No Phil Jackson team that has gone on to win a championship has ever lost four straight games.
Am I worried? No. Still optimistic? Yes. In denial? Possibly.
While that statistic is staggering, it’s not worth taking to heart. In what appeared to be a “must-win” situation for the Lakers, they came up just a bit short, digging themselves into a hole they would’ve rather avoided. Considering it’s only the second day of December, in the greater scope of things, the Lakers 109-99 loss to the Yao Ming-less and Aaron Brooks-less Houston Rockets only gives us a license to be concerned, but not so much to panic.
So what exactly is the problem? Some would say it is offense, others defense, but at this point it’s both. According to ESPNLosAngeles.com Lakers beat writer Dave McMenamin, if you ask Jackson, he could point to 35 areas in which the Lakers need to improve. Issues that he attempted to resolve prior to the game last night; turns out the Lakers aren’t much for quick studies.
It’s still early enough for the Lakers to rectify their mistakes and luckily, there’s still 63 games left for them to do it in.
“There are good basketball teams in this league and people expect us to win a lot,” said Jackson in response to his team’s fourth straight loss. “We’re going to win a lot I hope, but sometimes teams are playing better than you are out there and you just have to suck it up and move forward and hope you improve the next time.”
The result of last night’s debacle doesn’t reflect how close the game actually was in the final minutes. In fact, most of the losses for the Lakers could’ve gone either way. They’ve all come down to the wire and it isn’t like they’ve been blown-out. The game took a turn for the worst in the final two minutes when Shane Battier sank two back-to-back three point shots, extending the Rockets lead to 105-99. A decent close-out by Kobe Bryant would’ve been nice, but the blame doesn’t all fall on him entirely. Which brings me to my first point…