Around the World (Wide Web): Fans, Pundits Down On Lakers

Phillip Barnett —  April 26, 2010

Los Angeles Lakers Gasol, Bynum and Odom sit on the bench in Game 4 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City

Just links this morning. I’ll have some analysis on how the Thunder are defending the Lakers for tomorrow morning. However, for now, enjoy these links.

From Silver Screen and Roll: Damn, that was an ugly loss. Now, let’s examine the reasons: Our bigs are freakin babies who let people 4 inches shorter outrebound them by double figures; our outside shooters have long since gouged out their eyes at the sight of Ammo; the refs are taking money from Clay Bennet; Kobe’s getting old and useless and should be traded for Darren Collison while we still have the chance; we shoulda shipped Drew’s injury-prone ass out for Kidd when we had the chance; Pau is a pussy, and we should have kept Marc and Kwame instead; Mitch Kupchak is an idiot; Phil is senile and should be replaced with Byron Scott ASAP; Lamar needs to go into candy rehab; our bench is the worst in NBA history; Voodoo Gods have cursed us with injuries; our team is older than the Celtics; we have lazy players; Kobe accidentally stepped on Brian Shaw’d two-thousand-dollar Armani loafers; etc, etc… Did I get everything (seriously, tell me if I missed something. I wouldn’t want to feel I wasn’t doing my job)?

From Land O’ Lakers: While there was certainly a sense the Lakers would be better off with the Thunder than, say, San Antonio, generally speaking, nobody thought L.A.’s first round matchup with the Oklahoma City would be easy. I, like a lot of media types, picked the Lakers in six. A healthy portion picked L.A. in seven. But nobody without an overdeveloped need for contrarian thinking or an Oklahoma City ZIP code actually picked the Thunder to win. Maybe those predictions are out there, but I couldn’t find them.

From Momma There Goes That Man: I can’t say enough about what Kevin Durant and Thunder are doing out there to Kobe and the Lakers. We knew this would be an exciting match up and we knew this young squad would tire out the Lakers a lil bit. But not many predicted that they could even win 1 against the defending champs much less tie up the series at 2 a piece. The Lakers are playing downright terrible basketball and Oklahoma is definitely capitalizing without a moment’s hesitation. Such is the benefit of having “nothing to lose.” Oh how exciting Game 5 will be!

From Laker Noise: If you’re expecting a fan — blind in love or blind in hate — to be anything other than a fanatic, you’re wasting your time. By definition, true fans surrender all perspective. They turn the streets of their community, like the streets of Green Bay, into Night Of The Living Cheeseheads. Zombies on the loose, they join the cult, surrendering time, money, heart, soul, their last shred of human decency, to the team. They are a marketing director’s wet dream, even if they can’t afford tickets to the actual game itself. They’ll buy the T-shirts, posters, videos, all the bullshit that comes with idol worship. Take 10,000 true fans and put them in an arena, and they can shout open the gates of hell.

From If I had to guess, I would think that it is nights like Game 5 of the Lakers-Thunder series is the reason Zach Harper spends the regular season blogging about the Sacramento Kings and the Toronto Raptors. As a writer, it’s hard to be taken seriously if you can’t display some sort of objectivity, and when you’ve been emotionally invested in one team for so long, it becomes hard to write about that team without biases flowing from your finger tips, and it becomes harder when that team you love so much is playing terribly. But the terrible play probably isn’t what gets to Zach, it’s the Timberwolves, he’s used to that – but perhaps it becomes a lack of effort. A lack of effort from the front office. A lack of effort from the coaching staff. A lack of effort from the collective fan base. Or in the Lakers’ case in Game 5, a lack of effort from the players.

From the Los Angeles Times: Kobe Bryant strolled into the interview room, pulled his sunglasses off and adjusted his eyes to the bright lights. He spoke in even tones, neither mad nor happy, about the Lakers having been defeated by 21 points, 110-89, by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night in Game 4 of the Western Conference first-round playoff series at the Ford Center. The Lakers lost both games here, trailing by 29 at one point in Game 4. The best-of-seven series is now tied, 2-2. Game 5 is Tuesday night at Staples Center. That was the only good news for the Lakers.

