Now over a quarter of the season into this devilish season, the Los Angeles Lakers continue to be "not very good right now". In fact, they are terrible, completely. The New York Knicks took them to the cleaners in Madison Square Garden. Fitting; the Lakers served as a lamb to the slaughter in the "mecca" of basketball. The Knicks slapped the Lakers around with a final score of 116-107. Knicks victory, Lakers shame.
Defense, defense, DEFENSE. The resistance against the Knickerbockers was nefarious, starting off the night giving up 41 points (22 of those belonging to Carmelo Anthony), and never putting the brakes on a Knicks team that continues to roll through the NBA. Go figure, another 40+ points given up in a quarter (the first quarter this time), and another loss to add to the pile. It has been everything in regards to porous defense with this heartless rendition of the purple and gold. Transition defense, half court defense, rotations... EVERYTHING. There is no bright spot on this D, only dark blemishes that muck up the rest of their "effort". Mike D'Antoni tried everything; inserting Robert Sacre, Devin Ebanks, and even Earl Clark into the game to try and find any semblance of a spark.
All to no avail.
The Knicks looked every bit the real deal as they mutilated and decapitated the Lakers. While many (including myself) preach patience as the Lakers wait for Pau Gasol and Steve Nash it became increasingly difficult to believe that this group of players has any hope of even seeing the NBA Finals through a telescope, hundreds of miles away. Hell, with the way they're playing they'd be lucky to see beyond the first round (and surely many will say that the Lakers aren't even playoff bound in the comments below). Here's a pair of binoculars and my prayers, fans.
Carmelo Anthony went down (while Amar'e Stoudemire continues to miss time) and the Lakers cut down a monstrous lead as Kobe Bryant fought against back spasms. Because, quite simply, Kobe Bryant is more machine than man. When this man retires it will be a sad, sad day in basketball history. More so than most care to acknowledge. He may shoot his teams "out of games", but count the number of teams that gave him reason to believe in their ability to take care of it themselves?
I'll be here waiting.
He fought for his teammates to come through as they shrank down the differential in the games final moments, while ending the night with a team best 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists. All in 44 minutes of back killing action as he found refuge in ice packs and/or heat packs through each timeout. His effort remained while he fought through back spasms, and even then, he tried to push his teammates.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Kobe has been more encouraging of his teammates during this fourth-quarter run. They're responding. ... NY 113, LA 107 with 1:27 left.</p>— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) <a href="https://twitter.com/KevinDing/status/279431255999782912" data-datetime="2012-12-14T03:42:57+00:00">December 14, 2012</a></blockquote>
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Yet, they fell short. As usual. As has been the case while Steve Nash and Pau Gasol rotate suits out of their closets and watch their teammates stack up losses they will somehow, someway, need to find a way to account for eventually. Some say the playoffs create a fresh slate, but with the habits the Lakers are forming it's hard to imagine those habits being any better than picking up routine usage of methamphetamine.
Tomorrow night the Lakers face the Washington Wizards, in Washington D.C., in what may very well be the platform for the lowest of low points this season. Prepare the bomb shelters, everybody, because a loss tomorrow night...
Full recap in the morning.
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