It comes down to how the Lakers will execute on both ends of the floor, how the bench will bounce back from a virtually non-existent Game 2, if the Lakers can utilize their length and go down low in the post to get Gasol and Bynum involved early and which one of his go-to game plans Bryant plans on going with—scorer, facilitator or a combination of both.
Maybe Kobe Bryant convinced us that he and his team were indestructible. Yes, he’s getting older. He doesn’t get the same elevation on his shots. He doesn’t drive as often to the basket. Yet for every shot he made during crunch time, the memory of the previous three potential game-winners he missed was erased. We could be talking about a series split if he had just made the go-ahead three-point shot to end Game 1, but that’s in the past. His insistent denial of his various injuries, each time setting the record straight that he was fine—Bryant doesn’t make any excuses. His fingers are fine. His knee is fine. His ankle—he’ll be ready.
Now he must rally his team to win four games in five tries.
Maybe I should remind you of Phil Jackson’s record when his team wins the first game of the series, or better yet, maybe I should inform you that there’s no record of how his team performs when they lose the first two games of the series at home. Just like there’s no record of his team winning the championship when they’ve lost four-straight games during the regular season.
Maybe we’re not satisfied with all the glory that accompanies two back-to-back titles, and let’s be honest no one would blame you. Trophies are hoisted when teams withstand the rigors of the game and are named the best in the world because they’ve beaten out the rest in the face of adversity. They don’t hand out hardware to teams that are the best on paper, turns out you have to be the best that night on the court. Last night against the Mavericks, the Lakers didn’t look anything like the previous championship teams.
The Lakers have little margin for error and they know it. Whether or not they’ll overcome it remains to be seen.[phpbay]Los Angeles Lakers, 3, “”, “”[/phpbay]