Lakers Focused Despite the Chaos and Loss to the Spurs
Phil Jackson wanted too much money, didn't want to travel, wanted to skip morning shootarounds and wanted to drag Jim Buss by the scalp through L.A. Live during the unveiling of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's statue in front of STAPLES Center much akin to the stonings from the days of yore.
Jim Buss was jealous of Phil Jackson and wanted to eradicate all evidence that he even coached the Lakers much less won five championships during his tenure. Buss was already pissed that he had to get rid of Andrew Bynum and Mike Brown. Having to stoop to begging for Phil back was just not going to happen. Besides it was Mike D'Antoni who spread the vicious rumors of Phil's demands.
No matter which side you belive, everything that has gone on with the Lakers since Friday morning have been a complete joke, a display of competing egos and incompentence.
Well that's an exaggeration. The players didn't go wrong winning both games under interim head coach Bernie Bickerstaff before the Lakers named Mike D'Antoni head coach late Sunday night. With D'Antoni hobbled and in a nursing home after receiving a new knee a couple of weeks ago, the Lakers were assured of another game under Bickerstaff's tutelage.
Too bad the game was against the San Antonio Spurs.
Things were stacked even more against the Lakers with point guard Steve Blake out with a minor abdominal strain. So if you're counting at home that means the starting point guard and the backup point guard of the Lakers were not going to playing against the Spurs leaving Darius Morris to pick up the slack.
The Lakers surprisingly held a slight lead throughout most of the game until the Spurs started to pull ahead early in the fourth quarter. Kobe Bryant took over and the Lakers held the 82-81 lead with 19 seconds left to go.
The Spurs, instead of giving the ball to Tony Parker, gave the ball to Danny Green who out on the right wing nailed a three to give the Spurs the 84-82 lead with nine seconds left to go.
Kobe Bryant had not shot the ball in the final four minutes, so the ball had to go to him for the final shot, right? Pau Gasol got the inbound pass in the right corner and could not find Kobe who was trying to shake off a defender. Gasol decided to take things in his own hands hoisting up the three that clanged off the iron and into the scrum in the paint as time expired.
Kobe and Pau had a brief meeting of the minds about that shitty play as the Spurs celebrated, but it was too late. The Spurs escaped with the 84-82 win.
Despite the loss, it was clear there has been a drastic improvement by the team on defense. The Lakers held the Spurs to only 84 points, a season low that was matched by the efforts of the Clippers. The effort shows how this team can compartmentalize and focus on what they need to do despite the chaos that surrounds them.
So that's something.
Unfortunately that drops the Lakers to 3-5, but don't get too disheartened Lakers fan. Only the incompetency of Jeffrey Loria and the Florida Marlins can knock all of the drama the Lakers generated over the last several days off of the top stories on ESPN if not for a minute or so.
Who knows when D'Antoni will show up? Who knows if Nate McMillian will be the de facto defensive coordinator for the team? Hopefully even as the chaos and drama swirls around the team, the players will continue to focus on what is important.