You know when you get a bad haircut and it seems like the sky is falling. The reality seems so awful yet it is actually happening to you and there is no way out. There has been irreversible damage. The awfulness, permanence, and salience of it is going to haunt you in just about every aspect of your life. Every now and again when you forget about it, you are once again reminded of it and it completely destroys you mentally all over again. Well…that’s what this Laker season has been.
It has been a dark cloud that has been traveling with me almost everywhere I go. It permeates my thoughts, my mood, my motivation, etc. Every time during a typical day when I remember what is happening, I get anxious. These Laker failures just can’t escape me. It’s pretty pathetic. And like a bad haircut, there is no quick fix to be had, and the worse it gets the longer I have to wait for it to get better. One week of good ball won’t do it. A signature win won’t do it. Heck…even a successful road trip won’t get this season where it needs to be. I guess that’s what you deserve when your bad haircut is manifested in the form of underachieving losses, missed opportunities and lack of seizing the moment night after night for almost 3 months.
However, contrary to what is communicated in 90% of my blog and 95% of my fury-filled in-game tweets (check out @DS_Lakers if you want a window into my psychosis), I actually think this thing will get turned around. While the Lakers are piling up moral victory after moral victory, I really believe a corner is being turned. In my previous entry, I ranted (for about 300 words too long) about how the injuries and reaching rock bottom were going to somehow galvanize this team, wake them up and backhandedly alleviate much of the pressure that has done them in thus far. Anyone that has watched the the last 6 games would probably agree that all of these things are happening….Too bad it’s been to the tune of a 2-4 record (re: bad haircut continues), but there are some tangible, recurring signs that this season may be salvaged in some form with a playoff berth (can’t believe I just wrote that…I still blame you Mike Brown).
This upcoming 3-game road trip at Toronto, Chicago and Memphis is yet another “Now or Never” moment in this train wreck of a season. However, this is the real thing now. I think these are three very beatable yet quality opponents that would give the Lakers something to hang their hats on moving forward. With 10 of the next 13 being on the road, a successful trip here would go so far. Before now, I would enter a critical moment like this with false optimism. Now, I think there are real reasons to be excited beyond the fact that Kobe is The Reason Why I Play The Game. Dwight, who I have been ultra-down on, has been much better recently and has at least least shown glimpses of why 30 moronic franchises care so much about where he ends up playing. His air-balling of a clutch FT is beyond pathetic, but progress is being made in that I do not viciously hate him right now. Pau–the other half of the tag team chumps (aka the most overrated front court duo that is largely responsible for this mockery of a season)–looked rather solid last night vs. Miami. In fact, offensively he looked as comfortable as he has all season in his limited minutes. Not to mention, Pau is also entering a slate of games that will in large part dictate what kind of player he will be and where he will be playing the rest of his career. So it’s safe to say he has a lot to play for.
Will we go 3-0? Probably not, but we kind of have to. These days of losing close games, giving up 30+ pt quarters, poor late game execution and not seizing critical moments in games has to stop now or else this bad haircut will turn into…well…an epically bad haircut.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
- Watching Kobe and LeBron–two champions, two legends, two all-time greats–match each other shot for shot down the stretch last night was pretty damn cool. No match-up in the league (even Durant-LeBron) has that special of a feel. No joke, Kobe-LeBron was very WRESTLEMANIA 6-ish when Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior–two “Good Guys”, two champions, two favorites–matched up in a battle for the ages. Kobe always reminds me of Hogan when he plays LeBron. Sure, it may be LeBron’s (Ultimiate Warrior) time, but Kobe–like the Hulkster–is not going to be shown up by anyone….ever. I love Kobe. He’s the Human Asian Appetizer.
- I read something today that the home team wins only 44% of the time when Joey Crawford is refereeing this season. I don’t know a ton about advanced metrics, but the difference between this percentage and the rest of the league has to be a statistically significant difference. I blame David Stern. How do you let this guy have such an impact in your league after knowing that he is a loose cannon. The guy was suspended for the end of a season and an entire post-season because he couldn’t control himself with Tim Duncan. He thinks it’s about him and that he is bigger than the game. Simply put, THE GUY ENJOYS MAKING OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES WORSE! And what does David Stern do??? He gives this guy all the big gigs. I don’t get it. He should be out of the league. He is my least favorite human being in sports.
- Coach D’Antoni….please please please abandon this 2 PG lineup of Darius Morris and Chris Duhon. Sure they both have had some good moments, but neither is worthy of being an NBA rotation player. Yet YOU PLAY BOTH AT THE SAME TIME!!!!! With Jodie Meeks available and ready, you MUST put him in over one of these bums. You can choose which one, but it has to be one of them. I can’t take that D-League backcourt for a minute longer.
- Coach D’Antoni…I know you feel obligated to have both Pau and Dwight in the game together during crunch time. And I know you feel obligated to involve Dwight in the offense. However, when he touches the ball late in close games all Laker fans freak out because the guy can’t make free throws and the guy has no post-game. It’s not that you can’t throw him the ball…just not when he is stationary on the block. Here is a solution…if you must throw it inside, throw it to Pau. Unlike Howard, he will command a double, he can make a move without getting stripped, heck…he may even make free throws. Then, Dwight can be away from the hoop and become a cutter or slashing offensive rebounder alla Tyson Chandler. Doesn’t this make more sense? Doesn’t this fit their skill sets a little bit more? Isn’t that better than throwing it to a dude who has no moves and can’t make a FT? I’m just saying.
Alright….once again, this rant has gone on too long. I will check back in after the road trip.
By the way…I didn’t mention Earl Clark until now.