I think my Heat-Lakers experience was summed up with Mario Chalmers, of all people, dropping the dagger into the sternum of my favorite sports team during a game I had been anticipating since LeBron James dropped his own jewel-hilted dagger into the sternum of Cleveland this summer.
If it wasn’t that, it was definitely watching Chris Bosh, the grenade of the Superfriends, running roughshod over Pau Gasol.
It ruined my Christmas. Honestly. I was watching the game with my Mom, as I always do on Christmas day, and it just ruined my day. I immediately left in a huff and drove 50 miles back to my apartment. “Worst loss since Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals” I tweeted while driving. No potential ticket was going to hold me back from venting my frustrations to my three followers.
The Lakers had just been smoked like they were mere crack rocks amongst a few dope fiends in a drug den. On national TV. On Christmas. After last year’s Christmas debacle. After getting rolled by the @BlkIce3-less Milwaukee Bucks a few days prior. While they maintained the “it’s just another game demeanor” to the media prior to the game—those who observed the lead-up practices all agreed—the Lakers wanted this game. And nobody showed up. Nobody. HOW WAS THIS POSSIBLE!?
I went home and went to bed and this morning—and a funny thing happened—the Sun rose. For some reason, like a cloud, the anger just ceased. It suddenly felt like a loss to the Timberwolves (Why did I think, “[insert-generic-widely-accepted-terrible-team]” and my fingers spewed out Timberwolves? I don’t even they’re as bad as everybody says! They’ve just been taking L’s across the board lately) on the second game of a back-to-back in March.
Because, as Lakers fans, we just know—this loss, regardless of media hype and sub-plot, was the equivalent of a loss to the Timberwolves. In the end, when you’re trying to get to where the Lakers are ultimately trying to get to, you simply know things aren’t always going to go your way. There will be struggle. Everybody is making hay with Kobe’s press-conference (which was indeed rather humorous)—but Phil Jackson was pretty much cracking jokes. And Kobe can say what he wants—but he pretty much no-showed as well. He’s just as responsible for anything that happened on the Staples Center court as any of his teammates.
Success breeds complacency. It’s just an undeniable fact about human life. And the hungrier dog is going to usually win out. And, as the great Kevin Ding pointed out, in probably the only post-Heat/Lakers take worth reading, the Lakers haven’t been the hungrier dog on too many nights this year.
If basically the exact same thing hadn’t happened last year on Christmas day, I would probably take this a lot differently. But, it did, and the Lakers still rolled their way to their second title. So was the Christmas Day meltdown really something worth getting concerned with?
Some semi-conscious ramblings…
– What in the hell could LeBron James have been talking trash to Kobe Bryant about during a game in December? Granted, LeBron and his goon squad were making a statement, but I think that just offers a glance into how those two differ. Had the roles been reversed, Kobe wouldn’t have said a word to LeBron, unless he had been provoked. Kobe doesn’t talk trash unless spoken to. But after Kobe reminded LeBron just whose cabinet it was that was barren of Finals trophies, what could LeBron have possibly said back to that? I would be willing to hawk a kidney via the Indian black market for that transcript.
– I’m just going to accept the fact the Lakers are going to put this season on cruise-control. I really don’t think the Lakers will be the #1 seed, but this team can win a series on any court in any environment. Since Game 6 of the 2008 Finals, they have responded with both barrels when their backs finally touched the wall. Unless Kobe gets
– I love Jason Whitlock, but he wrote a post-Heat/Lakers article that I completely disagreed with. He argues that the Lakers “stood pat” this off-season, while the Heat and others have made block-buster deals in an NBA arms race. Doesn’t he realize—it was the Lakers that caused the arms race in the first place? If LBJ didn’t see Kobe Bryant and the Lakers contending for the next 5 years, do you think he would have fled to South Beach? The rest of these teams are chasing the Lakers. Mitch Kupchak was hardly complacent this summer. This summer was an absolute master-stroke given the market and the Lakers’ cap-space. Besides, who would the Lakers go and get? I mean, honestly? They could trump any deal for any available super-star (which speaks to Kupchak’s genius) if they wanted to—but really, who do you get? Is somebody like Carmelo Anthony really a difference maker? Are the likes of Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis the final missing piece to the Lakers 3-peat puzzle? Perhaps the Lakers should’ve convinced Amar’e to come play for the Mid-Level exception. What does Mitch Kupchak have to do to get some love? De-construct and then re-construct a dynasty?
– NBA-TV is currently showing “Sounds of the 2010 NBA Finals”. DVR it if you get the chance. It’s worth it merely for the segment where Ray Allen shows off his green-painted toes. I wish I would have known that at the time. I would never have worried about that series again and would have invested my life savings ($68.32) into gambling on the Lakers. (You know, assuming gambling were legal and I had more than $68.32 in my banking account).
– @BQRMagic posed a great question on Twitter the other day: who’s your least favorite NBA rotational players to watch? He said Vladimir Radmonovic and Marquis Daniels. Genius answers. For me? Big Baby Davis and Boris Diaw. You?
Follow me on Twitter: @deathtoCLARENCE.