To be honest, the game last night doesn’t mean much in the long run. The Lakers are still 8-1 since All Star Weekend and are on an upwards trajectory. Ron Artest played well, hustling on both the offensive and defensive end and was one of the bright spots for me.
He had a number of steals, rebounds and assists and played stifling defense on LeBron. I’m not saying that they wouldn’t have savored a victory but it is clear that a win for Miami bolstered their confidence more than a loss hurt the Lakers’ own confidence.
Even though I was upset last night, I look at this loss differently than I would have earlier in the season, or if it came against Boston or San Antonio. Yes, Kobe might have tried to do too much by himself at the end, and Andrew didn’t step up for most of the game, but the Lakers are solid and I have come to learn how to weather their regular season roller coaster.
I think that the media and some fans tend to forget that the Lakers don’t have a rivalry with the Miami Heat! While there are connections between the two teams because of Pat Riley and the trade that sent Shaq to Miami in exchange for Lamar Odom etc, there is no animosity. There are no classic playoff battles, no bad blood, and no real threat.
I don’t think they’ll even make it out of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Boston, on the other hand? Bad blood is a mild way of putting it. San Antonio? Worthy playoff foes.
Those are the teams that have hurt the Lakers when it counts. Those are the teams that I am wary of. What has Miami done? Beat us twice in the regular season. Same as Cleveland last year, same as Charlotte has inexplicably done more than once. The regular season is important, but it is not everything and it is not always a harbinger of later success.
To be frank, the Heat wouldn’t bother me as much as they do if it wasn’t for The Decision and their ill-advised spectacle celebrating imaginary accomplishments they were (and are) nowhere near achieving.
They think they are hated because they are talented, but let me tell you: people do not hate talented teams. Michael Jordan’s Bulls, the early Lakers threepeat and numerous others have proved that. People hate arrogant teams, teams they see as full of hubris and entitlement.
Next: Leading by Example