The Lakers did NOT give my boy B Budd a Happy Birthday last night. . .more like a reminder that getting older is a disheartening proposition. . .and once again, old is exactly who they are at their core; even while playing a victorious style for 46 minutes, it was more reminiscent of the recent Celtics rather than the Showtime Lakers. . .this is a defensive, experienced team and they need to win with grit, toughness, heady play. . .and the ability to close out & hold on in the last two minutes. . .
Et Tu, Kobe? last year we realized that Kobe was indeed on the quote-unquote downside of his career, but when the peak is 10x that of a mortal man, the visions of late-era (pre-Wizards) Jordan are emblazened in Laker fans’ collective minds: he can dominate until he’s 36, at least with that basketball IQ. . .alas, there have been more misses than makes in clutch moments for these past two years, and last night was no different. . .except for the preponderance of those mistakes. . .two turnovers and two misses in those fateful two minutes. . .that’s simply too much to handle. . .
especially on a night where the (seeming) win was a gift. . .fault not Mike Brown, Laker fans, the obvious target of vitriol right now. . .his job – and only talent? – is to coach defense, and that’s exactly what the Lakers did, smothering, swarming & silencing the most explosive offense in the league. . .and while Brown is absolutely clueless with play-calling or instilling offensive discipline & planning, some personnel formances were too porous to overlook. . .
Ramon Sessions was outplayed by Derek Fisher ironically and again. . .I had a difficult time finding out if he played by looking at the box score. . .Sessions totaled two points and ZERO assists. . .ZERO. . .ZERO. . .which is also about as much defensive value as he has. . .it’s not that I fault Sessions, though. . .he is simply not a Laker, much like Yankee fans embrace Nick Swisher and still outcast Alex Rodriguez. . .the pressure of wearing the Purple & Gold is too much for Ramon to handle, and between him and Steve “Big Shot” Blake, you can bet that Kobe would even take the vaunted Smush Parker (anybody?) as his backcourt mate right now. . .
but once again, the frontcourt was nowhere to be found. . yes, Bynum had 20 points and – gasp! – almost a double-double, but Gasol was yet again too content to play third fiddle. . don’t get me wrong, he is and should be third option, but I want to see the fire, I want to see him want to prove that he should be a second option. . .and the first option when he’s out there without Bynum & Kobe. . .holy moly, how many high-block-fake-spin-turn-around-awkward-one-hand-jumpers can a guy shoot. . .and it should be conclusive by now that Bynum just doesn’t have the heart. . .he doesn’t. . .let’s all admit that greatness is not a concern of his. . .
and the Lakers are coming home. . maybe the lackluster Staples crowd can provide a lift. . .or perhaps not. . .as the dreams of achieving something worthwhile in 2011-2012 are slipping away like an errant pass from Sessions. . .