It wasn't that long ago (2 weeks to be exact) when Laker fans could only guess what type of team garbed in Lakers jersey will come out of the locker room. There are nights when the Lakers are so engaged that it looks like they're starting to come around. And then there are other games where the Lakers are so much in disarray that their fans could do nothing but sit quietly and shake their heads.
But that was then, this is now.
We've heard analysts and commentators talk about reading the body language of the players to get a sense of the level of confidence and mental fortitude of the team. Watching the Lakers these past few games, but especially against Brooklyn, the players now have that look of clarity and community between them.
You could see it in their eyes, their steps, their movements and in their decision-making. So much so that, for Laker fans, it's oddly reassuring that the Lakers have reached a point where they are now playing, thinking and fighting as one and for each other on both ends of the floor. Players now have an understanding of what they need to do on almost every situation on the court. Interestingly enough, they probably wouldn't be in this state if Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace and Jordan Hill were with them in the trench.
In other words, the Lakers have figured out how to turn all of the negativities into an empowering belief that the rest of the season still falls on their hands to be written. And it couldn't have come at a better time.
With Pau Gasol's foot injury suffered against the Nets, there's a good possibility that they won't have their 2 star big men for the remainder of their "Grammy tour". They're facing Boston on Thursday, then Charlotte the following night and Miami on Sunday.
The Lakers do have a $1.78 million disabled player exception granted to them by the NBA for Hill's injury to acquire a free-agent in his final contract year, but the team will need to make room for that player before any deal is consummated. The Lakers currently have 15 players (league-mandated max.) in their roster. However, it's also possible that the Lakers are saving that exception, along with their 3 trade exceptions ($1.4 mil., $1.2 mil. $544,000), to acquire a player by the trade deadline on Feb. 21.
But make a move or not, it doesn't really matter at this point. The Lakers will be short-handed any way you cut it when you consider who are out for them. What's more important now is for the team to continue to move forward and never use their injuries as an excuse to put their foot off the pedal.
Sure, they might lose in Miami, Boston or even in Charlotte. But the way the Lakers are playing right now, it might be easier to score on them than take away their belief for one another.