A Swan Song for the Lakers, as captured in post-game Tweets after last night’s disappointing (expected?) loss:
@icecube Note to the Lakers owners: Put a real team around Kobe or
start charging D-League prices. Bynums effort alone deserves a rebate.
@bigsportswriter Kobe’s thought process? “I’m not going anywhere. I’m not willing to work
Inside-Out even though it’s best for everyone. I’m never aging. Fuck
@notbillwalton RIP Mike Brown’s Laker coaching career: 2011-2012.
@espnchrispalmer Kobe 42 points Zero assists
@espnstatsinfo Lakers bench was outscored by 87 pts in 5 gms.
@kevinding Pau Gasol again said he doesn’t want to be traded, but
added: “I don’t know if that’s mutual.”
@MagicJohnson Tough for the @Lakers not to be the best in the west
anymore. Where do they go from here?
@ESPNChrisPalmer The Lakers will pay Kobe Bryant $58,302,000 over the
next two seasons.
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. . .
damn, George Karl can coach. . .he gets his guys to reflect his style more than anybody working a sideline today. . .and if Aaron Afflalo isn’t the consummate Karl guy, I don’t know who is; energy, intelligence, grittiness & a gamer. . .Go Bruins. . .and kudos to my man Lance, he’s been hollering Kenneth Faried since that tourney run at Morehead State. . .and obviously the man of the night, Ty Lawson was O My, Awesome, if you’re into rhyming or otherwise. . .
speaking of rhymes, he was really messin’ with Sessions, as Ramon looked Run-on, or better yet Run Over, reminiscent of a dead fish. . .more like RIP to D-Fish and good luck in the Western Conference Finals & beyond. . .there simply was no upgrade at PG, and as a result our defense has been rated R, as in Run for your Lives. . .but not trying to be a downer, we know Pau Gasol sure wasn’t getting anything down last night. . 1-for-10 shooting? sounds like Dick Cheney at a firing range. . .I’m sure Kobe was ready to fire EVERYBODY last night, especially Mike Brown. . .my goodness that man can not coach, at least not in the head coaching sense. . .it’s been said time & time again, but to consistently have no answer for the same basketriddles time and time again, WAKE UP or get another job. . .
which is exactly what Andrew Bynum needs to do, because he is currently doing a disservice to his current vocation. . .embarrassment isn’t quite the right term, but let’s just say that MDE, the Big Aristotle, the Man You All Love to Hate, Shaquille O’Neal, would have the Lakers at home resting comfortably getting ready to thrash the Thunder. . .instead, Bynum is still looking for that Staples guys – that was easy – to help him close-out this series. . .seriously, man – show some intensity. . .heart. . .effort. . .desire. . .motivation. . .caring? I’m really sick of watching AB play like a ‘C’ player when it counts most. . .at least Matt Barnes showed up last night, though. . .just needed a metal folding chair to really have an impact, though. . .
at least Metta World Artest is back, right, Laker fans? there’s some spin that they lost intentionally to get him back and fresh for the OKC series. . .that’s horsebleep, frankly. . also i’m hearing that last night’s game was just an absolute aberration, even as it appears the Nuggets are playing with more confidence each minute. . .
with all this said, the Lakers take Game 7. . . it’s in their post-Magic blood, they never make it easy. . .Kobe is Kobe. . .their championship days are over, but they’re not going out like this. . .Kobe leads the way, Bynum has his one-in-every-three good game and Laker fans put their car flags back up at full mast. . .until D-Fish gets his revenge, folks. FISHYRIM!
1) Matt Barnes playing like a man possessed. . .reminds me of the Barnes that once smashed a teammate with a metal folding chair, WWE-style . like his toughness (even though after all these years, I still think it’s somehow an act, eg the neck tattoo)
barnes then barnes now
2) Metta World Peace displaying the form from his Pacers/Rockets/Kings days. I’m loving that – talk about real heart; this guy is truly a ballplayer right now and the Lakers feed off of him. Interesting that he’s playing a leadership role, however. . .post-Fish, it’s sorely needed, but will the looney Ron-Ron rear his ugly head at the wrong time during Playoffs? Hopefully not. . .
3) Gasol silent & effective. Typical Pau. Just get the job done, act slightly bitchy, really annoy people (even his own fans) but send everybody home happy and a winner. He’s so likeable, but does he really need to be whiney and so. . .Euro all the time? It’s great in the sense of being intelligent & cultured, but not great for the NBA.
