As I sat watching the waning minutes of Game 4, I was going through everything that I can think of that has contributed to this lowest point of the Lakers this season. I know. I didn’t think their final regular season loss to the Thunder could ever be topped (and this soon, too) at all.
But this is bad.
Not so much in a sense that they got blown out of “loud city” by 21 points, but more of how they got dismantled, disfigured, and discombobulated by a team of nobodys and Kevin Durant. I mean the Lakers are supposed to be the defending champs here. Then again, they rarely played like champs this season.
Injuries certainly has a good say to what’s been hindering the Lakers. But I think that their mental state has a lot more to do with their struggles than anything else.
It may sound too far-fetched, but I believe that their physical and mental bout with the Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals and their road back to the Finals to win the title against the Magic may have exhausted the Lakers. Combine that with how they feed off of Kobe Bryant‘s intensity and production on the floor (which is practically here and there) and we’ve got ourselves a Laker team that is (hard to say) ripe for the pickins.
Just the body language and vacancy of their faces even before Games 3 & 4 ended say a lot about how the Lakers are in this series.
Concerned and bewildered.
Not even Bryant is wearing that “Black Mamba” scowl we grew to love in the Finals last year. It may be a little harder to see it, but even Phil Jackson has that unfamiliar brooding look in his eyes.
But the Lakers had gone through so many this season. Injuries, fatigue, contract issues, unsuccessful trades, harsh criticisms, and (above all) the pressure of doing it again this year. Yet, they still managed to win the west for the third consecutive seasons.
Of course, that means jack if they don’t repeat. But considering what this season has given them, I don’t think any other team could have accomplished what they did.
So how are the Thunder having such an easy time getting things done at their expense?
Well the biggest reason I’ve noticed is that the Thunder absolutely has zero ego. Each player does not care how many points he makes or how many points the man he’s guarding makes. They’re all blue collar workers that’s concerned about one thing.
That’s how the Lakers will need to do to start competing with the young Thunder. They have to ignore the bumps and bruises. Ignore the fatigue. Ignore the “Beat L.A.” chants. Ignore everything else but that little voice that says, “I know I could do better.”
The Lakers have to learn to hate losing again. And I mean really hate losing. By now, they should be sick in the pits of their stomach to even try to think of what to say to the media about what happened.
I know I’m beyond tired of hearing their excuses.
I’m quite sure they don’t want to hear another thing about how they look old or how they’re too slow to keep up with the Thunder. But we all know there’s only one way to keep all that from happening.
So how about it Lakers?
Game 5 on Tuesday is just around the corner. Are you going to let these kids continue to run all over you or are you going to finally put your foot down and say enough’s enough?!
You know what they say…action speaks louder than words.