Stumbling into the Playoffs
Following that most atrocious “performance” rendered by our beloved Los Angeles Lakers, I honestly had to take a couple of hours before I began trying to piece together the remnants of what was supposed to be a 72 win season back in October. Anger, frustration, and disappointment are the prevalent emotions circulating through Lakers Nation right now, I’m sure. I honestly had to cool off for a bit and not just due to this latest loss. We’ve gone 15-11 overall since the All-Star break and 5-9 against the other division winners in the league (ESPN Power Rankings). Like I said, I had to simmer down, just a tad.
Of all the reactions to the Blazers game that I saw reverberating throughout Facebook, my friend Joey who was (un)fortunately in attendance at Staples Center poignantly summed up the game in saying, “it’s one thing to miss game-winning free throws…it’s another to commit a foul to lose the game”. Apropos to the theme of the season, our lack of aptitude on defense let this one get away.
It is all too easy to get caught up in the fact that our two veteran leaders completely miffed a potential victory at the line by going a combined one for three at the stripe in the last seven seconds, but that is the cop-out excuse to attribute this latest loss to. I can only imagine the fleeting motivation that even Phil Jackson has within his spirit following the contest on a sullen day in L.A.
Jackson has held back no strings this year in suggesting that perhaps he has lost control of the squad, to which the team disagrees. More alarmingly however, it seems that Father Time is finally exacting his merciless repeal of Kobe’s athleticism, which evidently hinders the Mamba’s ability to dominate and dictate the ebb and flow of the game. No. 24 may be locked up until 2014, but Phil’s contract is still a major issue that will certainly have to be dealt with after the season. One can only wonder though what the Lakers could look like next October if the team fails to achieve the most significant of the early season goals that were set – defend our 2009 NBA championship.