, and seeing Carmello do the same on the east coast with the Knicks once again begs the obvious question both men’s games and ego’s brought up during the trade discussions. How can two men, both of whose basketball self worth is dependent on being the main scorer on their teams, possible co-exist happily on the same team? And how would a proud player like Pau be happy trying to pick up garbage points when Kobe and Carmello are jacking up even more shots in an effort to outscore the other? And how long would it take before we read articles in the LA Times about the new ‘problems’ with team chemistry? And then would LTB take a pro Carmello vs a pro Kobe tone in the scoring wars? Lol.
The Kicks got Carmello. And what did they get with him? A scoring star who immediately decided to take over that role on the team. We all know how much Kobe would have loved that here. And honestly, we also know exactly what his reaction to that would be, don’t we? The Knicks also got a star who does not like to, nor does he play defense. So now they are scoring like gang busters and giving up points like candy on Halloween eve, the latest being 115 points to Cleveland in another loss.
So by not making that trade, the Lakers kept their biggest, strongest player, their best rebounder, and yes, now their best defensive player, and didn’t get a smaller, weaker, player who doesn’t like to play defense but would have loved taking Kobe’s shots for him. How does that trade sound now? Still so appetizing? Sound like we would have some serious fun with Melo?
Especially interesting when you look at the last three NBA champions, Boston, LA and LA, who all won those titles with size, defense and rugged play. Not smaller, weaker, defenseless scorers squabbling about who is going to get the most shots off in a game.
The lesson here is, whenever you think a new superstar is the cure for what ails your team, you better take a good close look at your team dynamics. How will the game that new star play effect your current stars, and the next couple guys in the pecking order of your team. Who are the teams you have to beat to win a title? Does the trade you are thinking about actually help you beat a San Antonio, A Boston, a Chicago, a Miami, or does it really hurt you? Is that new player gold, or just very shiny fool’s gold for your particular team?
The ultimate irony of the Drew for Melo deal that many Kobephiles and Laker fans wanted to pull the trigger on is that they would be trading away the PERFECT player for Kobe- Drew- for a guy who would do nothing but cause Kobe problems- Carmello.
In Drew, Kobe has the perfect teammate: egoless, a rebounder, a defender and a scorer who does not care how many times Kobe jacks up shots at a lower percentage than Drew would. In other words, a scorer who does not care if he scores. Does not care what Kobe (and the others) take from him on the scoring end. Yet this guy, the perfect Kobe fit, is the guy so many wanted to blithely trade away?
So the next time you want someone to help Kobe out with the scoring, remember this, we have three guys who already can. It does not matter if they are named Carmello, Drew or Pau or Lamar, what matters is how many chances they are given. And on this team, no matter who Robin is, he’s only getting so many chances. Its better to have Robins who can live with that than one who can’t. And they better be ready to live with that reality, because that’s how it is as long as Kobe is here. And that's the truth.
And now the road trip goes on. Some more tests to pass. If we keep playing like this, it would take a hell of an effort to beat us in seven games. And with Boston sans Perkins, I am not sure if they have the effective size to turn the trick either. Things are now starting to look good. Drew is hitting his stride, so is the entire team. The competition seems weaker, Boston is smaller.
Like Secretariat rounding the turn at Belmont all those years ago, suddenly the Lakers can see the finish line, and just as suddenly they have the look of the best horse in the business.
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25 Regular Season Games Left: How Many More Losses?
Posted by: lakeshowsd on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 01:06 PM
With 25 Regular season games remaining for the Lakers, I think they will either go 15-10 or 14-11 in their remaining games. They're playing a lot of playoff caliber teams, including the OKC Thunder, the Spurs, the Mavs, the Heat, the Hawks, and many others. We all know how poorly the Lakers generally perform against top notch competition, so I think it's hard to be optimistic about the Lakers' chances of securing a top 2 seed in the playoffs.|
I'm thinking the Lakers will finish with a pathetic, underachieving record of 53-29 or 52-30, which will be good for probably a 4th seed in the conference. The Lakers will not enjoy home court advantage in any playoffs series after the first round, and the 3-Peat is going to have to be earned on the road or not at all.