4) Bynum. Always comes down to Bynum. Here he is, playing rock-solid on D, playing through illness (?!?) and taking boards like a monster, but his shooting has been woeful and he always seems about one scolding away from just walking off the court and away from the Lakers forever. . .
5) Lakers 4-1 in Kobe’s absence. Interesting times, indeed. He IS the Lakers, but what does this say about the squad, especially winning four in a row against solid teams? Does he actually detract from chemistry/momentum when he comes back? What’s your take, Laker fans?
Thanks to my man Parker for prompting the thought on this. . .the Lakers haven’t drafted well in 15 years+.
Aside from the still inconclusive Bynum pick (until he shows heart for 82 + playoffs). . .Jordan Farmar was the last player of ‘note,’ and he’s in obscurity (Jersey) now. This CENTURY, in fact, they’ve produced only Luke Walton and Ronny Turiaf, neither of whom is considered even near-impact. . .prior to that you have to go back to 1996 to find DFish, who probably would be coaching by now if he didn’t have Kobe to sidekick with. . .Thus, the back-to-back ’93-’94 selections of Nick Van Exel & Eddie Jones were the last times they literally drafted good players. Wow. How DOES this franchise work it’s MAGIC?
|1993||2||37||Nick Van Exel||United States||PG||Cincinnati|
|1994||1||10||Eddie Jones||United States||SG||Temple|
|United States||PG||Western Carolina|
|United States||PG||Arkansas–Little Rock|
|1997||2||51||DeJuan Wheat||United States||PG||Louisville|
|1997||2||54||Paul Rogers (from New York)[n]||Australia||C||Gonzaga|
|1998||2||45||Toby Bailey (traded to Phoenix)[p]||United States||SG||UCLA|
|1999||1||23||Devean George||United States||SF||Augsburg|
|2002||1||27||Chris Jefferies (traded to Toronto)[q]||United States||SF||Fresno State|
|2003||1||24||Brian Cook||United States||PF||Illinois|
|Slovenia||G||Pallalcesto Amatori Udine (Italy)|
|2004||2||56||Marcus Douthit||United States||PF/C||Providence|
|2005||1||10||Andrew Bynum||United States||C||St. Joseph HS (New Jersey)|
|United States||G||Florida State|
|2006||1||26||Jordan Farmar (from Miami)[s]||United States||PG||UCLA|
|2006||2||51||Cheikh Samb (traded to Detroit)[t]||Senegal||C||WTC Cornellà (Spain, 2nd division)|
|United States||PG||Georgia Tech|
|China||PG||Beijing Olympians (ABA)|
|2008||2||58||Joe Crawford||United States||SG||Kentucky|
|2009||1||29||Toney Douglas (traded to New York)[v]||United States||G||Florida State|
|United States||PF/C||Texas A&M|
|2010||2||43||Devin Ebanks (from Memphis)[x]||United States||F||West Virginia|
|2010||2||58||Derrick Caracter||United States||PF/C||UTEP|
|United States||PG||Michigan (So.)|
|United States||SG||College of Charleston (Sr.)|
|2011||2||56||Chukwudiebere Maduabum (traded to Denver Nuggets)[z]||Nigeria||SF||Bakersfield Jam (D-League)|
|2011||2||58||Ater Majok (from Miami Heat)[w]||Australia||C||Gold Coast Blaze (Australia)|
Sad to see Magic Johnson sell his share in the Lakers yesterday, but at least it was to a diehard (and very wealthy) season-ticket holder (Patrick Shoon-Shiong) that is approved by Doctor Jerry Buss.
Obviously not much will change within the dynamic, proactive and eminently successful organization, but Los Angeles fans will truly miss a part of of our recent history, as Magic might or might not be purchasing the Pistons.
For those that remember his better days with Isiah, which was followed by his well-publicized feud based on Magic’s accusations of Isiah abandoning their friendship post-playing days, this may be an indication of Magic’s desire to:
1) Return Home to where he played high school & college ball
2) Burn Isiah by taking over “his” team
-and- perhaps most importantly
3) Doing to Detroit what he was able to do to Los Angeles, which meant opening movie theatres, Fatburgers, 24-Hour Fitness gyms, and countless other infrastructure improvements that led to actual change and improvement in a woebegone inner-city.
Whatever happens, the City of Los Angeles supports Magic and his future endeavors. We will miss you, and you will always be a Laker.
. . .Kobe is in the gym right now shooting jumpers and working on left-handed post moves.
THAT, my friends, is what it takes to truly be legendary.