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Lakers Start To Get Things Rolling

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With the end of the NFL season, my Sundays have been thrown into a state of flummox. There is really no reason for me to wake up at 9 a.m., turn on the television and get hunkered down for nonstop football viewing for 12 hours. All that is left is a void.

So yesterday I decided to catch up on some movies and decided that Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom was a good idea. While a great movie the coprophagia and final torture scenes left me a little sick and traumatized.

But I got through it and remembered that the Lakers were playing in San Antonio. I picked up the action in the third quarter and couldn’t quite tell whether watching Salò or the Lakers evisceration of the Spurs was more torturous.

Eh, that’s a bit hyperbolic of a statement. After all there were no middle-aged prostitutes dancing about half-court coaching the players on how to take it up the ass or what a gift it is to eat each other’s shit. All that was dying was the Spurs’ franchise record 22-game home winning streak and a little chunk of ego.

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As for our heroes the Lakers, it was a rousing start of a four-game road trip that takes them through playoff contending teams. And like NASCAR the big one led off the trip - the NBA leading Spurs who are the twinkle of every basketball loving person’s eyes.

What was alarming wasn’t the fact that the Lakers won. While the final score seemed a bit respectable 99-83, it was in reality an evisceration. The Lakers led by as many as 32 points and took a 34-13 lead after the first 12 minutes. Andrew Bynum still on the comeback trail after his knee problems was a monster on the boards with 17 rebounds for the second consecutive game - a season high. Kobe Bryant led with 26 points while Pau Gasol added 21. All this while holding the Spurs to 36% shooting and Tim Duncan to two points.

With the bench playing slapdash in the fourth quarter allowing the Spurs to make things look respectable, head coach Phil Jackson reinserted the starters in the final minutes to send a message.

And with that is the realization that the NBA season has now begun. Not the fake this-game-counts-in-the-standings-but-football-is-on-so-I’m-not-paying-attention-right-now nonsense.

The Lakers did look casual at times especially with bad losses to the Charlotte Bobcats and Cleveland Cavaliers right before the All Star Break sending any Laker fan paying attention into a frenzy.

“Trade Bynum for Carmelo Anthony!”

“The Lakers are old!”

Well apparently the Lakers had this mythical switch they turned on since the All Star Break winning all seven games since. It’s like they know the season has really begun and they are making their claim to be talked about as serious championship contenders.

And during the bad times, they weren’t shedding tears like what’s going on in Miami. They just stayed confident trusting they knew what they’re doing. Being two-time defending NBA Champions gives them certain liberties I suppose.

Before the break they couldn’t beat the good teams. Since then they’ve beat the Atlanta Hawks at home and the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs on the road. And just to spice things up, they even managed to beat the Portland Trail Blazers in their house of horrors also.

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The final 18 games will continue to be an audition for the Lakers until the games truly matter. There will surely be ups and downs, but we must all remember that as infuriating as it may be they know when to play when it matters.