2/22: VS Hawks - Win: Lakers will come out of the gate inspired to play good enough basketball to win this game, but it won't last...
2/23: @ Blazers - Loss: Wins in Portland for the Lakers are rare and unlike last season, I don't think this struggling Laker squad is up to the task.
2/25: VS Clippers - Win: Lakers will barely squeak out a win at home against the lowly Clippers and only because Eric Gordon is still injured.
2/27: @ Thunder - Loss: Thunder want payback for that loss they suffered at Staples Center last month. No freaking way the Lakers beat a fiery young Thunder team in OKC.
3/1: @ T-Wolves - Win: I'll give the Lakers the benefit of the doubt and assume they won't lose to another piss poor team like the T-Wolves. The Cavs loss was embarrassing enough.
3/4: VS Bobcats - Loss: Bobcats own us. Period.
3/6: @ Spurs - Loss: A win in San Antonio? Not these Lakers.
3/8: @ Hawks - Win: The Lakers will muster up enough pride to win this tough game, which will serve as their only win on this 4 game road trip.
3/10: @ Miami - Loss: The Heat are better offensively and defensively, and they're a more motivated team. I see another sad blowout loss here.
3/12: @ Mavs - Loss: Lakers will be deflated after the stunning blowout loss to the Heat and they'll head home with their tail between their legs after the Mavs work them over.
3/14: VS Magic - Win: The Lakers will salvage some pride and squeak out a narrow victory at home against the Magic.
3/18: VS T-Wolves - Win: They can't lose at home against the T-Wolves. Right?
3/20: VS Blazers - Win: Trailblazers rarely get a win in L.A.
3/25: VS Clippers - Loss: As they've done so often this season, I think the Lakers will let their guard down and lose another one in stunning fashion.
3/27: VS Hornets - Win: A bounce back win after losing to the Clippers
3/31: VS Mavs - Win: This will serve as our one and only win against the Mavs this season.
4/1: @ Jazz - Loss: I expect the Jazz to be playing better ball by this time in the season and they'll be rounding into playoff form. No way the Lakers win another regular season game at Utah this season.
4/3: VS Nuggets - Win: We can't lose to the Carmelo-less Nuggets. Right?
4/5: VS Jazz - Win: Utah is cursed and they can't win in L.A.
4/6: @ Warriors - Win: In a high scoring affair, the Lakers will win, but only because the Warriors are terrible defensively.
4/8: @ Blazers - Loss: I foresee no Laker wins at Portland this year.
4/10 VS Thunder - Win: This game will have a playoff feel and the Lakers will win by a narrow margin.
4/12 VS Spurs - Loss: This will conclude the Spurs regular season sweep of the Lakers. Why? It just seems like it's their year; not ours.
4/13 @ Kings - Loss: This game will likely be meaningless, assuming the Lakers will have locked up the 3rd or 4th seed, and the Lakers won't show up ready to play. Just as they did last season, I see the Lakers going into the playoffs with a big fat L.
The mighty lakeshowsd has spoken...
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Lakers half assed offense brought to you by Phil and Kobe.
Posted by: SPQR on Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 03:42 PM
In the wake of our threepeat losses to Orlando, Charlotte and , ugh, Cleveland, there is shock and dismay on LTB about the play of our team. Basketball of course is divided up to the offensive component and the defensive component. When you have players like Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest and big players like Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, why would give up 104 points to a team like the Cavaliers? This defensive letdown has happened more than once. You can pick out a bushel of games we have lost, many of them to bottom feeders in the league to illustrate the point. I honestly don’t have an answer to why this team so many times just cannot defend even against the most hapless of opposition. Is it a schematic problem, an effort problem, a problem of a lack of basketball smarts? I honestly don’t know. Perhaps some of you have some thoughts to lend to that question. Please feel free to share them on the thread along with anything else you wish to say.|
One the offensive side of the ball, I do have a theory of why this team sometimes seem so incapable of utilizing the very obvious talents that are available to it. Some of you may not like what I think, but as always, I am just trying to be honest based on what I have observed in regards to the type of team and players we have.
