Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why My Lakers Won't Repeat

Flash back ONE YEAR.... After finishing the 2008-2009 season with a 65-17 record, I was very confident that my Los Angeles Lakers were going to win the NBA title. Kobe Bryant had that look in his eyes - yes that look - the one which he had when he scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors during the 2006 season. Pau Gasol also had that look... Lamar Odom had that look... as did this young guy out of UCLA named Trevor Ariza. The whole team had that look!!! Indeed, these Lakers were playing with a chip on their shoulders after what happened against the Boston Celtics in the 2008 Finals. AND They had the complicated Triangle Offense of the Zenmaster, Phil Jackson, mastered! How confident was I that they were going to win the title? Well, I didn't even watch their clinching Game 5 against the Orlando Magic. Rather, I took in the CMA Fest in Nashville, while following the details of the game on my cellphone. During an intermission in the concert, I happened to catch the post-game celebration. I still remember the jubilation of Kobe hugging Pau... and D-Fish thanking the Lord for another ring... it was epic!

Now flash back to TODAY... During off season, there were rumors that the Lakers were interested in Ron Artest... yes, THAT Ron Artest! The one who infamously went into the stands one time going after a fan and getting suspended an ENTIRE SEASON as a result. My initial thought was this: he's simply not disciplined enough to fit in the Triangle Offense... In fact, he might not pick up on it AT ALL! Sure enough the rumor was a true one as Artest became a Laker and Ariza ended up in Houston. The 2009-2010 season started well enough for the Lakers record-wise, as they won 28 of their first 34 games... though that was a little deceptive as only 11 of those games were on the road. The rest of the way, the "Lake Show" went 29 and 19. Not a horrible record, by any means, but still not what you would expect from them. Although there were moments where the team looked in sync, there were many more where they appeared out of sync.

The above leads me to the main reason the Lakers won't repeat: Ron Artest STILL doesn't understand the Triangle Offense! You watch the Lakers play, and it seems like half the time he has no idea what he's doing out there. When in doubt, he tends to throw up an ill-advised trey with 15 seconds left on the clock. Although his on court behavior has overall been good this year, I can't say his head has been into the games. Indeed, my worst fears about Artest have been realized. Unless coach Jackson switches his role with Odom's, I'm afraid the Lakers simply don't have a chance at repeating. Look at what happened in Game 4 in Oklahoma City this past Saturday. The Lakers not only lost to the #8 seeded Thunder, they were EMBARRASSED by a 110-89 count! Game five of the best of seven series is 7:30 tonight at Staples Center. It's VERY conceivable, the Lakers could lose tonight's game. Even if they happen to get past the Thunder, I don't see the Lakers winning it all. The Nuggets look hungry. The Magic and Cavaliers look REALLY hungry! The Lakers don't look hungry. I really think Artest's apathy has affected the whole team, including Coach Jackson.

I'm now really looking ahead to football season to see if my New Orleans Saints can do what my Lakers aren't going to do: REPEAT!!!


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