Last night’s Laker game was as painful and tough of a loss as I can remember. It reminded me of last year’s game three loss to the Mavericks before they got swept out of the playoffs. It was a game they had a chance to win and they crapped the bed in the last two minutes of the game. It happened so quickly, it left me and Amanda speechless. It was as if the air was sucked out of the room. Just minutes ago, we were high fiving, happy, and feeling great about the game. It felt like the series was over, even though it’s not yet. It just felt like it.
Call me naïve, crazy, or stupid, but I’ve always believed and hoped that this year’s Laker team could win a championship. I like Mike Brown’s defensive strategy, Kobe has at least a few more years left in him of elite play, and Bynum and Gasol are always tough to deal with, thanks to their height. The team is flawed, but when their mind is right, they can beat anybody, which we have seen this year, with big victories over Dallas, Boston, Miami, and OKC in the regular season.
Down 2-0 to a team that is better than you, faster, quicker, and hungrier, that’s a deadly combination and some might say it’s a death wish. People are calling the Lakers dead, old, slow, and that it’s OKC’s time. It would be hard to argue with them. The Lakers collapsed and gave the game away, and they have no one to blame for that but themselves. On paper and using logic, it’s easy to say goodbye Lakers, goodbye to their era of winning, and goodbye to them in this particular series against the Thunder.
From my years of watching sports, I have come to learn that it’s not over until it’s over. Yes, the odds are not in their favor, and yes it’s going to be difficult, but it starts with game three on Friday night. Nothing sours the pain of a tough loss quite like a victory. As we have seen with this year’s team, they are a different team at home. They won’t have to listen to the loud, annoying, and insane crowd that is in Oklahoma City. The Lakers play their kind of game at home. They also play their best when their backs are against the wall. That’s clearly the case right now. If they don’t win Game 2, the season is just about over at that point. No team has ever come back from a 0-3 deficit. I’m a Laker fan, a hopeless fan at times, but I’m not that much of a Laker homer that I would believe that.
The best advice people give you in life, and it applies to sports: take it one day at a time. That’s what the Lakers have to do, and their fans as well, one game, or one day, at a time. A good night’s sleep has helped erase the pain of last night’s loss a little bit. The Lakers have to have that same mindset. Don’t let this loss linger or stick in your brain. Move on and be ready for Friday’s game, like it’s the last game of the year, because if you don’t win, you might be swept out on your home court, and that’s a terribly painful way to end a season.
It’s time to show OKC that the Lakers are not ready to give up their spot as one of the top dogs in the West just yet.