This is what I see on the offense side: We have three low post talents, Kobe, and then a bunch of guys who range from mediocre to offensively challenge at best. It would be obvious to even a child that we should attack through the low post almost every game. That is simply predicated on where the bulk of our scoring talent and mismatches against other teams are. This should be paramount with this team almost every game. Any change in that strategy would be motivated by moves made by their opponents. Those moves by their very nature would make things much easier for Kobe, Fish, Artest and the others. But the problem we have is this, the leader of this team-Kobe-is not one of our low post players. And he also happens to be very proficient scorer. He also has the mindset that he HAS TO BE the main scoring option on the team. Now I know some of his bigger fans will think I am just ripping him for this. But that’s not why I say it. It is just the truth that I am stating in reference to this team. And anyone who is honest with him or herself about Kobe knows this is true.
So here you have a low post team with a guard, a very, very great scoring guard, who insists that he has to be the main scorer. That by itself already hurts the low post game and the way we SHOULD play ball. And this has a trickledown effect to the other players. Fish, Brown, Artest and the others know that Kobe is on most nights, going to get a lot of shots off, and the most shots. So that leaves precious little for the other guys who are not playing the low post. So they have an option, feed most of the rest of the chances to the post players, or take shots themselves. When you watch Fisher, Brown and Artest over and over again ignore players in the low post who have position to take shots themselves; you can see which choice they are making. And the fact is, this tone starts with Kobe. Once again, I am not saying this to disparage or be mean to Kobe, but it’s a fact. He is the guy, because of his nature and attitude, that kills the low post more than anyone else both by how he plays and the consequences that his decision engenders for the other players.
Some people have said to me, "But Kobe feeds the post more than the others." And that is true. I agree with that, because he does. But they are missing the point. The point is this: If you run across a starving dog and you give him half a cracker, you are just giving him half a cracker, you are not really feeding the starving dog. Feeding the post more than others does not mean you are feeding the post enough.
I thought one of our perfect games was that second Boston game. The post was feed, by Kobe. Yet when we needed him to score to finish the game, he did. That’s the correct formula for ALL our games. But the fact is, Kobe will not sacrifice enough to do it. And consequently, neither will the other players. They are following the leader.
Now Phil being the coach, could try to change this. That would entail sitting players who don't want to play smart ball. Including Kobe. But it is just as obvious, that Phil has no intention of going down that path of contention with Kobe or the others. He limits himself to mumbling, "We should have gone to the post more," after those kinds of losses. That’s a nice sentiment as far as it goes, but it is clear that this team is going to follow Kobe’s lead and never become a true low post team. It will always remain a half assed low post team as long as Kobe is here and the others try to get the scraps that he leaves instead of giving it all up for the post. Kobe is just like Jordan. But the difference is this: Jordan had a perfect team for himself and the game he wanted to play on the offensive end. Chicago was a defensive, rebounding machine where the paucity of other scorers predicated that HE and HE alone was the main man putting the most shots up on almost any night. It was the best route for them to take because of the makeup of that particular team. Kobe is on a different kind of team. His team has an abundance of low post scorers. But he is playing it like Jordan because like Jordan, he can't stand the thought of anyone else averaging what he does or even more. That’s just not allowed to happen. And if his ego and desires hurt the team, he is perfectly willing to make that sacrifice. That’s just the way it is here. If the problems are with Kobe and Phil much of the time, because Kobe just has to be the big man on the scoring campus, and Phil because he is the old tired professor on campus, then that’s just the truth of the situation.
This team is not like that Bulls team, where a later day Michael Jordan-Kobe Bryant- would and should get the lion’s share of the shots every single night no matter what.
This team, because of its low post threats, is more like the present day Boston Celtics or Miami Heat or San Antonio Spurs. It is a team that would best attack the particular mismatch that presents itself on a given night. For Boston, that could be a combination of Big Baby, Perkins and Shaq. On other nights it would be Garnett, on others Allen or Pierce or even Rondo. For Miami, it would be Wade on a night, Lebron on another, or often a close combination of both. Or on some occasions, even Bosh. For San Antonio, it could mean Duncan, Ginobilli, Parker or even Jefferson.
