Felt like writing something after watching yesterday's game. I'm fairly new to the site, and I haven't written any fanposts or anything like that before, so more than anything else this is just a place for me to think out loud really. Cheers to anyone who actually is taking time out to read this.
There was just something about yesterday's game that made me reflect a bit. I didn't get to watch Game 2, so I don't know how I would have reacted then, but yeah, Game 4 hurt. Not just because the Lakers lost, when it looked all game that a win was almost inevitable. Somehow Game 4 just felt like the end of an era. I know the Lakers can still reel off 3 straight, but it doesn't seem likely at this point.
I also know the Lakers aren't defending champions, but last year's sweep was different somehow. It felt similar in some ways to 2002-03, the team was coming of 3 straight deep postseason runs, and a mixture of fatigue, injuries, as well as some weird combination of nonchalance and overconfidence. The Lakers were probably more talented than the Mavs. They would be back this year better and stronger. The run wasn't over.
This time, it's different. This feels different. The Thunder are better. The Heat are better when they aren't tripping over themselves. The Spurs are better with all of their depth. If/when Rose returns to being 100% the Bulls will be better. The Clippers and Grizz and Nuggets, these are the teams the Lakers will be battling next year, maybe the Spurs will come back down to earth as well. The NBA is probably looking at an era of Heat and Thunder dominance, it's time for a new rivalry. Maybe I'm just saying this to make me feel better. Somehow, though, it almost feels like a pick up game where you've driven to the basket for layups on too many possessions. Time to let someone else have a go.
I only started watching basketball in 2000, I used to watch the Laker game on TV and so I became a Laker fan. I grew up watching Kobe and Shaq. That was dominance, particularly in 00/01. I didn't fully appreciate at the time the fact that I was watching the greatest team I would ever see play. I have, on the other hand, appreciated the fact that Kobe is the greatest player of his generation, the greatest I have ever watched. It's been fun, through the early championship years, the Shaq-Kobe fallout, the odd year that was 2005, Phil's return and Kobe's individual brilliance in 06/07 (damn those Suns) and the return to dominance post-Gasol. Now, it's all coming to an end. A few years from now, or perhaps sooner, all of this will be blown up and it will be time to rebuild around Bynum. I'm not sure what that is going to mean, because I'm not sure what to make of Bynum.
This is where Stern has hurt us with nixing the Paul trade. At the time I had mixed feelings, before Gasol's regression and Odom's disappearance in a Mavs jersey. Now I see only what could have been, a team built around Paul and Bynum, a continuation of the Laker legacy of always finding a way to add top talent. Bynum in the middle of the draft, the Gasol trade, the Kobe trade, signing Shaq. If I go back before my time, I see names like Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Wilt, West, Baylor. The list goes on. Anyway, no point thinking of what might have been or I could imagine a world where the Lakers are up 3-1 instead of down.
Still, it's been amazing being a Laker fan, even for such a short period of time. I don't doubt there will be more greatness ahead. In fact just writing this makes me think how odd it is to be so downcast about a future built around a 24 year old who might arguably be the second most physically gifted and skilled player in this league after LeBron. How many teams would kill to rebuild around someone like that?
Anyway, this is already dragging on long enough, enough randomess. Thanks again if you actually took the time to read all the way through. Hopefully the Lakers win tomorrow's Game 5 and bring the OKC series back to Staples.