In a perfect world, an exciting weekend of All-Star basketball would completely wash the memory of how the Lakers bowed out during the three games leading up to the break.
Of course nothing is ever perfect and with the festivities over, it’s time for fans to conjure up the same old excuses for the Lakers.
The Lakers didn’t play well because they were tired. It was their fifth game in seven nights. This was only a regular season game, don’t worry, the Lakers will amp up their game in the playoffs when it matters most. Don’t you remember the last time the Lakers were in a position to three-peat? They struggled during the regular season and still won the championship.
Yes, the Lakers did look fatigued, but so should other teams at around this time. Boredom and fatigue aren’t interchangeable. It is only a regular season game, and February at that. The road game against Boston was a regular season game too, so why does it hold more value over the games against Orlando, Charlotte and Cleveland? It’s true, the 2001-02 Lakers struggled during the regular season and lived to tell about it. They beat a legitimate Sacramento Kings team to meet the New Jersey Nets in the finals. With all due respect to Jason Kidd and the 01-02’ Nets, their line-up wasn’t even close to today’s beasts of the East—Boston, Miami and Chicago.
It’s not that these excuses aren’t valid, but if at the All-Star break the Lakers can’t re-gain a sense of their identity—the style of play that’s garnered them two straight championships—making excuses is just the same as living in denial.