Do you know one of the reasons why San Antonio is so good this year? Because coach Pops made a decision in the offseason to deemphasize Duncan as the main scorer, run more and get other guys more shots. Guys he knows can score too. The Lakers, like San Antonio, have other guys who can score. If used every night and given true chances. Like San Antonio and Boston does. Not just once in awhile, but TRUE chances game after game. But we have not gone the route San Antonio has. We remain a team with many weapons, but which insists on using only one with great preponderance every night with much exclusion to the others. And the ripple effect is obvious, both in the post and with the other perimeter players
To illustrate the point, let me ask all of you this question: On any given night, would you bet a large amount of money on who the leading scorer on any of those three teams-Boston, Miami, San Antonio- would be? Of course you wouldn’t. Because they are just that good in playing smart ball, finding what’s working and exploiting that mismatch. That’s how a team that is NOT like the old Bulls should play it.
But if I asked you the same question about the Lakers, you would not only say Kobe Bryant as the answer, but you would end up a rich man if you bet that way all 82 games of the year. See the difference?
Kobe Bryant should be playing the part of Ray Allen or Dwayne Wade, Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobelli on this team. A very important offensive cog on a very well rounded offensive team. And so should Drew, Pau and Lamar. This is a team that would be better served if we didn’t know every night which guy would end up with 24 pts, who would follow with 20, then 18 and so on down the line. Or on some occasions, which one will pop for 35. One night it would be Kobe, another night Pau, another Drew, another Lamar, like it happens on teams like Boston, Miami and San Antonio, depending on who they play, who is hot and where the mismatches are. And that would happen with consistency, not just once in a blue moon like it does now with the Lakers
But the fact of the matter is, Kobe won’t let that happen. It would as if Pierce, or Duncan, or Wade or one of the other just would not let it happen on their teams. That would not help their teams, it would hurt them. Just as it hurts us. It keeps the others in check and it keeps us a half assed low post team instead of smart, aggressive low post team. Once again, no personal slam on Kobe, but simply a statement of what is happening on this team.
This team, because of its offensive makeup, would best be served as a true share the ball team, just as those others are. But it’s not. Kobe has to be the leading scorer. His ego won’t let be any other way. And players like Fish, Brown and Artest are going to do their utmost to get the remaining scraps if they can, rather than give them up for better scorers inside.
And I am not blaming only Kobe. Even with him choosing to play it “Kobes way”, the others could swallow their pride and jump shots and still give it to better scorers inside. And old man Phil Jackson could start to bench players who don’t do this, even if he did not want to get into contention with Kobe and leave him to his own devices. After all, Fish, Artest, Brown and the rest are certainly not the scorers Kobe Bryant is. He could at least force these men into playing much smarter than they do now. So the blame is spread out on a long area. Phil, Kobe and the others. They are culpable in the strange offense we run where we so often ignore our best mismatches and scoring chances in favor of another, shall we say more personally gratifying method.
So when the offense is ragged. When Kobe goes 8-25 like against Cleveland. When he is the leading scorer every night and Fish and Brown and Artest jack up those jumpers instead of exploiting mismatches, think of San Antonio, Boston and Miami. Think about what they do differently, how they utilize ALL their component scoring parts as TRUE equals on any given night. How much better they attack mismatches and the vulnerabilities of other teams. Then you will understand why we have some of the problems we do and how much better we could have been if players were more of a mind to sacrifice personal goals in order to win games.
Because of Kobe’s psychology and the ramifications that trickle down from that to the other players, this team will never be the varied, powerful offensive team that would be so much harder to defend than it is now. Kobe being Kobe, does anyone expect that to change? I sure don’t. So while Miami, Boston and San Antonio are going about this the smart way, I guess we will have to hope that Kobe’s individual brilliance and our half assed low post game that the team grudgingly gives us will be enough to carry the day.
