|# 7 Lakers vs # 2 Spurs! NBA Playoffs! I love this game!|
The season really started in the offseason. The Lakers shipped off Andrew Bynum, obtained Dwight Howard, and acquired Steve Nash. 4 stars on a single team. It seemed like the Lakers would be on a collision course with the Miami Heat to meet in the NBA Finals. But with new additions came risks. Howard was coming off of back surgery and the Lakers didn't know when he would be back and whether he would be a dominant force when he returned to action. Steve was 39 years old and is known as a poor perimeter defender. Both instances were liabilities at the start of the season, but I didn't think it would start off as bad as it did. I figured that with Kobe and Pau on the team, we should be able to muster a solid start, at least until Dwight could be back into form. NOPE! We lose games right away, Coach Mike Brown is fired and Coach Mike D'antoni is hired.
Now, the season started off bad and I blame the hasty decision to hire Coach D'antoni to blame to the poor start of the season. The Lakers played well below .500 ball for the first few months and I strongly believe it's because D'antoni tried to install his "run and gun" offense on this Lakers team. Let's be honest here, folks, the Lakers are an older team. They simply do not have the pieces to play that kind of offense and it felt like D'antoni was forcing it on the Lakers players. It just wasn't working and the Lakers were losing games. And on top of that, there was talk of tension in the locker room. Dwight's fun loving ways was irking Kobe. Nash was getting tired of being stuck in the middle and didn't want to get involved. The locker room was divided. Then... the injury bug hit.
|Kobe and Dwight about to throw it down?|
Dr. Jerry Buss passed on during the season. He was battling cancer and he was instrumental in creating the Los Angeles Lakers to what they have become. From the Magic to Kareem Lakers, the Shaq and Kobe Lakers, to bringing Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to the Lakers, Jerry Buss is the brains behind all the big moves. And now, he's gone. There's no doubt that he has passed on strong business sense to his family, who now run the Lakers, and I'm sure the Lakers will continue to be a successful franchise to years to come, but to lose Jerry Buss in a season that was already full of adversity could have spelled doom for this Lakers squad.
|Thank you for everything, Dr. Jerry Buss!|
|Lakers athletic trainer Gary Vitti attending to Kobe|
|Pau Gasol looks assertive while celebrating the Lakers win against the Rockets!|
The Lakers are a team of championships. They don't hang division winning banners (sorry Clippers fans) and the Lakers are always in contention for the top spots in the West. That wasn't the case this year. This year, we saw a different Lakers team. One that didn't steam rolled the competition. One that didn't seem to scare the opposition. One that was definitely down, but not out. One that dealt with adversity the only way it knew how, by punching it in the face. For thier efforts, they managed to snag the 7th seed and they couldn't be happier. Not because they are in the playoffs, but because they know this team has plenty of fight of in them and they will not go down easy. This Lakers team was destined for greatness from the start of the season and only now they are beginning to find their groove. Even with thier captain now on the sidelines, the Lakers move on the playoffs and you can't help but see Kobe's spirit in Dwight Howard's play, Steve Blake's shot, and Pau Gasol's agressiveness. Kobe may not be with the team, but his determination is there in the Lakers' eyes. Watch out, Western Conference, the Lakers have finally arrived. Later!