From the Los Angeles Times: The Lakers’ performances against the Oklahoma City Thunder creates a level of thinking in two camps, one that believes the Lakers’ armor continues to crack and it’s only a matter of time before things go really sour and the other believes this is all just a overreaction and everything will work out just fine. Nonetheless, the Lakers have been down this path before, as recently as last season when Houston challenged them to a seven-game Western Conference series before the Lakers advanced. I cringe when people bring up this series as evidence that current concerns about the Lakers are overblown, because I think it only raises an even more indicting question. Does the fact that the Lakers played with fire yet didn’t get burned really deserve such praise? I don’t think it does, but for better or worse, the Lakers have been down this path before, and have managed to get out of it.

From the OC Register: The way it’s going right now, Oklahoma City’s young, exciting, fearless flyers could easily grab some skateboards and add a few half-pipes while soaring past ground-bound Lakers veterans for rebounds and baskets. The Lakers thought this was the first round of the NBA playoffs, but the X Games have broken out. And for all Derek Fisher knows, Russell Westbrook is in fact riding a motocross bike as he roars by him.

From the OC Register: Ten shots in the fourth quarter of Game 3. No shots in the first quarter of Game 4. Was Kobe Bryant facilitating again? Pouting again? Saving his energy for the playoffs again? Wait a second. These are the playoffs, even if the Lakers’ last five quarters have looked more like the preseason. Whatever it was Saturday it certainly was another loss for the defending champions, who are discovering quickly in this postseason that no one — least of all this oddly dangerous No. 8 seed — fears them. This final was 110-89 … and it wasn’t even that close.

From Something stunk even worse than the Lakers’ play Saturday. Kobe Bryant lit up a cigar that was far from the victory variety as he made his way from his postgame news conference to the team bus down an empty hallway at the Ford Center, walking with a slight limp as he chatted with Nike executive Lynn Merritt in between puffs. It’s a habit Bryant revealed in the first round of last postseason, smoking a stogie after a clunker in Utah before bouncing back with dominant games to close out the series, but as the thick smoke hung in the air it seemed to personify the cloud of doubt that suddenly hangs over the Los Angeles Lakers rather than a cleansing ritual.

From Both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder did what every team is supposed to do in a seven game series — defend the home court. However, the Thunder’s home-court defense over the defending champion Lakers has certainly raised eyebrows. First, a come-from-behind, 101-96 victory in Game 3, in which they spotted the Lakers 10 points before even getting on the board. Then Game 4’s absolute dismantling of the ’09 Western Conference champions. From start to finish, they held the Lakers in lopsided check.


Phillip Barnett


to Around the World (Wide Web): Fans, Pundits Down On Lakers

  1. OKC wins Game 7 because it is played 40 hours after game 6 win….and the Lakers cannot handle that kind of quick turn-a-round….too old and banged up!


  2. I just look at this 5th game of the series and wonder if the Lakers screw this up, there’s going to be some REAL changes happening in the off-season.

    PG help for sure.
    Maybe some help to bolster an awful bench. Who knows what else?

    Maybe it will be for the better, maybe for the worse.

    But I’d rather not have to worry about the Lakers’ post-season until after mid-June. 🙂



  3. Houston and Denver did the same thing to us last year on their home court. Until OKC wins at LA, they won’t win this series. And that’s not happening.


  4. Am I the only fan not panicking here? Maybe its because I have already seen this series and know how it ends. This goes 7 games to the #1 seed if I remember correctly. It was what… 2 years ago? The veteran, big, and star studded Celtics finished off the young, small, and athletic new kids on the block from Atlanta each winning games on their home court? Yeah… I remember now. That season ended up pretty well for Boston 😉

    If the Lakers lose Game 5 I will be worried… cause I don’t remember that happening a couple years ago.


