Hello all, chiming in after the loss to the Nugs.
Rarely have I seen the Lakers perform so poorly. Wait, check that. Rarely have I seen a team as gifted as the Lakers perform in such a piss-poor manner in any professional setting. I guess I could think back to other ugly games and seasons over the past few years; the let down loss and blow-out against Boston in the finals; losing to Detroit in 2004. Thinking out loud (threw my keyboard) in reality I don't think I've EVER had to witness such a frustrating performance over the past 20 years!
As fans, as the paying multitudes that buy the gear, purchase the tickets, watch and cheer, we deserve more than that! Calmer fans may be able to look to the next game. Not I...
I know, I know. It's one game. So let's get some stuff out of the way:
- Lakers are reigning champs
- There were bad calls and no calls
- It was a back to back and the Lakers were playing in Denver which is like 8000 feet above sea level and our boys were suffering from a poor circadian rhythm and Kobe was sick like a couple of weeks ago.
- Phil didn't call a timeout.
- The starters didn't play the 4th quarter.
- The Spaniard isn't playing.
Okay whew. That's out of the way. What I really want to focus on, and what drives a fan(atic) like me crazy is the lack of intensity the Lakers displayed last night. In fact, they do this all the time! While watching other dynasties over the past 20 years I don't think I've ever seen such as lack of intensity, and drive, that the Lakers are apt to bring to a game on any given night. Sure they won last year when it counts, and they're the champs, I've already gone over that. I don't care. With the level of skill our teams has, the basketball savvy, and the leadership from Kobe and Fisher there should never be a night like what we witnessed on Friday (the thirteenth). I hope this stings the Lakers into being a meaner, more intense, more focused squad. They have a chance to do be a fixture in the finals for the next few years. Time to sack up!
What I'd like to see:
Hate- It's good. It works. Controlled anger directed at your opponent burns bright and helps feed to ... intensity. After the game Bynum said, “I don’t think it’s a rivalry at all. They might feel that way, but we don’t.” WRONG youngster. It is a Rivalry because as fans we can't stand Denver, and you play for us! If that drubbing doesn't make you want to get back in there and grind them under your Nikes, then something is wrong.
Artest- Dear Mr. Arest, how grand it is that you haven't gone all "loco" and stuff and jumped into the stands. How nice of you to hold Melo's hand last night after he threw you on the ground. How restrained you were after being called for weak call after call which resulted in your sitting out the rest of the game. Screw that. I want the angry, feisty Arest back. Hey Kobe, let him off his leash already. Ron is an intimidator. He's a competitor, and every now and then we need someone to lay down the law (sorry Sasha, it aint you!). Avoid the misdemeanor, but hey, I want Artest to get PISSED. Kmart/Birdman/JR... closet thugs and toughs. I mean, last year I learned that Artest played such gnarly basketball that people used to get KILLED on the courts where he grew up. Bring some real street onto the court every now and then and get tough.
Bench Mob- Okay you guys suck. No really, you suck (except you Shannon. Thanks for the effort.). You're supposed to get in there and work your butts off. If you dont' have the skill, go Rambis and play with heart. Run the offense. Play fluid, and put some work in. You don't have the right to argue calls. You don't have the right to gripe and moan when something doesn't go your way (I'm talking to you Sasha). You need to earn that. And right now, you've earned jack.
Pride in the paint- Apparently last night a leprechaun laced up some keds, put on a Denver uniform, and dunked so hard over Mbenga (who comes from the most hard core 'hood on the planet, the freakin Congo) that he toppled over like a big tower of lame. Lawson is good. I give him that. What I don't understand is the lack of tough play inside that has been a point of contention over the past few years. Pau get's his rebounds, and does those moves. Lamar is often times a beast, and Bynum gets his. I'm not talking about this. Protect the basket, get some pride. It's your hoop. Put the hammer down. I'm not talking about cheap shots and bad fouls. I'm talking about making the other team earn their shots the hard way. I see all too often people driving in on our bigs and after the play they kind of sit around looking at one another. Remember, for all the praise Melo got about the 3rd quarter, he did score most of his points on uncontested layups.
I'll leave it at that, but in parting would like to recap. The reigning champs scored 8 points in the 3rd quarter. I'm pretty sure LA City college could have scored at least 9 points. They scored 23 points in the second half, and Phil pulled the plug, not even letting the starters back in during the 4th quarter. Since when have professional teams quit with a full 25% of the game remaining? Denver are not good winners. They do not respect LA. They have lots of guys with tattoos and bad attitudes. I do not like them. We do not like them. They are good. They consider this game a statement of what is to come. Other teams were watching. What are you going to do Lakers? I'm hoping they grow to hate a little bit. Thanks Denver, I think we really needed that. Here's hoping tomorrow's pie is pumpkin, and not humble all over again.