The Los Angeles Lakers have nothing to play for and haven’t for some time, but that hasn’t stopped them from reveling in some aspect of this godforsaken season. In the last weekend alone, they’ve seriously affected the outcomes for the Clippers and Utah Jazz, and have enjoyed doing it.
Still, the team’s last two wins had a bittersweet tone to them, as while it was fun to once again pick on little brother and send another team daring to wear purple in Los Angeles packing, you couldn’t help but wonder what could’ve been.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was asked after Sunday night’s win over Utah if he wishes he’d seen this from the Lakers before the postseason was all but officially out of reach a couple months ago.
“I wish I was playing like this to start the season. But now we just want to finish strong and play free. We just want to have fun with each other,” he told reporters. “Our season didn’t turn out how we wanted it to turn out, unfortunately… But why not just wreck some other [teams’ seasons]? Come on, chill with us at home.”
According to JaVale McGee, teams tempt fate by taking anyone lightly in the NBA on any given night. This is pretty rich coming from the starting center of a team that dropped meaningful games to the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers, but still.
“I think that (Utah) thought it’s going to be an easy game,” he told reporters Sunday night. “Everyone is out, all the starters, everyone who averages double figures is out. But this is the NBA, just because guys are on the bench doesn’t mean they can’t get starters minutes and put up starters points. This is the NBA, everyone is good.”
McGee was very honest about why it is the Lakers played so hard against the Clippers and Jazz, and apparently they’re all haters.
“I feel like we’re playing out there with a little bit of jealousy,” he said. “We’re kind of mad that [they’re] in the playoffs and we’re not. So we’re gonna mess up [their] bracket for the hell of it.”
With a well-rested LeBron James coming back next season and another year’s worth of development, this should be the last time the Lakers have to resort to playing spoiler for at least a few years to come.