Ask any kid past the age of nine and they’ll tell you that there are few things more terrifying in life than report card time. This is especially true for those kids who slack off all semester and know well in advance just what it is they have coming. Try as they might however, there’s just no escaping report cards. Progress reports on the other hand are another story.
Progress reports, like Paul Revere riding through the night, exist solely to alert dear old mom and dad that “The report cards are coming, the report cards are coming!” And if report cards represent the final word on performance, than progress reports are the warning sign that trouble may be brewing…that is if mom and dad ever get them!
For those of us devious enough to try, beating our parents to the mailbox became a rite of passage. Getting to those progress reports first became our mission and we’d do just about anything to extend fun time just a bit longer.
Which brings me to the Lakers…
To say that their performance in the first half of the season was disappointing is putting it lightly. For three and a half months they chose to slack off and show up only occasionally, and when it came time the players were the ones who got to the mailbox first.
Their progress reports never made it home and what resulted was a half season of basketball unworthy of back to back defending champions.
Prior to the season, which he himself dubbed, “the Last Stand,” Phil Jackson spoke as if this team was finally ready to realize its full potential. He spoke as if the team was about to ride to a record setting season, along the likes of the 1996 Bulls which went 72-10.
Needless to say, this wasn’t the case. From Andrew Bynum’s decision to delay off season knee surgery to Ron Artest’s decision to go all “Artest” on us, this season has been anything but record setting. It got so bad that the Lakers record going into All Star weekend (38-19) looked more like Custer’s Last Stand, as opposed to Jackson’s…and for those of you that don’t know Custer, let me just say…it wasn’t pretty!
Since the All-Star break, however, the Lakers have shown improvement. Having been embarrassed enough by the Milwaukee’s, Cleveland’s and Charlotte’s of the world, the team has finally started to come around. Currently riding a 5 game win streak, the Lakers seem to have finally turned the corner…or have they?