Lakers Competitive vs. Heat for 2-1/2 Quarters! They Faltered Late: Lose 107-97
The Los Angeles Lakers lost. The Lakers had a chance to win vs. The NBA defending champions. They did! Really. But they blew it. And it gives me pause to remember a post-game review of a Lakers game earlier this season that touted something really strange. Truly one of the weirdest things I have ever heard – or seen in print – is somebody trying to explain how a professional team could possibly have their performance explained by these words: “An Encouraging Loss.”
The Miami Heat won. They were expected to win! Final Score: Heat 107, Lakers 97 (Recap).
There is very little that can be said about the value of losing, if you are into sports for marketing & profiteering. It’s all about winning! I get it: Time Warner Cable is trying to market a product – that’s normally a winner – by saying just about anything that will keep their sponsors from bailing out of providing them a lucrative income stream. Fine. But diehard Lakers fans deserve to know the wherefores & whys” of this top-performing NBA franchise, which “Backstage Lakers” and “Lakeshow” broadcasts don’t seem to provide. Or do they? I’ve heard John Ireland & Mychal Thompson speak of how they do not have access to Lakers practices, for some reason: plausible deniability? covert tactical changes, game to game? Who knows. However, “the truth is funnier than fiction” (something I say all the time), and losing only heightens the rhetoric of fans that are left “in the dark” (necessarily? for trade deadline reasons?).
There are problems with this team that are larger than injuries and coaching changes by Lakers management. It’s baffling to watch this team play effectively against some good teams, - even beating The Thunder! – and then only play semi-effectively at other times. If communication is key to their success, then I wish they would do that consistently! Lakers fans absolutely rule Twitter! I get blocked by Twitter myself, sometimes, for exceeding tweet limits! But the clamor of fans is amazing! And fans have some good insights, even great commentary sometimes – what can be said in 140 characters or less is amazing! I know: Brevity is not my forte! But the losing ways of this Lakers squad aren’t unlike the problems of any other team passionate about winning that will commit to doing whatever it takes to overcome adversity.
Losing only provides a basis of understanding of how much you need to do differently as a team to tweak your overall chances of winning! Who has done that on this team? Kobe Bryant! Who else? By necessity, D’Antoni had no choice but to continue to experiment with the roster to find a winning combo – and, lo & behold, Earl Clark emerged from the end of the bench! Why? Because MDA didn’t want to play Antawn Jamison, and Jordan Hill was lost for the season due to a hip injury requiring surgery! But beyond Kobe Bryant & Earl Clark, about the only thing joyful & uplifting about The Lakers recently is the opportunity to keep Chris Duhon on the bench with the re-emergence of Steve Blake! #silverlinings
Having been a coach once, I would say that all that can be gleaned from a loss is the particular play(s) – or attitude – of discovering which of your players indicate any ability to play with patience & perseverance through adversity from which to build expectancy & consistency in your approach to future games. If you are encouraged by this loss, perhaps you will enjoy the following article: at LakerNation.Com
I liked the play of Kobe Bryant & Earl Clark throughout the game. Otherwise, I am mostly critical of Metta World Peace on offense & defense (How can the falloff to his performance on the court be explained? Did he hit the rookie wall, again?). Of Dwight Howard, today his play was going well – sort of – in the 1st Half but doing a Houdini act in the 2nd Half was troubling. Of Mike D’Antoni, he still appears to be clueless how to utilize timeouts to make proper adjustment defensively, hoping instead to whimsically put a halt to a momentum swing by calling one. An interruption in time isn’t going to stop an opponent from exploiting you without countering and neutralizing that success! That team will continue to exploit weaknesses in your strategy until proper adjustments are made… #smh
Said differently: I believe Eric Spoelstra to be a great coach, and he showed us all an ability to make the right adjustments at the right time throughout the contest – unlike Mike D’Antoni, who doesn’t seem to understand how to matchup defenses to other teams, or when to substitute players in & out. It’s agonizing to watch the bumbling idiocy of what is allowed to happen on the court without any direction or effort to make moves that make sense. Timeouts aren’t necessarily only for players to catch their breath! Rarely will calling a timeout actually stop the momentum of an elite team, unless you do something intentionally to stop them from doing whatever they have been doing successfully somehow. #repeat
Both teams have had their challenges with starters playing poorly for long stretches of games: Ray Allen has been shooting as awfully as Metta World Peace, for instance. #blahblahblah
For The Miami Heat, Udonis Haslem gives them muscle, as does BirdMan (Chris Anderson?); Shane Battier plays tough, rugged defense and can still shoot. Mario Chalmers has improved, but he seems to still get lost in the success of LeBron James when he demands the ball. It’s hard to fault King James or Dwyane Wade for taking control of games by demanding the ball: they tend to exploit mismatches better than any other tandem in the league. And they were great today! #unstoppable
In their previous game, The Lakers played poorly against the worst team in the NBA for 2-1/2 quarters by barely beating a team that doesn’t know how to finish, and doesn’t have a go-to-guy. That was Friday vs. The Charlotte Bobcats. Today (Sunday): The Lakers played the defending champions in Miami and played them tough for 2-1/2 quarters but faltered late by forgetting to play a disciplined, intentional game vs. a team with 2 stars that can finish a game! Done. It’s over. Next. Bummed. Yes. Not even interested in watching The Grammys. But go ahead, if you want to. Enjoy.
If there is more to say, then I’m sure Steve Blake’s wife (Kristen Blake) would just urge us all to “shut up!” Not traveling with the team, it’s hard to determine whether communication is the key to their sorrows – unless reporters who travel with the team express it, and question them about it. But players seem to be getting tired of answering such probing questions. Quite possibly, “we the fans” need to give it a rest, to actually have patience for this team to develop better chemistry. Does that mean “likeability”? I will watch The Lakers, expecting management to make whatever changes need to be made for their self-interest! I don’t know that I need to know the “inside secrets!” Would I like to know? Sure. WHo doesn’t want to know “The Wherefore & The Why”? (Great song, by the way, by Gordon Lightfoot) What true fan of this team wouldn’t want to know the inside scoop? But it’s not important for my sanity, or the success of The Lakers that any of us know such things. #getoverit
If I am encouraged by anything, it’s this: In the last 10 games, The Lakers are 7-3! And winning will certainly change matters – a lot! Mostly, it will stop the incessant questions. “Time heals all wounds” – Hopefully “we the fans” will soon forget about this lackluster start to an expected winning season! What was it Mitch said when trying to explain the firing of Mike Brown: “This team was created to win now…” Hopefully The Lakers keep winning 7 out of every 10 games: Will it be enough to make the playoffs? I hope so! #keepthehopealive