So here we are, exactly where most of us feared we could be, and where we allowed ourselves to believe we wouldn't be, following eight mostly lop-sided victories to start the season.
We had strengthened our bench, We had Matt Barnes backing up Artest, Blake ready to bail out Fisher, and our defense appeared "sick," — and we were happily opting for the positive form of that term.
Kobe was as healthy as he was going to be and he'd be faster and have his elevation back; Bynum was coming soon; and were teasing ourselves with thoughts of a possible flirtation with 70 wins.
Yet, in the back of my mind, and probably yours, the awareness remained that this was still "The Lakeshow," with every bizarre thought that brings. These are guys who think the actual season starts in late March, and play that way most of the time. They only get up for three or four teams and maybe a dozen games a year — if that.
I've come to believe that even losing home court advantage is not terribly worrisome to some, if not many of the Lakers. After all, all they have to do is win one of the first two on the road in any such series, and HCA shifts back to them. Would HCA really be a huge deal in any Western series? Wouldn't we all adopt the Lakers' attitude if facing Denver, Dallas, Oklahoma City, or San Antonio — that all we need to do is steal one and then we're good?
Until this attitude fails them and they fall short, I don't see them changing. And, of course (we hate to admit it, but), they're right. Just beat the other guy in his building and all that goofing around during the regular season really didn't matter. Phil and even Kobe can each bark to his heart's content. Nothing anybody says or writes will change these guys, nor anything scrawled on this forum.
So hey, "Don't worry, be happy."
Actually, I'm going to buy in to it.
The loss to Miami is MEANINGLESS. Bynum was a non-factor and it's a whole different team when he's on his game. All we learned yesterday was what a Finals could look like if we have to play the Heat without him. I firmly believe that there's no way we can win such a series unless Miami just plays way below their abilities. Hate Lebron 'til you're blue, but when he plays like yesterday, and if Wade and Bosh get around 20 each — and if anybody else does anything at all — we''re not a match for them unless we have Bynum and Gasol in sync.
I think we're going to get slapped around by San Antonio as well, and then Boston. Further, I don't believe this team will win much more than 55 games, and will very likely be on the road at some point in the Western playoffs.
That said, Jackson will get the team together at the end and they'll be ready for the run to the threepeat.
I still see the Lakers and Celtics, regardless of whatever attitude or shortcomings our guys display over the next three months.
It's just who they are.