June 14, 2004

Mourning in Lakerdom

Today was an odd day at the Frinklin’s employer. As I’ve mentioned before a great many of the people here are Laker fans. As one might expect, there was some sadness today, combined with a sense of stunned resignation. Both my boss and my co-minion Raul, who sharp-eyed Frinklin Fans will remember from here, came dressed all in black. In mourning, he said. I told him to cheer up, but he was hopeless. He kept muttering to himself, asking, “how could this happen?”

I felt so bad it was all I could not to skip down the hallway laughing and singing.

He asks a good question though. How did this happen? How did the Lakers go from 4 titles in 5 years to 1 great shot away from being swept? It’s really quite simple, I think.

They are just not that great anymore. Now, let me remind you that Shaq and Kobe are the best 1-2 punch in the game. Only Shaq has been dominant in this series though, Kobe has shown flashes, but has spent quite a bit of time flailing against Tayshaun Prince’s soon to be legendary length. Really wish people would stop talking about his length; sounds vaguely pornographic. Beyond those two, the Los Angeles does not have much. Malone is injured. He tries to answer the bell, but when he has, it’s been pretty ineffectual. Payton is a different story, and it is sad to see the Glove like this. He hasn’t liked the Triangle at all this season. It isn’t the right system for him, and plays to none of his strengths. So he’s been surly all season. That in of itself is not the problem, GP is always surly, and the Lakers should have known that all along. It’s been ugly though, Magic Phil’s expertise in dealing with problem children seemed to have desert him when dealing with Payton. Gary hasn’t helped matters either, yapping about every perceived slight imaginable, and eventually refusing to speak to media altogether.

What about the rest of the team? Fisher, Medvedenko, George, Rush, Walton et al? Nothing much there, though Luke Walton might end up a player. He won’t be anything close to Ralph Wiley’s White Magic nonsense, but a nice complementary player. The Lakers have existed the last few years as 2 superstars and a bunch of nobodies. This year they changed that and brought in 2 more superstars at the end of their career. If anything, this team has been less reliable and more flakey because of it. Are they dead against Detroit? Not completely, but it won’t be easy. Winning three in a row against anybody is difficult, and the Pistons smell blood in the water. I’m done making predictions, especially foolish ones, but I will say this: If Los Angeles can win the next 2 and force a game 7, they will win that

Posted by Frinklin at June 14, 2004 06:07 PM

The problem is the lakers cannot shoot at all. Shaq is getting single covered, he should be dropping a fairly easy 40 every night, it's not like Wallace and 'Sheed can really deter him that much.

Kobe's shooting is off, granted, but he's got a bunch of long, athletic guards on him, and he can't get an open look.

Now, maybe if Fox could hit one, or Fisher, or Medvedenko, or the rotting corpse of Bryan Russell, I don't know...

I'm more of a Kobe fan than a Laker fan, but since the rape thing I've cooled. But still, the best player in the game is getting neutralized completely by crappy teammates as much as by Detroit's impressive D.

They've basically taken that "go long" method used by the Bulls' second round of title squads, when they'd have Jordan/Pippen/Harper patrolling the perimeter. Nobody could get open looks and got ripped every time in the lane. It's a great strategy but you need good defenders or a coach who can teach it like Brown.

It can be beaten though. But it takes good shooters. The Lakers have none. So it's all on Kobe to do it all or the Lakers go down.

Posted by: Brian at June 14, 2004 09:07 PM
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