Frustrated, pissed off, pathetic, and let down. Those were just several emotions in which I was feeling as I shut the game off and called it an early night as the Lakers lost their most coveted home court advantage and game one to the Houston Rockets last night. It is never easy to see your team go down one zero let alone hand home court away. All season long we have heard the Lakers talk of how important it is to hold home court throughout the playoffs so there is no repeat of what happened against the Celtics last year. Last night, well we just gave it away.
When I woke up this morning, I had that same taste in my mouth as I got ready and went to work. Throughout the day I wasn’t able to get my mind off that terrible performance. Over and over again I thought of what we did wrong. Lets go over the negatives first. Lamar Odom went 1-6 from the free throw line. Sasha Vujacic’s poor shooting percentage continues through the playoffs at .333 percent. His sole purpose on the floor is to piss the other team off and make threes. Instead last night, we get the lead and Sasha tries to do too much as always and fouls Artest for an And 1. Then the following possession he got smoked by Aaron Brooks who scores thus giving the Rockets a five-point swing. Speaking of Aaron Brooks, can any of our guys guard him? I know Fish brings leadership but Farmar brings speed and defense. How about Bynum with the inability to play more than 15 min a game due to foul trouble? Finally there is Kobe. Yes he was sick but like Kobe I do not believe in excuses. Whenever Kobe shoots more than 24 times in a game the Lakers have 11 wins and 12 loses. When Kobe does not do that the Lakers are around 53 wins and 13 loses. The problem with last night was that none of Kobe’s teammates were making shots. They went 2-18 from deep and no one was making open shots. Not even Pau.
As the work day went on and after all of this had gone through my brain, I have decided that the Lakers as bad as they played were in the game until the end. Some would call it rust, some would call it a bad night, I call it a wakeup call. In the last series and for the last half of the season, the Lakeshow has not been challenged, they have not had their backs against the wall, and they have not had any pressure on them. Guess what? Now they do. This next home game is a must win. Every time the Lakers have gone into a situation where a win will set the tone, they have come out on top. How did they do against Boston this year? How did they do against King James this year? All four of those games gave the Lakeshow a W in the win column.
The Lakers will not go 11 percent from the three-point line again, Kobe will not have 32 points on 31 shot attempts, and I am hoping Bynum will stay out of foul trouble. Last night Yao went 10 for 10 from the free throw line, Artest was shooting 85% in the first half, Aaron Brooks had 19 points, and the Rockets played lights out. Take all of this into consideration and then think how bad the Lakers played and how they were still in the game. This only shows how deep the Lakers truly are.
Last year in the Lakeshow’s road to the finals they were never tested and never trailed a series. Boston went to game 7 countless times. When it came to the finals, Boston knew they could pull through when the going got tough. What happened when the got down twenty plus points? They tightened up their D and pulled one of the biggest comebacks in NBA finals history. Props to Boston. The first time the Lakers faced adversity was on the big stage. It was ever so apparent that they were not ready and did not know what to do in order to turn the tides.
What is great about this loss, is the fact that we are facing adversity early and not in the NBA finals. We are facing adversity against a Houston team who we swept in the regular season and are nowhere as talented as our boys in the Purple and Gold. Yes the statistics say that eighty percent of the teams that win game one go on to win the series. I am curious how many of those teams were the higher seed to win game one and go on to win the series? Did Chicago advance to the second round last week? Did Philadelphia advance to the second round? Both of those teams won game one yet the top seed advanced.
To wrap things up, it is not time to panic in Laker land. The Lakeshow as Kobe said is the best road team in the NBA. We have not lost in Houston all year, Kobe had a bad night (what does he normally do after a bad night? Go off), and we did not play for a week. The rust is off, the Lakers got their wake up call, and now it is time to step up to the challenge. Like one of my co-workers said today at work. Don’t let that loss bother you. If it is destiny for the Lakers to win it all, then it will happen. There is nothing we can do about it. Just let it play out.
Well, destiny here we come……