The Los Angeles Lakers couldn’t deny the inevitable of who was the better team in their second round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, as they lose Game 5, 106-90, as well as the series 4-1.
Officially “gone fishin”, this Lakeshow squad will have a long summer of reflection. There’s so many angles, and perspectives to exam with this team, but I will try to keep it simple.
Let’s take a look at the microcosms of the Lakers’ season.
Game 5 started out like another Mission Impossible sequel, starring Kobe Bryant as the Black Mamba of course. He scored 15 points, out of the Lakers 21, first quarter points. His reasoning was that he saw his teammates struggling, and wanted to keep them in the game. He finished the game with 42 points, but Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum had no effect on this game in the second half. The reality, is that this team reminded him somewhat of the 2005-07 Laker teams, where he didn’t trust most of his teammates.
As the game progresses, in the first half, Gasol looked very assertive, but as the game moved into the second half, Gasol stayed true to his 2011-12 form (he had a big night on the boards with 16, but only scored 14 points), a talented, but mentally lost soul….smh.
Andrew Bynum, showed up, but then didn’t show up. After getting two quick fouls, he was completely thrown off his game, as is always the case with AB when he doesn’t get going early. He finished the game with 10 points, and only four rebounds. Bynum’s immaturity rear’s it’s ugly head at the wrong times in the most unfortunate cases, and if you saw his body language throughout Game 5, it almost seemed like he mentally already booked his boat and fishing gear for the summer.
Three highly talented players on one team, but only one has the mental stability to endure all the obstacles, and challenges of an NBA season on a consistent basis. You figure with the right supporting cast, this still will be a formidable trio for at least three more years, but apparently, they are not on the same page mentally. This has to be addressed, and corrected going into next year.
This Lakers team was close, but not really even in the same zip code (thought I was going to say cigar), in comparisons to the make-up of their championship teams. Mitch has to get on his job once again, as well as cover for Jim Buss’s @#$% ups of letting Lamar Odom go, and hiring Mike Brown. I like Mike Brown, but it’s not just me, even the great Magic Johnson, questions his championship pedigree. He has to become a complete coach, or next year might be his last (if he can somehow make it to next year amidst the scrutiny).
Now here’s another microcosm of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Kobe Bryant and Mitch Kupchak will not, I repeat, will not let the Lakers whither away no time soon. If the Mamba, dropping 42 points in game still doesn’t show he’s capable, then you’re clearly not from this planet. The only thing that you can start to somewhat question is the “best closer” in the game title, but I will digress from that point. Kupchak’s interview at the end of Game 5 with the media, was also a tell-tell sign that the Lakers will be back, but he knows he has to take care of business this off-season which will be tough, due to the team’s financial straits.
What will the 2012-2013 Lakers look like next year? That’s the ultimate question. Bryant will head to the Olympics this summer, and the last time he came back from Olympics, his team won the NBA title (2008-2009). Will Gasol and AB be his co-stars in the Lakers’s next possible championship sequel, or will he have some new running mates? One thing is for certain, you must address the supporting cast issue ASAP, and a possible LA and LO re-uniting scenario could take place, if it is available.
The “Laker Haters” can rejoice for now Laker Nation, but this organization will rise once again within the next couple of years. Until then, remember to “attack fast and strong.”
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Written by Arthur Kai