Will The Play of This Year’s Lakers Ever Become Clutch?

If we “the fans” of The Los Angeles Lakers are to see a successful run to a championship this year, then The Lakers have to be committed to moving the ball more effectively for the highest percentage shot available: an inside/out game, much different than the “Triangle Offense” we have become accustomed to these last few years… The battle won by dominant teams throughout the history of the NBA is center stage, in the paint, at the rim! Jump shots just keep the defenses honest, keeping them from collapsing into the middle.

I have loved Los Angeles Lakers basketball since I was old enough to understand the game: How about you? Comment

I prefer to ignore the start of the MLB season until mid-June, when I can enjoy a Lakers victory parade before a Dodgers fireworks show. This year, it appears I may be following the Dodgers earlier in the season than I typically do, but I sure hope not! The Lakers are #1, forever & ever, in Los Angeles! C’mon, Lakers! Start an endless winning streak!

We have been afforded the luxury of watching a whole crop of amazing players over the years: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Norm Nixon, James Worthy, A.C. Green, Mychal Thompson, Byron Scott, Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambis… Where do Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum fit into that mix of players? What about Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Pat Riley… Except for Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant may end up being the best known player in NBA history! And then where does Pau Gasol, Robert Horry, Derek Fisher, Lamar Odom & others fit into the big picture? Do you remember the players during the lean years? Can you go back as far as C.J. Kupec? That probably wasn’t fair. How about Nick “The Quick” VanExel? Cedric Ceballos? What was the primary reason we traded away such a talented player as Adrian Dantley? We traded for Mitch Kupchak, who then blew out his knee and wound up helping Jerry West build a Lakers Dynasty.

What makes this team – this year! – special? Comment

We have been spoiled with really, really good players who have played an exciting level of basketball for decades! And most of those named will be in the Hall of Fame, if they aren’t already! Who’s you favorite players in the list of players named here? Mine will always be Robert Horry! Jerry West was “clutch” in my dad’s generation of players: Robert Horry was always most effective playing off the bench, capable of doing whatever was needed throughout a game, but always available with a game-winning shot if called upon!

This year, Lakers “clutch” play has been spotty – at best. Comment?

In Kobe Bryant’s absence, Metta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest) stepped up for a big game, once. Matt Barnes played very well in one particular game, but is the one player that seems to have benefited most by the addition of Ramon Sessions at Point Guard, the Lakers having chosen to move away from the aging Derek Fisher providing that leadership role. Sessions has played well, although injured – so, his limited minutes may have hurt his growth in learning his overall role on the team and how best to fine-tune his game around all of our other talented players. Pau Gasol has played better, since the trade deadline passed by, thankfully still on the Lakers payroll. Bynum? Of all of our players, Andrew Bynum is the one I most wanted to see take the leadership role on this team and catapult us into a new era of Lakers excellence! But as often as he plays brilliantly, his attitude seems to pull him back into mediocrity. He’s just not proven to anybody that he is capable of leading this team yet, although he seems to believe it’s a role he’s entitled to (without earning it).

The Lakers have looked inconsistent in their ability to win key games against strong opponents because of their lackluster ability to play defense, period. Scoring isn’t a major issue, most nights: Kobe Bryant is more than capable of heaving up a game-winner, if necessary – if the game is close enough for that option to be there. Some nights, others have shown interest in taking on that responsibility – in Kobe’s absence. Last night, against the San Antonio Spurs, who won a championship in the only other NBA shortened season due to a labor dispute looked great! But the Lakers kept pace with them – for the first half! It was Kobe Bryant’s first game back, and he seemed fairly effective on offense, shooting 7-12 for a team high 18 points. But Andrew Bynum had a fairly ineffective effort on the court. Questions are flying: Why? I hope the team figures them out soon, with the playoffs only 2 regular season games away from starting.

Go, Lakers!

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