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.
david h says
darius: we feel you. the pain and certainly the anguish has been hanging out with the lakers this entire season and yet here we are, on the cusp of or at the point of no return (for the season). i like to think, as all laker loyalist that we are on the cusp, on the brink of something still special. we’re weird and insane that way (or spoiled to some extent). but why tempt fate where all along the story is being written before our hearts and minds: possible greatest season ever; starting with tonite’s victory over tha team from houston, called the rockets.
houston: we have a problem, but not for long.
Just Man says
David Beckham returned from the same injury Kobe suffered in 6 months. That is the recovery model that Tim Groover and Kobe are going to utilize. Kobe will be back. Nowww to the matters at hand; we are going to beat the Rockets handily tonight…
Kobe was 13 assists shy of passing his total for a season. Could’ve easily gotten that in 2 games. The last 7 years Dwight has a higher fg% than ft% in 5 of them. Looking at all the great centers only Shaq has done that who also shot lower from the ft line than field in his career. Dwight is at 57% in both categories. Can’t not get easy buckets and shoot 10 ft’s a game and miss half and expect to be a go to guy.
P. Ami says
The game thread isn’t up yet but I can tell you all this. Protect the ball, get back and stop the ball on missed shots or turnovers. Houston is not a good defensive team but they are young, athletic, like to run and have guys who can penetrate, or shoot from outside. Plus, guys like Harden and Lin can go supernova. This is not a gimme game by any stretch but Houston is definitely beatable if the Lakers control the ball and limit fast breaks. Slow the game down and let Pau and Dwight bring us into the playoffs with three straight wins against playoff teams. From here on out wins against playoff teams are all we got.
Darius Soriano says
The game preview is up.