It’s not that shocking that the Lakers lost to New Orleans in game one of their playoff series. What is shocking is that numerous pundits, and nearly all radio talk show hosts thought that a Laker sweep was a foregone conclusion.
The fact is this team isn’t great. The Lakers are good and they do have a shot at an NBA championship. But they aren’t going to be sweeping anybody. This is a team that lost to Cleveland. Yeah, everybody has an off game but a loss to Cleveland in the 2010-’11 season is a bad loss – a very bad loss. A loss so bad that an NBA title for the team that lost to them seems like a pipe dream.
The Cavaliers finished 19-63 and lost 26 games in a row at one point. No, you don’t lose to Cleveland. The Lakers didn’t play well Sunday but they haven’t played well at various times all year. The truth is they haven’t looked good for the last two weeks.
The Lakers lost five in a row before beating a San Antonio team that benched three starters including Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Then, in the last game of the regular season, the Lakers blew a 20 point to lead to lowly Sacramento and would have lost had they not been bailed out by a Kobe Bryant three at the end of regulation.
They couldn’t use the word meaningless as an excuse- if the Lakers lost they would have fallen to the number three seed and a match up with Portland.
The Lakers were a complete Spurs team and a missed Bryant three away from a seven game losing streak entering the playoffs. The five game losing streak was the fourth time this season that the Lakers had lost at least three games or more in a row – something unheard of for previous Phil Jackson coached teams.
Jackson himself has indicated that the Lakers have lacked focus on several occasions this year including the Saturday practice before Sunday’s loss.
Laker fans are tired of hearing about the “soft” tag that is applied to Pau Gasol. I’m sure Gasol is as well. But when you see a performance like he had on Sunday it’s hard to dispel that notion. Gasol got smacked in the face early and disappeared the rest of the game.
And why was he guarding Chris Paul late in the fourth quarter? It wasn’t simply a switch on a single possession. It happened three consecutive times down the floor, and three consecutive times Paul burned him.
It wasn’t much better with Derek Fisher on him but Fisher at least has a chance. Gasol has none.
The Hornets earned the victory though. They turned the ball over only three times the entire game. Kobe himself turned it over five.
I thought it was consensus that Paul had lost a step. Wow, I’d hate to see him if he hadn’t.
Andrew Bynum picks the worst possible times to get hurt. It seems injuries and playoffs go hand in hand when it comes to Bynum.
Derrick Rose proved Saturday why he is the favorite for the MVP award. There is nobody more valuable to his team than Rose is to the Bulls.
When the game hung in the balance for the Heat in game one against Philadelphia, it was Dwayne Wade, not LeBron James, that made all the big plays down the stretch. Yes I’m rooting for the Sixers.
Dwight Howard goes for 46 and Orlando loses? Wow that can’t be good.
I guess it’s time to start watching hockey now that the Kings have won a playoff game.
How much longer do we have to suffer through the abysmal ownership of Frank McCourt? It was reported that he had to borrow 30 million from Fox just to make payroll through the end of the month. What happens after that? He asks President Obama for Government assistance?
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at email@example.com