And some defense wouldn't hurt, no matter how they choose to play offense, lol.
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Cleveland Ohio: Where Laker elephants go to die.
Posted by: SPQR on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - 09:19 PM
In Africa, Elephants must migrate during the dry seasons. It is a long tough haul, predicated on the life sustaining search for food and water. You handle the journey with success, you survive and make it home. You don’t and you die and your sun dried bones are mute testament of your failure for other passerbyes to see. It is a just that simple, immutable fact of life in a harsh, dry environment.|
In the NBA, there are also migrations. Big ones; to the playoffs and finals, and smaller ones; where you hit the road for trips that can and will decide your ultimate standing in the league and what and where you will face your opponents if you make the post season. You handle he journey with success, you achieve glory. You don’t and are just another team who gets eliminated as others move on. It is a just that simple, immutable fact of life in a harsh sports environment.
For the Lakers, one of the biggest, toughest bull elephants in the dangerous, predator filled NBA landscape, the schedule militated a long arduous migration starting February 5th. If successful, they would return to the milk and honey of home on the 17th.
The Lakers, a veteran, tough, battle tested pachyderm began the trip in hopes of reasserting its dominance over the league and showing it had no intention of giving up its place in the pecking order to any challengers, new or old.
As the trip began, the agitated bull showed itself to be spry and up to the challenge. It charged into the excursion full of hope and exhibiting brio and energy, looking like the ruler of yore.
It tore through New Orleans and Memphis, two traditionally dangerous areas without faltering or failure. It then braced itself for the move into Boston, where the elements and predators have so very often spelled doom for so many who have tried to traverse that plot of ground. Even then, the bull continued its beautiful trek, smashing through Boston even given the stiff resistance and attack it encountered from the Celtics. Afterwards, it moved onto New York and passed through unscathed, its fine hide still unblemished and unbloodied, its head still proudly unbowed.
In the treacherous terrain of Orlando, it took its first hard hit. It stumbled and fell, but given past victories in its odyssey, it was not an unexpected setback. It was close to home now, it could smell the end of the imposed journey. The hardest part of the trip was behind. All it had to do was right itself on powerful legs and ease past the last few miles to home. It was not to be.
Entering Charlotte, the bull showed signs of weakness. It could not traverse the last, easy path that lay ahead. A path so many other of the elephants so often go through without worry or difficulty. Attacked and beset at all sides, the bull staggered out of Charlotte bleeding and crippled. Its sad, lowing, visceral screams reverberating about the dangerous, unforgiving landscape; a echoing companion to the red blood that trailed it along its now crooked path, indicative of its horrid wounds. Terror and panic filled its brain as it hoped against hope to get through Cleveland and come home with some modicum of achievement. It could smell home, almost see it. But could it reach it?
Some say when an elephant gets old and sick, it goes off by itself to die to a secretative place called the elephant graveyard. It is an old tale, many say a myth, told many times over the centuries. This graveyard, filled with the bones of thousands of elephants has been searched for over the years, but never found. If there is truth to the stories, then this bull certainly knew of it. For this old bull, the path into Cleveland was that final, stumbling, unsteady gait to its grave yard. The old bull, once so proud, once so sleek, so strong, so mean could not even stand up to the weakest and simplest of challenges. It staggered into Cleveland on legs that would not, could not any longer support its bloated, sagging weight as it tried to push on to safety. Muscle had turned to fat. Stamina to exhaustion, victory to defeat, a glorious start to a trip simply had morphed to a sad exit to the grave. Exhausted, confused, hurt beyond repair, the once proud bull collapsed on its front legs, its hind quarters followed, it rolled over and the feast of predators began. In the end the carcass had been stripped bare in the blazing sun and all that had been thought to be won was lost and given up. The agonies of its death throes and screams drowned out by the snapping, feeding jaws of its killers. And that’s how it always ends when a great bull elephant no longer has the strength or wherewithal to traverse the migrations that decide its life or death.
