February 17, 2011

Oh Lakers, where art thou?

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

It’s not too bad to get blown out on the road by a contender like the Orlando Magic. Fans can justify a tough loss to the Charlotte Bobcats in their fourth game in five nights. But to go into Cleveland, home of the worst team in the league, that was recently on a record 26-game losing streak, that’s just pathetic. This never would have happened if Phil Jackson was alive.

The last I checked, when the Cavs visited L.A. earlier this season, the Lakers nearly doubled their score, winning by 55. Is it time to panic for the defending champs?

Statistically the Lakers weren’t too bad last night, but games aren’t won on stats, only fantasy leagues are. Kobe Bryant had a poor 8-for-24 shooting effort, but finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Pau Gasol was spectacular, scoring 30 and grabbing 20 rebounds. The Lakers out-rebounded the Cavs by 10, but shot at 5% less clip than the Cavs, 47-42.

What can we take away from a game like this, though? It’s a proven quality that every team is going to be playing harder against the champs and the Lakers are coming off two in a row and bordering on dynasty territory. This is also their last game before the all-star break, which might be in the back of players’ minds.

It’s not like the Lakers had something to prove on Wednesday night either. The Cavs are looking at having the most ping-pong balls in the lottery and the Lakers are looking at a somewhat easy ride to a division title – Phoenix is nine games back. So, worst comes to worst, the Lakers get a four seed and may have to face the Spurs in the second round. I can think of a lot worse fates than that – imagine if the Cavs lose out on the No. 1 pick because of this win…

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