You know the Los Angeles Lakers have this fitting knack of reminding us of their exact location in the state of California. Right in the heart of Hollywood is where the Lakers tend to put out a number of feature presentations throughout the course of a season.
The latest movie is called “The Perfect Storm”, in which any and everything goes surprisingly bad for the defending champs, but they find a way to turn this negative karma into a positive, using it as learning tool to overcome complacency and re-establish their dominance in the Western Conference.
The movie begins with the Lakeshow on the road at the start of week 5 in the NBA, trying to get over a minor hangover after losing two games in a row (in which they should have won) to the Utah Jazz and Indiana Pacers. They began Tuesday in Memphis taking on a young athletic Grizzlies squad that plays the spoiler role to the elite teams in the NBA. On this night, the Lakers would become the second elite casualty of the season losing 98-96 (the first was Miami going down by a Rudy Gay jumper over Lebron as time expired). The Mamba had 29 points, but it wasn’t enough. The Lakers normally have a tough time with the Grizzlies in Memphis and this wouldn’t have been so bad, had this not been the third loss in a row. Next stop Houston.
Normally when it rains, it pours, but in the Lakeshow’s case it stormed pretty badly. Playing in a back-to-back against the Houston Rockets, the Lakers seemed frustrated and not crisp, especially down the stretch. After holding a 7-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, the Lakers were outscored 22-6 to end the ball game as the Rockets defeated them 109-99. The Mamba scored 27 points, but took 24 shots to reach that point total. Lamar Odom had 25 points and 11 rebounds but scored zero points in the 4th quarter. The flight back to L.A. had to be filled with light tension and disbelief.
Battered and down a couple of players, the Lakers needed starters and bench players to step it up. Pau Gasol is battling a sore hamstring, and his stats have been down during the four game losing streak. The Mamba and L. O. have stepped up big time, but needs help from their teammates to shoulder the load until the team as whole is close to 100 percent. Now, we all know that when the plot thickens in a movie, the climax is sure to follow, but first things have to line up in the main character’s favor before you reach the climax in this movie.
The alignment began Friday night, as the Lakers regained their old form and demolished the Sacramento Kings in the Staples Center 113-80. Led by the Mamba’s 22 points, the Lakers had a balanced night and got a much needed “W”. After three days off, the Lakers took on the Washington Wizards to begin week 6. Although this game had close moments, the Lakers controlled the tempo of the game as they defeated the Wizards for the 8th straight time 115-108. The Mamba poured in 32 points, while L.O. had 24 points and 7 boards, and Gasol had 21 points and 14 rebounds.
The Lakers begin a seven game road trip against their fellow Staples Center tenant the Los Angeles Clippers (so technically, it’s a 6 game roadie). So far, playing against inferior teams has allowed the Lakeshow to get out of their first lull of the season. What does the next sequence of events have in store for us in this movie? I don’t want to ruin it for you, but you might see a familiar face return to action in the middle of this road trip. How does the first “Perfect Storm” of the season end for the defending champs? This should be interesting!
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Written by Arthur Kai