Posted by hiphopmama on March 17, 2009
Philadelphia 94, LA Lakers 93
That was sickening. I’m not sure how much writing I can even muster for this game, because the whole thing was a disgrace. It was such a typical display from the Lakers (notice how I don’t call them “us” as much when they lose?), who showed flashes of brilliance interspersed with mind-numbingly pitiful mediocrity, and for once they were made to pay for it. I’m almost glad they lost, because they need to quit thinking they can pull this shit and still escape with a win.
All I’ll say by way of a recap is this (and even this much is only for you, Diana): good first and third quarters, but the second and fourth were shit. It was obviously a tad more complicated than that, but not much. It was almost an exact repeat of the Dallas performance, with the Lakers jumping out with ease to a big lead and then getting lackadaisical and watching it dwindle. We ended up trailing by six points midway through the fourth but once again found the wherewithal to climb back and even take the lead. Donyell Marshall (seriously??) burned us for a few nice threes, but we still had the ball with the game tied and about a five second gap between the shot and game clocks. It was a foregone conclusion that Kobe would take the shot, and almost as predictable that he would make it, which he did, just inside the three-point line with a hand in his face. So out we come from the time out with six seconds remaining and A FOUL TO GIVE. Philly inbounds the ball, and Iguodala stands there and dribbles out the clock with Ariza on him. Okay, that’s a good start. Trevor is our best one-on-one defender. Surely he was reminded during the time out that we had a foul to give, so he’ll wait for the right time. Right? Wrong. He stayed on him and watched as AI #2 pulled up from straight out and drained a three to win the game at the buzzer. Yeah he got a hand up and it wasn’t an easy shot by any means, but it was still very straightforward and we did nothing to put them off their plan. After that display, we deserved to lose and slip a game behind Cleveland in the loss column.
I don’t really know what to say about this team right now. It would be one thing if this was an isolated occurrence and we didn’t regularly piss away big leads to inferior teams. But it’s not, not by any stretch. It’s been a disturbing trend all season long, and we have not found a way to correct it. Now, as the playoffs approach and we are presumably making our final push for home court advantage, we look like we’re trying to coast our way to the finish line. Someone needs to do like D-Fish and write up that number “24” on the team blackboard to remind them what they’re working for, or perhaps against. Because it’s exactly that kind of psychological weakness that was preyed upon last year, and we cannot afford it anymore, even in these seemingly meaningless games.
An even more dominant team at a similar point in the season recently lost a game, albeit against stiffer opposition, when Manchester United got drubbed by Liverpool 4-1 at home. The title is in all likelihood still theirs, but everyone is speculating about whether the loss will embolden them to a final surge or be the first of many slips that will cost them their chance. I hate Man Utd with a passion, but I happen to believe their world class coach will pull the right strings to use it as a motivational tool and push them toward their ultimate goal. For the Lakers, I am less sure. This is partly because they are not the far and away leaders like Man Utd are, nor are they the current champs. But it is also because the Lakers have never shown their ability to rise to that level of deadly competitiveness and rip teams’ throats out, as the Red Devils have done. We have a similarly legendary coach, but I have yet to see whether or not he can inspire this group to the kind of heights we know they’re capable of. I’ll be watching, whatever the outcome, but I am not pleased. Please change my mind, boys.
Here are Ariza’s post-game comments about the final shot by Iguodala:
I can’t find any recap or highlights, which is probably best anyway. You don’t really need that stress in your life.