Sure, the Lakers are still going to be without Bynum for a few months. But yesterday at noon I felt like I lived in a gulag. Clouds darkened the sky, food was without taste, everything seemed like hard labor.
Today the sun has pierced the clouds. Hope has returned. There are a couple reasons for that
First, there was the slow realization that while this is not good for Bynum, this is totally different than last year. Rehab starts in a couple weeks, hard rehab gets underway in about a month. He should be back for the playoffs. Listen to the words of Bynum himself:
I was worried until we got the results of the MRI, obviously I didn’t want to miss the whole season because I just did that last year. After we got the results back they told me it was a pretty severe sprain but it’s better than anything else that could have happened. No surgery needed, I’m just going to rehab it and get back on the court…..
When you have a doctor tell you this is the best thing that could have happened to you, having seen the play, you get a little bit relieved, and he said no surgery, which was a little more of a relief.
The other thing was the reminder of just how special Kobe Bryant is, and how beautiful and fun the game can be. We shouldn’t need that reminder, but we Lakers fans have come to take the amazing as the expected from Bryant. We take is greatness for granted.
It takes the extraordinary — like dropping 61 in Madison Square Garden on the Knicks — to make us stop for a second again and really appreciate Kobe. Appreciate the footwork. The basketball intelligence. The Athleticism. The Passion. He is part of a select group that can elevate his game and the game to artistry.
Last night was also a reminder that even without Bynum, this team is still a contender. This is not the team that went to the Finals last year — this is the team that went to the Finals with Trevor Ariza added to the mix and a year of experience for the then-overwhelmed younger players. This team is very, very good. Can it beat Boston then Cleveland on the road this week? Who knows? Who knows if they could have won these two games on the road with Bynum? But right after the Bynum announcement I would have said they could not, with a night to sleep on it I can say maybe. And that gives me hope. And more importantly, my hope extends to whether or not they could beat those teams in a seven-game series.
I know, from the comments here and around the Lakers Nation, some Lakers fans have resigned themselves to the gulag. I just can’t be that guy. I would urge all of you to step into the sunshine and bathe in its warmth. Everything is not lost, far from it, there is so much fun and excitement ahead of us, so many amazing moments of great basketball and exciting series to come. The journey is the fun part. And we have no idea where that journey will end, but there is still hope and belief that it can end where we want.