The Lakers lost more than just another playoff game against the San Antonio Spurs Friday night. They lost a little bit of that swagger, that sparkle, that pride that has made the Lakers organization almost majestic throughout the years.
No Kobe Bryant. No Steve Nash. No Steve Blake. No Jodie Meeks. Half of Metta World Peace. Andrew Goudelock brought up from the NBA D-League to save the day. And yet, before tip-off, as ridiculous as it sounds there was still just a little something in the air keeping the fans hanging on.
That something disappeared when the San Antonio Spurs delivered the Lakers their worst home playoff loss in franchise history – a 31-point loss.
The Spurs knew it, and guard Manu Ginobli didn’t sugar coat it.
“We saw the opportunity because of their injuries and the lack of length of the bench and the depth of the bench. We really punished them.”
Lakers forward Earl Clark didn’t know that this was the worst home playoff loss in Lakers history, but he found out.
“It sucks to be a part of that. I didn’t even know that, but that sucks. I mean it’s just tough. Just add it to the fire. I don’t know what to say about that.”
Jordan Hill didn’t seem surprised.
“Wouldn’t doubt it. It was definitely an ugly loss. Ugly. San Antonio just took it to us…We can’t fold like that anymore.”
Andrew Goudelock, the story of the game, had 20 points and three steals in his first playoff start after being brought up from the D-League, but even he felt embarrassed.
“It was definitely a bit embarrassing.”
Pau Gasol, who had 11 points and 13 rebounds in the loss, is just hoping Sunday isn’t as bad of a massacre.
“We’ll see Sunday how much fight we have in us in order to give ourselves a chance and not have a 30 point loss at home.”
Steve Nash ducked out of Staples Center with a mixture of disbelief and embarrassment written on his face. Kobe Bryant sat shotgun in a golf cart surrounded by security and sounds of uncomfortable laughter. The Lakers can’t go into Sunday just hoping for the “fight” to emerge. Lakers need to take some ownership, some pride and go down swinging.
“After all the adversity we went through to make the playoffs, to get here and get swept that is not what we wanted to do.” – Jordan Hill
Jordan Hill is right. The Lakers have come this far. Dwight Howard came back sooner than he should have. Pau Gasol is still dealing with injuries. Metta World Peace probably came back too soon from his meniscus surgery (among other undisclosed injuries). Antawn Jamison has been dealing with wrist issues. Steve Nash is out. Steve Blake is out. Jodie Meeks is out. Jordan Hill came back from hip surgery. Kobe Bryant is being driving around on a golf cart with a walking boot. Even Mike D’Antoni has given up on his system, hoping for another avenue of success.
Lakers have come this far. Don’t go out like this. Retain that dignity, that mojo, that swagger that every Lakers fan is proud of.
Check out Jordan Hill’s Interview With Lakers Nation After The Game