The Lakers: The Week That Was, And Will Be
Three losses in a row. A close loss in Milwaukee. A thrashing at the hands of the Boston. Then losing a 14-point lead and the game to New Jersey. That’s what last week brought the Lakers, pain and misery. And now a 7-6 record after a promising start.
But like all things in Lakerdom, it all gets blown out of proportion. Some Lakers fans are running around like Chicken Little after these losses saying it's time to blow up this lineup or trade Kobe or some other nonsense. While last week wasn’t good, it wasn’t THAT bad.
These Lakers do not have a wide margin for error, it doesn’t take much to knock them off their stride. In this case, it was the combination of a couple injuries and some players still trying to adjust to their roles. Kwame Brown, for as much of a black hole he is on offense, provides a big-body on defense that is key to the Lakers front line. (He is out indefinitely.) Also, all-world energy guy Ronny Turiaf turned an ankle and is not 100%, which also has weakened the front-line defense.
Those injuries to starters have ripple effects. Throw in the trade of Mo Evans and Brian Cook (for Trevor Ariza, who has yet to see the floor) and the second unit that won games early on is torn apart. On top of it all, Lamar Odom is still adjusting to playing the three spot (meaning he plays more away from the basket) and his game has suffered some nights.
All of that has meant three straight losses. But tonight is the perfect place to start the recovery — the entertaining but not very good Seattle Supersonics (2-12) come to town. Off the court, an evil owner is trying to rip the Sonics away a cool city on the coast and move them to the metropolis that is Oklahoma City. (Wouldn’t the name Oklahoma City Supersonics be oxymoronic?) On the court the Sonics are led by heralded rookie Kevin Durant — who has MAD talent but plays under the kind of control you expect from a 19-year-old. Which is to say none. He shoots a lot but doesn’t make many yet. However, former Clipper Chris Wilcox is back and looking good this season with some new post moves added to his game.
The rest of the week proves a tough test for the Lakers. Thursday night it is Denver (9-5) and their run-and-gun style led by Allan Iverson coming to Staples. Friday night the Lakers get the Utah Jazz (10-5) on the road. Utah beat the Lakers already this season, 119-109. Then on Sunday it's back to Staples, with the Lakers wearing the white jerseys against Orlando (13-3) and the beast that is Dwight Howard in the paint. The Howard/Andrew Bynum match up will be fun to watch.
The question is, can the Lakers get back to the team from the start of the season, or will this next week look like last week?
AP photo by Morry Gash