Home > Uncategorized > Lakers Win! Barely. At home. Against the Atlanta Hawks. Did I mention they almost lost?

Lakers Win! Barely. At home. Against the Atlanta Hawks. Did I mention they almost lost?

So, as maddening as the slow start was for The Los Angeles Lakers last year, with Dwight Howard, and a healthy Kobe Bryant, I am finding it almost palpable to give these guys in Lakers uniforms more room to grow into their roles. It’s unfair, maybe even disrespectful of them to think that way, especially since I am therefore – upfront and honest, here! – willingly accepting of that meaning I am okay with suffering a few losses of games we should easily win.

As much as I railed on the head coach last year, and even after the last game vs. The San Antonio Spurs, at home, in one of those potentially winnable games, I can see how the head coach potentially should be credited with the good fortune of calling timeouts in the 4th Quarter and making proper substitutions when things started to go sideways. I know, right, me saying Coach D’Antoni did something correctly? Banish the thought! Well…

As well as The Lakers played, early, inserting Xavier Henry into the starting lineup, they then let their 20-point lead trickle to a tied score with less than a minute left in the contest! At 88 points, Jodie Meeks through a great pass into Nick Young under the basket from the 3-point arc – which was a beauty! But Henry took a bad shot, Kaman couldn’t seem to provide any expertise on defense, and Kyle Korver went white hot from beyond the arc! Jordan Hill helped provide some semblance of steady defense, but in the end, it was all on the shoulders of Pau Gasol to deliver: and Pau provided a Pau-pow punch! As only Gasol can do: quietly – making 2 free throws and then blocking Korver’s desperation shot from the corner at the buzzer!

What did D’Antoni have to do with anything? After all, it’s up to the players to execute successfully on the court a gameplan that a coach might draw up, right? The Lakers just seemed to bumble about, mostly – especially defensively (missing too many assignments), – in the 2nd Half, and more specifically the 4th Quarter. Paul Milsap played fairly steady, Al Horford was a presence to be reckoned with – but The Atlanta Hawks didn’t have much punch without Kyle Korver hitting seemingly everything he threw up from downtown. Xavier Henry committed an offensive foul, choosing to drive to the rim instead of settling for an open jumper in the lane – when The Lakers only led 100-96 late. The coach did everything he could do, including his smartest decision to leave Jordan Hill in the game beside Pau Gasol until the final buzzer.

Somehow there has to be a way to get Jordan Hill more than 13 minutes in a game! Post-game comments suggest that D’Antoni knows that. He wasn’t real interested in saying anything trite, like: “A win is a win!” He was frustrated – almost like Bo Pellini’s reaction after The Nebraska Cornhuskers won a game on a “Hail Mary” a day earlier: he was stunned, unable to smile, no fist pump… That was Mike D’Antoni: in total disbelief that anybody could think that what The Lakers are doing right now, to start this season, is anything less than unacceptable at the level of play Lakers fans are used to seeing from our beloved team. He recognized they play as if waiting for the return of their fearless leader, Kobe Bryant.

Lakers 105, Hawks 103. I’ll take it. Thanks, Pau! And I thought we had nobody able to protect the rim with the departure of Dwight Howard? Hill is playing with passion, Wesley Johnson is blocking some shots. Xavier Henry is playing with reckless abandon. It’s atleast watchable – that’s more I can say for these games than I was able to say for many of the deplorable efforts we had to witness last year.

Go, Lakers!

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