As for my personal thoughts on the game? Pau was the one guy who came to play. At least on the offensive and rebounding end of the court. With 30 points and 20 rebounds, he reminded us all of the brilliant Gasol we had seen so often the last two years, and who has disappeared so much of the time this year. Watching him tonight, I almost forgot how good he can be. It seems like it’s been that long, doesn’t it? Kobe Bryant shot 8 of 25 that seemed like 8 of a thousand. As great as he is, one also marvels at what a total joke he can become when he decides to keep shooting, long after he knows it’s not his night. You would think at this stage of career, he would know better. But he rarely does. As he can carry the team on his back, he can also drive it right into the ground with his ego and stubbornness. We have seen him do both before. Tonight it was the later. Good job, Kobe. Smart game. Andrew Bynum, on a night he was really, really needed managed to put up a pathetic 2-12 shooting night, many of them point blank looks that should have made him 10-12. It seemed like Drew would get 20 fouls before he would make another basket. Nice work, Andrew. Way to step up and grab a definitive place on the team. Lamar Odom was 2 for 6. The Lakers gave up 104 points to one of the worst teams in basketball. One again, defense is something they only seem to understand when it pertains to avoiding reporters after losing games like this.
Did the game make me mad? No, not at all. Was I irritated watching it? Absolutely not. No kidding. I wasn’t. There is a fine line between tragedy and comedy. That is a very old, true axiom. And tonight, for me, the Lakers crossed that line. The game was nothing for me but funny. It was hilarious watching the Los Angeles Lakers pretend they are the defending champions or take pride in what they do or even really care. I don’t think they should get down about it. Why should they? I think they should revel in the loss, embrace it, enjoy every nuance of it and what they are as a team. Why should they do anything but that? That is what I did while watching that divine comedy play itself out.
So the trip ends at the elephant graveyard of Cleveland. We came, we saw, we got killed and buried. All that had been won early on was lost. All that had been gained in the beginning was given back. It was but one trip, a single migration of many during the longer journey of the NBA season. But one thing is clear: if this team does not find some type of formula to correct the wrongs it has, that final trip known as the NBA playoff will end up in the exact same fashion as this one did-with a loss. Not a bang, not an explosion, no glory at all, just a tepid little whimper as we go down to a stronger, harder, tougher more energetic and determined team at the end of the last migration of the bull. And the fact is, there may really be nothing this team can do to prevent that from happening.
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Los Angeles Lakers: The New Whores Of The League
Posted by: cuckooroller on Tuesday, February 01, 2011 - 03:39 AM
Well, the Lakers came with their tried and true game plan, the plan that we have seen all season. |
Zero defense, especially pitiful our bigs (I say this only in recognition of their height, certainly not in recognition of their playing like moral midgets!) went into their terrorized step-back mode, boxing out their own players and perhaps there will be fines involved for anyone on the Lakers that dared to get within five feet of a cutting opponent. Fantastic booty on our assists, I mean 10 assists, to what, 34 assists! What a bunch of fantastic rebounders!
Especially impressive our offense. Stand around with your thumbs in your butts, passing lazily on the perimeter, and heavens no, don't dare go to what should be your strength, the inside game, and why not, because you little turds are afraid of the big bad wolf. Screw this team! What a bunch of little girls!
This is our A-Game, our new normal. The Lepers are so far superior to this mismatched bunch of little farts, that simply could care less, that they did not even need their A-Game, and why should they have. The Lepers knew that this was just a scrimmage against a practise squad, and they only needed to play like men. They probably had pity on these little girls, and did not want to run up the score.
Totally disgusted! They played like Cleveland. Even Cleveland plays with more desire.
As far as the "untouchable", the "uncriticizable" Phil Jackson. Well, I, for one, am tired of your complacency, your zen-ness! This team needs somebody to go into the locker room and rip them a new ässhole!
We are now everybody's bïtch, the class whore. Just look us in the eye, and we spread our legs. We even bring the rubbers! The call is out. The world is on notice. Every male virgin in the world that has never knocked off a piece because they are simply hideous, well, you are in luck, just come to Los Angeles because the Lakers are pulling a train!
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