Fears of Laker recovery in NBA playoffs justified – Orange County Register

So much for readjustment, timing, chemistry and all the other entries in the trainer’s thesaurus.

It’s as easy as ever. If you’re playing with LeBron James and he gets a bounce, go down the pitch like a runaway prisoner. If it’s a double team, sprint to the vacant area. Or, if it’s the end of the game, go around the corner and make sure your trigger finger is engaged. The bullet, and your chance for a hero shot, arrives.

The muscles of the Lakers have retained all of these memories. Remembering how to play with James is about as difficult as remembering how to make a smoothie.

Admittedly, the Lakers are somewhat on the edge. Because they are a seeded # 7 they play Golden State and Steph Curry, the league’s top scorer, Wednesday night. But if they win, they’re in the normal playoff structure, where everyone is 0-0 and home court advantage will mean less than ever, even if a Game 7 in Phoenix or Utah looms.

The Lakers spat out a 14-point fourth-quarter lead against Golden State in November, but won the other two games by 31 and 26 games and kept Curry under 30 points in all three, and Anthony Davis did not appear in any of the three. of the Laker’s two victories.

A win on Wednesday would give the Lakers another time cushion before the real playoffs start next week. A loss on Wednesday would require a real win or stranglehold scenario against the Memphis-San Antonio winner on Friday.

Fretting Laker fans should watch how the rest of the league cower in front of the reassembled monster.

The Clippers played their scrubs (including Jay Scrubb) against Houston and lost when they could have challenged Denver for the No. 3 seed. Then they played everyone except Ken “The Animal” Bannister on Sunday. and lost to Oklahoma City, which has a G-League contingent that would struggle to beat Oklahoma State.

The strategy, clearly, was to dodge the Lakers at all costs, even if that meant falling to the No.4 seed and playing Luka Doncic and Dallas, who has an NBA record of 12-3 in his last 15 games. .

If the Lakers beat Golden State, the Clippers couldn’t face them in an all-Staples series heading into the Western Conference Finals, a place the Clippers have never been.

That’s a lot of guesswork made by a team that hasn’t beaten a healthy team with a winning record since April 21. Maybe they should have used this last trip to solidify their rotations and develop their own timing. No Clipper has played 60 games and averaged 30 minutes this season.

Denver reportedly met the Lakers in a 3-6 first-round rematch of last year’s Western Finals. He made sure that didn’t happen when he turned his Portland regular-season final to “friendly”.

A No.7 seed never won the NBA Championship, although the Knicks were No.8 when they got to the 1999 Finals. A Single No.6 seed staged a parade. It was Houston in 1995, like these Lakers, a defending champion.

The Rockets traded Otis Thorpe in Portland for Clyde Drexler, a future Hall of Famer who will play alongside Hakeem Olajuwon. Still, they were 18-19 before the playoffs and 47-35 overall.

Next, Olajuwon was named All-NBA third team, and San Antonio David Robinson won the MVP trophy before the second game of the Spurs-Rockets Western Final. Olajuwon came out and put 41 points and 16 rebounds on Robinson. The torture continued throughout the series, and when it was over, Olajuwon told Kenny Smith, “I’m going to his house to get my trophy.”

The final leg was an Orlando sweep in the final, with Olajuwon overtaking Shaquille O’Neal.

At some point in these playoffs, either Nikola Jokic or Chris Paul will get that MVP trophy, and James will be nodding ominously somewhere, and the consequences might not be pretty.

But if the Lakers actually go from play-in to shoo-in, they’ll fondly remember what Davis and the “others” did when James and Dennis Schröder went out.

Instead of fidgeting in the water, they lost a close and passionate game to Portland on May 7, then beat Phoenix and New York. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Talen Horton-Tucker, Alex Caruso and the others kept hope afloat. André Drummond has found the traction. All of this gave James a more solid comeback.

On February 12, the Lakers were 21-6. They have been better rebuilt. Next week, the dangers of play-in will be forgotten, and the predictability and truth of a seven-game series will return.

As for the rest of the ten pins that stand in the way of this bowling ball, be careful what you don’t want.


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