Warning: Rant. And for you overprotective types out West, this is NOT a bash. But a mere observation.
Yes, they are arguably the greatest team ever. Yes, they are 18-3 and 11-0 at home. Yes, they have 4 Hall of Famers which could very well be the starting 4 at the All-Star game.
But the Lakers, as undeniably awesome as they are, have this really bad habit which I find a little disturbing.
I realized back in 2001 that Kobe, Shaq and friends don't care about the regular season. Teams they should be blowing out by 30-40 points are in the game until 2 or 3 minutes to go.
Just take last night, the Knicks, injury depleted or not, are often really bad and mediocre at best. Yet these Knicks, who were overmatched in a million ways to Sunday against the Los Angeles Hall of Fame Contigent, trailed no more than a dozen and got within 4 in the closing moments of the game. Here I am watching last night thinking I'm going to see Kobe and Shaq and the Glove and the Mailman destroy and annihilate - but outside of a some of scoring bursts at the right times (which they are VERY VERY excellent at, yes) - the lowly, turnover-happy Knicks had conceivable chances (as in more than 1) to actually win.
Now, you can call this the predator toying with its kill or the fact that they very likely have absolutely no competition from the other 28 teams in the league (which I've basically said since Payton and Malone donned the purple and gold), but these guys are just bored. When they're bored - they get lazy. And when they get lazy - teams no matter how bad they are (yes, like the Knicks) - tend to take advantage and get close or even take the lead. And an uninterested team leads to uninteresting games.
And I know seeing a lesser team come back from a decifit from a superior team is exciting - but not when the superior team can turn it on anytime they see fit and sending the message the lesser team is not winning this game - and killing that element of the BIG UPSET.
They blew out Indiana. They embarrassed San Antonio. But, note that the Lake Show took them seriously. But when you have mediocre at best teams like the Grizzlies, Jazz and Knicks - they win by single digits and only play hard when need be.
It probably is just me but I'd like to see the Lakers REALLY play more often as opposed to the constant sleepwalking - no matter how horrid their opposition is. Makes for better games from a dominant team is all I'm saying.
All kidding aside, the Lakers are just relearning the same lesson that Jackson taught the Bulls. You have to save gas during the regular season. The Lakers have played over a hundred games in each of the past four seasons. Thats a lot of wear and tear on the players bodies. So with their talent they can coast during the regular season and turn up the juice come playoff time.
Thats probably also why they will not make a serious attempt at winning 70 games. Theyd be dead by May and the Mavs or Kings would jump all over them.
If I can be serious for a minute... It's a long season, and every good team knows that he most important time for a team to be playing their best basketball is right after the All-Star Break. That's why I believe the Memphises and Denvers of the league should not print their playoff tickets just yet. A lot of the good teams (Lakers included) are banged up right now, and to go full throttle this early and risk losing a key player or two just isn't worth it.
If I were Phil Jackson, however, I'd tell the team to start picking up the pace around mid-March. If you get into a lull for an entire year, it takes a while to re-hone that killer instinct, and better it happen in the meaningless last month of the season than in the first round against a hungry 8th seed.
Oh Tino...put some pants on for God's sake.-- Chuckc14 in the Worst Album Covers thread Click Here (The W)
Manny [Ramirez] could show up for spring training with ice-blue hair, a "Free Lee Boyd Malvo" tattoo and a batting helmet made out of chorizo and I wouldn't be surprised. Hey, it's just Manny being Manny.-- Bill Simmons
Watching "Mad Dog Time" is like waiting for the bus in a city where you're not sure they have a bus line.-- Roger Ebert
Originally posted by KawshenIt probably is just me but I'd like to see the Lakers REALLY play more often as opposed to the constant sleepwalking - no matter how horrid their opposition is. Makes for better games from a dominant team is all I'm saying.
It's a beautiful dream Kawshen, a beautiful dream. On the other hand if they're blowing teams out by half time you get 20 minutes of Medvenko and crew taking it to the final whistle, not Shaq et al. As the other guys say, realistically winning is winning. Save the big games for when a statement needs to be made, say the night after you lose to Denver go out and smash the Kings. Other teams will put the loss down to taking the opposition too easily, which it probably was and still respect you for the win over good opposition.
...like that first time you dryhumped your high school girlfriend- sweaty, repulsive, messy. -DEAN~!
Heh, I bet the Nets are wishing they would have tried a little bit harder to get the Bobcats to take 'Zo in the expansion draft. I'm pulling for 'Zo, though-- by all accounts he's a true class act. I'd like to see him have a successful year.