Tie game, 30 seconds left on the clock and Kobe has the ball at the top of the key. Winding the shot clock down, two quick steps and the defender (nameless to save embarrassment) is on his heels. Pull up…BANG! Lakers up 2 over Sixers with 6 seconds to play.
That’s the good news. The bad news is the Lakers were shocked with a buzzer 3 pointer. Even worse is that they were up by double digits going into the 4th with Kobe well rested.
The Lakers were the clear favorites to win it all. Despite winning 16 of 20 since Bynum (a better version of Greg Oden) went down, the Lakers are simply not as focused as they were at the start of the season. Their intensity is gone. This looks like the 2008 Lakers + Ariza. That’s not to put down this team. They are better–further refining their mastery of the triangle. Plus having a full training camp with Pau to learn more. BUT you have to feel like they simply are not ready to win it all. Beat the Celtics? Doubt it. Beat the Cavs? Kobe and Lebron will cancel each other out. Depends on whose teammates show up.
I’m hoping that the Lakers are simply shutting it down to conserve energy for the playoffs. Give the bench some more playing time to sharpen up. Bynum returns in time to have a few weeks of regular season games. Is the zen master Phil orchestrating his magic?
Next week I’ll be at the Nets-Lakers game to get a closer look at the 2nd best record in the league. Stay tuned for pictures.…