To any of you who were wondering, “Hey, where did this guy with the insightful and engaging blogs about the Lakers go?” Not to worry, after a brief hiatus (ok, maybe not so brief) I am back. Ok but delusions aside, man it’s been a while since I posted and as the playoff picture is slowing being completed, I wanted to hammer out some thoughts regarding the ever enigmatic Lake Show.
It was great to see them get back into the thick of things as the Jazz have suddenly been overcome by their utter fear of claiming a victory. As of this writing, the Lakers sit in the 8th spot, sporting a record of 36-34. Seeing people celebrate the fact that the Lakers had surpassed the mediocre mountain of .500 made me do a double take. Wait, the Clippers are 4th while the Lakers are 8th? Oh yea. it’s 2013. Maybe the world did end and my lifeless body is just continuing my work, oblivious to the fact that everything around it is just a figment of my imagination. Man, I think I saw Matrix one too many times. Damn you, woman in the red dress.
Great to see Dwight finally buy into the team and put a halt to his immature antics that had players, coach, and fans alike fuming at the Dwightmare 2.0 that was slowly building steam. He is showing exactly why he is the top big man in the league bar none, averaging 17, 15, and 2.6. That will certainly get the job done. Unfortunately, he is also averaging over 4 fouls a game to accompany his perennially dismal free throw %. As the sole guardian of the rim, once he steps out it becomes that much harder to stop penetration as the perimeter defense of the Lakers has never been one of their fortes. Sure, I’ll give Metta some credit but I think his defensive prowess gets overshadowed by his atrocious shot selection.
As I watched a Laker squad sans Kobe and Gasol secure a big win on the road against a very formidable Pacer team, I started to feel my blood boiling. I thought to myself, “Hey, this team has really turned a corner.” Then to my dismay, the Lakers drop two straight to Phoenix and Washington. The Suns completely outworked a visibly exhausted Laker team, and thought they were out of the gates guns blazing en route to a 18 points lead, somehow they ended up dropping a give me to the Wiz. It’s certainly not good when former Laker Trevor Ariza drops 25 on you, not to say he’s a scrub by any means.
It was great to see Kobe return from that nasty ankle sprain, and I know I”m not alone when I say I can’t wait to see how the coiled up Mamba will strike at Dante Jones the next time the two face off. It was certainly a hot topic, but I still side with those who believe it was a Bruce Bowen play. If you prefer, you can also throw in Jalen Rose into the equation but I digress. As much hate as Pau gets and I know I’ve given him some, I was still quite pleased to see his return to the court. When the Spaniard has it going, he’s as versatile a post player as you’ll see in the league today.
Finally, Blake is starting to play like the player I envisioned when we first signed him. It’s obvious that his confidence is sky high, as he is actively looking for his own shot now which is great news for the bench. A pumped up Blake can do some damage, as evidenced by his averages of 15 and 5 over the last three games. If its all about the money to some, it’s all about the minutes to others. Jamison has also risen to the challenge, showing just how effective he can be. It remains to be seen how the rotation will be managed with the return of Pau, but for now it looks like Earl Clark is the biggest loser in the deal. That’s unfortunately, as he was playing some major ball with Dwight out. Speaking of hustle, Jordan Hill supposedly could make a return late April. However, his conditioning will obviously be a mess and I don’t expect much from him even if he suits up. Still, that’s great news that his recovery is going well. People forget just how good this guy was in the lineup.
The way things are looking now, it appears as though the Lakers will open up the postseason in the unenviable position of meeting either the Spurs or Thunder. As me and my buddy Inwoo realized, this could be a boon in disguise. It obviously won’t be a walk in the park, but if the Lakers can somehow knock off one of the two the path towards the title widens and more importantly, they can secure some much needed confidence for a team that sometimes plays like they have never heard of the word before.
Anyways, those are just some of the random thoughts I had regarding what I’ve seen of the Lakers so far. I like how D’Antoni blasted the players after the two consecutive losses against the Suns and Wizards. I still don’t relish him as the coach, but at this point what else can you do but try to root him on. Even if he makes some questionable decisions at times.
Oh yea one last note. Holy hell, 26 wins in a row. I don’t think anyone could have imagined a team surpassing the legendary mark of 33 straight by the 1971 Lakers who nearly eclipsed 70 wins. Not to mention the Nuggets who have managed to launch an impressive 15 game win streak of their own. It’ll be interesting to see just how long the Heat can make bball fans everywhere hold their breath in anticipation, and though I’m not a fan Lebron James is playing at a godly level that was last exhibited by some dude who dunked from the free throw line with his tongue hanging out. I would love to see Lebron and Durant clash in the playoffs, that is if they get by the Lakers. Call me delusional if you want, but the Lakers will make some serious noise come April. Bank on it.