I have learned many things watching years of basketball, and in the playoffs we begin to see things get remarkably repetitive. Very many times we see the home teams defend home court by winning the first two games of a series, this immediately puts the lower seed in a must-win situation once Game 3 rolls around. A loss in Game 3 and the resulting 0-3 hole is as damning as speaking a word about a potential free-agent who recently was bounced from the playoffs early, again. So, when you see the Lakers play a very dreadful game of basketball and lose Game 3 to the Phoenix Suns you must take a look at the positive aspects of the game, and begin to move forward from there.
In the playoffs so much emphasis is put on every single game that we sometimes forget that teams have off nights. In reality, all the Lakers have to do is win four games before they lose four. If they are able to do this for four series they are crowned champions. Losing one game, especially a game that the Suns had to win to save their season doesn’t necessarily mean the Lakers are on the fast track to choking.
When you dissect Game 3 and take a look at it in it’s entirety you can see that this isn’t the Lakers team that showed up the first two games of the season. Before last night’s loss to Phoenix the Lakers hadn’t lost in nearly a month, winning the last two against Oklahoma City before cruising through six games against Utah and the Suns. Considering the Lakers had played championship caliber basketball for the past 28 days I feel they are allowed to lose one.
Now, I don’t want to start excusing poor play or making considerations for off nights, because that will do nothing but cause problems as the playoffs continue to progress. I merely want to say that the Lakers are still on the right track to repeating as NBA Champions. I think that the incredible run the Boston Celtics have been on over the past few weeks is also stirring the nervousness that is currently hovering over Southern California, but we cannot let that cloud reality.
Next: Reasons why it isn’t quite yet time to panic…