What's up to all my Laker Nation out there?? If you're like me, you've probably had some sort of doubt in your mind that our beloved Tinseltown Champions will be able to complete yet another three-peat this year. Rightfully so, the Lakers' play as of late has been anything but 'championship' caliber. This is something that we, as Laker faithful, have grown accustomed to in recent years. It seems like every single time they look like they're on the brink of disaster, they somehow miraculously pull it together and continue to win. Seems just like a Hollywood script, right?
I for one, am a critical fan of all of my sports teams, mainly because my dedication to them runs really deep. However, I am always a person who will take into account the good along with the bad, and make my calculated analysis of the situation. The one thing I have noticed about the Lakers is probably what every NBA fan that has witnessed the boys in Purple and Gold in the past 5 years has also noticed; they will most certainly make it entertaining for us. With that in mind, I realize that the Lakers CAN, and in my opinion, most certainly WILL three-peat as long as they do a number of things consistently. Here's just a list of a few contributing factors that I came up with...
First and foremost, they have to come out and play with consistent effort EVERY SINGLE NIGHT! Personally, I think that the Lakers played pretty well in Game 1 against the Mavericks. It didn't translate into a W, but it could have easily been 1-0 in LA's favor(minus the questionable play from Shannon Brown, and the reluctance of Steve Blake to shoot the ball). Had Kobe hit that game winning 3-pointer with 3 seconds left on the clock, we wouldn't even have the bit of doubt in the back of our minds about an early playoff exit. But on the same note, it shouldn't even have come down to that. The second unit pretty much let Jason Terry have his way out there without the slightest bit of defensive pressure to take him off of his game. I also have to put the spotlight on Ron Artest, played horribly racking up a woeful 2 points on 1-8 shooting in 31 minutes of play. Word of advice Ron, stay out of the weight room for a little while. Overall, the effort was there, so if they keep it up at that level or better they'll be fine. Like Scott Brooks told his team last night, " It's hard to always play good, but it's always easy to play hard."
This is the area where I have to say has been seriously lacking since the start of the playoffs. The execution on offense and defense from both units has been quite pedestrian at times. The Lakers have started to look more like a #7 or #8 seeded team instead of the #2 seed because of their piss-poor execution. They need to execute better collectively instead of only on an individual basis. Everyone knows what this team is capable of, including every player who is on the court in a Laker jersey. This is something that all the 7 other remaining teams are surely taking notes of, and those teams are surely not intimidated by the Lakers. If this doesn't improve, Phil can kiss his 4th three-peat good bye.
Have you ever heard the saying, 'United we stand, Divided we fall'? Well, that saying sums this last area up perfectly. With all of these teams trying to knock the two-time defending champs off their throne, each team we face will be that harder of a task. With that in mind, the Lakers cannot continue to rely solely on the Mamba to be the hero every single night. They have to do it together as a TEAM. Teamwork is not just standing around waiting for Kobe to close the game out all the time. Everyone out there on that floor has enough talent to make a difference from game to game, so as soon as this sinks in, that hardware is not far behind. Usually, the Lakers are the masters of making adjustments from game to game. Let's just see if that will happen again tonight.