So here we are. The last game of the regular season. How to adequately sum up all that has led us here? It’s too hard, too unwieldy. It has been an epic sprawl. The season brought unforeseeable adjustments to say the very least, a myriad of lineups and minimal shared minutes. An unceasing chain of stops and starts, end-games and more end-games. Yet for unthinkable injuries and even greater loss, there have been signs of life. You can’t ignore a record of six and one in the month of April. Or a wonderfully ugly win against the Spurs on Sunday. The Los Angeles Lakers have been scrabbling up through some hard dirt lately. Tonight determines if they move forward into the first round or into a summer of even harder questions.
Ramona Shelburne for ESPN charts Kobe’s road to recovery with his trainer, Tim Grover.
Drew Garrison at Silver Screen and Roll speaks with a highly-regarded foot and ankle surgeon about Kobe’s injury and recovery prognosis.
Dave McMenamin from ESPN writes about Andrew Goudelock’s return from the D-League.
Brian Kamenetzky from the Land O’Lakers looks at variables results for tonight’s game against Houston.
Eric Pincus for the LATimes reports that Steve Nash will miss the regular season finale with nerve, hip and hamstring issues.
Daniel Buerge at Lakers Nation brings Jordan Hill’s encouraging news.
The Spurs, just signed Tracy McGrady for their playoff run. J. Gomez for Pounding the Rock, takes a look at his place on the team.
The other possible first-round match would be OKC of course. Sekou Smith for Hang Time Blog looks at the challenges facing the number one seed.
For those who aren’t fans of the Lakers, this notion of hardship in the land of plenty can be difficult to appreciate. Talk about a rough season when your own team has never even sniffed the finals. The Lakers have been there plenty, never have to worry about their media market, are flush with a payroll reaching into the stratosphere and were handed a roster of All-Stars before heading for the ditch.
So what? Fans aren’t apt to choose their teams off a new menu each season. We form lasting attachments, sometimes geographically and often for no particular reason whatsoever. We find ourselves inordinately wed to an organization and the bond isn’t defined by logic – we spend huge chunks of time watching, questioning, analyzing, bemoaning and sometimes rejoicing.
Dwight Howard arrived fresh off back surgery. Steve Nash broke his leg and currently suffers from a malady known as old and hurt. Steve Blake returned after abdominal surgery and is filling in for Methuselah. Pau Gasol ruptured a part of his foot I can’t even spell. Metta World Peace was supposed to rehab for six weeks after knee surgery but came back after ten days.Jordan Hill’s recouping from hip surgery, Antawn Jamison messed up his shooting hand and Kobe Bryant blew out his Achilles after jamming his knee while playing on bone spurs and a sprained ankle. Some thought that would be the end of it.
One more game to shut up the critics and then on to the playoffs and a whole new discussion.