From Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary:
uto·pia (noun) \yu̇-ˈtō-pē-ə\ : an imaginary and indefinitely remote place.
Pau Gasol has been a bit more vocal as of late on the topic of the Lakers’ recent struggles, even going so far as to throw a tantrum in front of teammates and Kobe Bryant in the locker room following an especially unpleasant loss to the Orlando Magic.
Speaking to reporters in Spanish following the loss to the Knicks in New York on Sunday, Gasol continued to deliver some honest commentary about the fortunes of his team moving forward, and obviously the future isn’t exactly bright.
As translated by HoopsHype:
The playoffs are a utopia right now. (…) The Western Conference has a lot of great teams that are playing much better than us right now. (…) If things don’t change very quickly, I don’t know if we will have many chances.
Gasol isn’t giving up, and he isn’t painting an unnecessarily gloomy image in hopes that all of the constant trade rumors that swirl around him might some day come to fruition.
He’s speaking the truth.
The Lakers are currently 13 games under .500, and nine and a half games out of the final playoff spot in the West, with four teams ahead of them before we even get there. It’s honestly easier and more accurate to refer to L.A. as being just two teams away from being the worst in the Conference — something Gasol knows all too well, and isn’t afraid to articulate in another language.
This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.
The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.
With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.
Emphasis on “almost.”
The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.
The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.
After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.
The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.
Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.
The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.