The Lakers have snuck their way into a seventh seed in the playoffs, but after an 82 game roller coaster ride of a regular season, what words are left to describe this Lakers team? The team of superstars who came together for nothing less than to win a championship. That same team whose playoff future was in jeopardy up until their last game of the regular season?
Well, how about a bit of a disappointment? Sure. Inconsistent? Absolutely. Old and slow? I can’t argue against that. Battered and banged up? Undoubtedly. But, there are also a few words that cannot and have not been used to describe the Lakers organization since Dr. Jerry Buss re-invented the purple and gold. Boring. Dull. Uninteresting.
The Lakers last game of the regular season played by that same motto. With 16 seconds on the clock, and the Lakers up by three points, the clock dwindled as the Rockets scrambled for a shot, and Chandler Parsons wound up with the ball. With the clock expiring, Parsons threw up a prayer that could have been mistaken for a line-drive, and as if to purposefully put emphasis on the way this season has gone for the Lakers, the ball clanked in, and the game was sent to overtime.
“I think Steve Nash said it best, or Dwight, I forget which one said it but after they threw in the 3 to tie the game and it went into overtime, he said ‘It’s been hard all year, this stuffs happened all year, so why was this any different?” – Mike D’Antoni
It wasn’t any different, and the Lakers would need (surprisingly and also fittingly) a dunk from Jodie Meeks to seal an overtime win against the Rockets to avoid playing the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round. If you would have told me at the beginning of the season that Jodie Meeks would dunk in an overtime win to help the Lakers shimmy into the seventh seed on their last game of the regular season, I might have thanked you for the amusement.
I probably would have also said that happening was about as likely as Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Jordan Hill, Dwight Howard, Antawn Jamison, Steve Blake, Steve Nash and Metta World Peace all sustaining injuries (none minor and some season-ending). And so, while their team leader Kobe Bryant sat at home, immobile and in a cast for his ruptured Achilles, the Lakers once again rose to the occasion.
“It [the game] pretty much sums up the whole season. We went through a whole lot of adversity but the character this team showed….” – Antawn Jamison
The Lakers will now face the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. And, once again, the Lakers will have a chance to make history.
No seventh seed has ever won an NBA championship. The lowest seed to win a championship was the sixth seeded Houston Rockets in 1994-1995. And, if the Lakers are going to do it, it’s going to be without their leader Kobe Bryant and possibly without a healthy Steve Nash. That doesn’t stop Metta World Peace from dreaming big (video here).
“I know we have the team here…Dwight has led a team before to the championship (*Eastern Conference Title)…And if I’m not mistaken this team might be more talented than that team.” – Metta World Peace
The Lakers, who will travel to San Antonio on Sunday, have a tough road ahead. The Spurs have not missed a playoff appearance since Tim Duncan was drafted in 1997. Under Head Coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs have won four championships, and they have looked championship ready the entire year. But, this Lakers team has shown their best through times of adversity.
“San Antonio’s a great team and it’s obviously not going to be easy, but like they said, it hasn’t been easy all year, so why would it be easy now?” – D’Antoni
I’m hoping I have another Jodie Meeks overtime dunk to write about in game seven of the series. Heck, why not keep it really interesting and shoot for Robert Sacre to bring the Lakers back from a 25-point deficit?
I mean, it is the Lakers after all. Entertainment. Never a dull moment. Just as Dr. Buss envisioned it.
VIDEO: Dwight Howard After Lakers Beat The Houston Rockets In Overtime