The Lakers lost their fourth game in a row Friday night to a 93-86 decision against the Blazers. It wound up with a decent point differential but the truth is the game was much more of a blowout. A late Lakers run with bench players made it seem easier, but in reality, the Lakers gave a horrible effort. That’s not exaggeration. They simply could not be bothered to try. And Phil Jackson was pretty honest about it post-game.
Phil Jackson’s unhappy: “These guys just don’t want to play hard right now.” No argument here.
via Twitter / @Mike Bresnahan: Phil Jackson’s unhappy: “T ….
The Lakers laughed off their third loss in a row. They’ll likely laugh off this one as well. Kobe Bryant for one vowed that the loss would not stand as acceptable, though he wasn’t in any way off the charts angry.
“We’ll have a good conversation,” Bryant said. “It’s always a surprise to get beat like that.”
via Lakers are defenseless in 93-86 loss to Trail Blazers – latimes.com.
This is nothing new for the Lakers. They tore off a huge win-streak after the All-Star break, proved they were the team everyone thought they were. Then they stopped trying. They’re coasting. And they’ll turn it on in the playoffs like they always do. The only people they’re hurting are the Lakers fans living in Portland who attended the game. There’s no threat to their playoff hopes, no damper on their planning for another championship parade. This is just the result of a long regular season for a team looking to three-peat. How could a loss like this possibly matter to them?
In unrelated news, the Mavericks are now a single game back of the Lakers for the 2nd seed in the West. The Heat and Celtics are now tied were they to meet in the Finals, and were the Lakers to face the top-seeded Bulls in the Finals, Game 1 would be in United Center. You know. Unrelated.
There’s this overplayed angle talked about by some fans and pundits suggesting the Warriors just got lucky last season — for example, they faced a banged-up Rockets’ team in the conference finals then a Cavaliers’ squad without two of their big three through the Finals. Then there was Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers saying the Warriors were lucky not having to play the Clippers or Spurs in the postseason.
The Warriors are sick of hearing they were lucky.
Friday Klay Thompson fired back at Rivers, via CSNBayArea.com.
– “I wanted to play the Clippers last year, but they couldn’t handle their business.”
– “If we got lucky, look at our record against them last year (Warriors 3-1). I’m pretty sure we smacked them.”
– “Didn’t they lose to the Rockets? Exactly. So haha. That just makes me laugh. That’s funny. Weren’t they up 3-1 too?”
– “Yeah, tell them I said that. That’s funny. That’s funny.”
Warriors big man Andrew Bogut phrased it differently.
If you think the Warriors just won because they were lucky — you are dead wrong.
They were the best team in the NBA last season, bar none. They won 67 regular season games in a tough conference, then beat everyone in their path to win a title. Did they catch some breaks along the way, particularly with health? You bet. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant didn’t win a title without catching some breaks along the way, either. Nobody does. Luck plays a role, but it was not the primary factor in why the Warriors are champs.
All this talk of them getting lucky is fuel for the fire they needed not to be complacent this season. Way to give the defending champs bulletin board material, Doc.
Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.
Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.
Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.
“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.
“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”
This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.
It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.