The third episode of L.A.’s hallway series came and went last night. The game was preceded by news about the health of Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss. He’s been a true lion in the league for many years now and one of the enduring truths in life is that our winters inevitably come. As for on-court action, about the best that can be said is that the team gave it a shot. Kobe Bryant had a couple age-defying dunks and 11 assists. Plus the bench put up 41 points so there’s that.
There may be a book written some day about this crazy mixed-up season. It has defied expectations and logic although some will argue the point. There were plenty of warning signs – the notion of banking on a newly-arrived superstar who was still recovering from surgery, the amalgamation of aging players and the very real potential for systematic conflict. Still more may point out that most of us were willing to drink the Kool-Aid. And why not? It tasted just fine at the time and was loaded with incendiary promise. And here we are – the Lakers are in still in tenth place in the west and you can only spin that so many ways for so long.
The NBA All-Star break is sometimes seen as a midway point in the basketball season but it isn’t really. It’s a few days off, a chance for some players to rest their aching limbs and for others to compete and socialize in an annual rite of passage. Both the Lakers and Clippers will be well-represented and when the party’s over, teams will find themselves looking down a shotgun barrel stretch run to the end of the season. For some it won’t really matter – they’re already out of hunt and simply jockeying for draft position. As for the Lakers, they’ll have 28 games left to try and slip through a rapidly-closing window. In the meantime, enjoy the respite – there will be plenty of ASW coverage right here.