I began writing about last night's game as a running diary, but given the extreme circumstances, namely the third quarter score of OKC 80, LAL 47, I'm ditching the diary to talk turkey.
This team is struggling to find scoring.
Last season's team was an offensive juggernaut. This season, not so much. The offense has looked stagnant, the team is struggling from behind the arc, and fast break points are scarce.
Part of it is Derek Fisher's well-documented struggles, and part of it is Ron Artest's unfamiliarity on the offensive end. I have no doubt that Artest can hit the same open three pointers that Trevor Ariza used to get regularly, but Artest does not seem to be able to place himself in those open areas in the manner that Ariza did. Ariza's points last season were scored primarly on offensive putbacks, open threes, or steals that created fast breaks. Maybe Artest should ditch the low post and focus on getting his points in the same way.
Luke Walton's absence looms large, hard as that may be for some to believe, because his presence, even if for a few minutes, reminded the Lakers of how to move the ball on offense.
Kobe was in a giving mood last night, with so many turnovers that even if he has none against Houston tonight, he will still be averaging 4.5 TOs in the last two games.
Pau Gasol does not look like Pau Gasol. I haven't seen him hit those fifteen foot shots consistently like last season.
So things don't look so great for our guys right now.
And yet, I find myself thinking about the negative Lakers fans out there, ready to bury the team they root for and close the door on their title aspirations.
I say that's the easy way out. Sure, you might be right that the Lakers won't win, but that's easy, because by piling onto negative bandwagon, you're really taking "the field", which represents the rest of the teams.
Because I believe that no one team has greater than a 50% chance of winning it all this year, so it's unlikely that whatever team you root for will not win the championship.
Why do I think that no team has a greater than 50% chance of becoming the champions? Well, just go down the list of contenders, the Cavs, the Lakers, the Magic, maybe even Denver, Dallas, and Boston. You might think to yourself, well it's either the Cavs or the Lakers, so that's 50% for one, and 50% for the other, but then that would mean Orlando has no chance of winning. That's just silly. The Magic have got to have at least a 20% chance. At least. So whose chances doe that take away from? Do you take the Lakers down to 30%? That's a bit drastic, but fine. But if you leave. So you take the Lakers to down 30% (because you just watched them get punked by the Thunder), and now the Magic are at 20%. But now that means you think there's zero chance for Denver, Dallas, Boston, and whatever teams I've just slighted by making this list. You can't take any more away from the Lakers and the Magic, because you already feel like you're selling them short. You just saw the Cavs lose to the Spurs, so you take the Cavs down to 45% to make room for the rest. But then that's only 5% for Denver, Dallas, and Boston? This needs more adjusting. You should be getting the picture by now. No one team is at more than 50%.
So if you go through the whole exercise above, and decide the Cavs have a 35% chance if winning it all, there's still a 65% chance that they won't win it all. And if it's 30% for the Lakers, then there's a 70% chance they won't get it done.
So, if you're the guy down and out on the team, blasting the team and screaming that the Lakers won't win it all this season over and over again, guess what? You're probably right. And that would be true for any other team.
So you have no special insight when you say you are "able to tell" that this Lakers team won't win a title, because you could say that for any team, and use any reason or analysis, and the odds would be on your side. I already know this, I don't need you to continually harp in the comments that they won't be winning this year. What would be more impressive is if you could tell me which of the contenders above will win and why. I probably wouldn't believe you, but still it would be impressive if you were right year after year.
Which brings me to my meandering point: let's spend less time trying to predict the future, and more time watching and talking about the games. Who's doing what right, and who's doing what wrong, but not so much in the context of "they won't win if they keep doing this or that". I know it's only human to want to know the future before it happens, but try to accept that you can't.
So things don't look too great, but what are you gonna do? Stop watching? If you're a negative Nellie Lakers fan and you continue watching the games, your actions betray your words. If you keep watching, you're admitting on some level that you don't know what's going to happen, unless you're just a masochist.
In fact, this goes out to fans of any team, when your prized team looks like it's down and out (Spurs and Celtics fans, I'm talking to you).
I leave you with the words of Alexander Dumas from The Count of Monte Cristo:
"Live then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words: Wait and hope."