  5. I don’t know about you guys, but from the opening tip off I knew this Laker team was not there to compete in Game 4. I saw the same lazy attitude that reared its ugly head in the Houston series last year. I’m not saying we did not get outplayed, I”m just saying that this team is better than what we have seen in Games 3 and 4. I think Game 4 was rock bottom and I too am one that thinks that things will only get better here.

    Let’s go Champs!


  6. @1 makes a good point– that is indeed a very tough turnaround: friday night in OKC to sunday probably at noon (maybe 2) in LA. that said, game 7 road wins are historically very hard to come by (stats, anyone?)….

    look: either OKC wins both games 5 and 6, in which case they’ll have beaten us 4 straight and are clearly the better team, or they lose 5 and win 6, in which case they face a game 7 in an arena in which they haven’t won looking for their first playoff road win under the most difficult of circumstances. if they can pull either of these possibilities off, they’ll have demonstrated the maturity of a veteran team and I would envision them advancing the WCF without much trouble.

    Which brings us back to Game 5– this game is enormous: don’t underestimate how hard it is to win on the playoffs on the road, but a Game 5 OKC win seems more credible to me than a game 7 win… Time to put these quite likable young whippersnappers in their place.

    Respect your elders, boys.


  7. Aaron, I’m not panicking but this is the way I’m looking at the series. (Texas Hold em’ style)

    Both teams got dealt their 2 blind cards:
    With the Lakers holding Aces they look like the easy favorites BUT OKC seems to have a possible straight flush (improbable yet a lethal hand you don’t want to lay down)

    Game five is going to be the 3 card flop. If we win, It would put LA in strong favor but if we lose, you could say the same thing for OKC.

    Game six and seven are going to be like fourth street and the river cards. Although you don’t want to rely on them (because they are so risky,) this series may just have to come down to getting down right lucky if we lose game five.

    At this point, I’d hope the Lakers don’t think that a strong bet will make the Thunder Lay down their cards. If anything, I’d say the Thunder look ready to go “all in!”

    Thank God we got Dr. Buss on our side! JK




  9. I think many of the pundits are overreacting. I would be shocked, shocked if the Thunder won game 5 or game 7 on LA’s home court.

    In fact I would be surprised if game 5 is even close.


  10. I completely agree with Aaron. If the Lakers lose the next game I would be concerned. But no team has lost at home. And the lakers have home court. Although if the Lakers play well tomorrow and win. I think they have a great chance to win game 6 with the Thunder on the brink of elimination. Also the thunder have greatly benefited from the first 4 game schedule being only one day off in between games and having young legs.


  11. They played like crap. I changed it after the 3rd quarter. I think Kobe is more hurt than he is putting on. After game 3 I thought Kobe shot the Lakers out of that game but he shoved that right in my face on Saturday. It almost seems like a wasted posession to go elsewhere. Hopefully they figure something out.


  12. 4.Aaron wrote on April 26, 2010 at 11:09 am
    Am I the only fan not panicking here?

    You’re the one who should be most panicked–Fisher’s hot streak means that he will probably be back. 😉

    Seriously, no. I thought this was going 6 or 7 before it started. But, as the ESPNLA guys said, this ain’t the Houston series. The Lakers blew the Rockets out; they have not come close to blowing the Thunder out. The Rockets had no true star; this team has one. And so on.

    The issues are that:

    1. The team looks old, slow, and banged up, and the guys who look old, slow and banged up are the core, who are all signed to long contract extensions. Not that doing that was the wrong move, but still, it gives one pause. Three years from now, Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka will all be 24 years old.
    2. Even if the Lakers win this series, it would seem that they will have a tough time with anyone. Some people seem to be assuming that they will beat Utah if they play them; as far as I am concerned, we should assume nothing right now.
    3. It seems highly, highly unlikely, that even if the team does get through the West, that they can repeat.

    But, in a sense, I am looking forward to Tuesday. It is a huge, huge game, and I think it is one of those litmus games that will give us a deeper sense of where the team is.