The Los Angeles Lakers are going for a three-peat (that’s three championships in-a-row), by starting off with a loss – at home no less. Worried? No problem. And not just because I am a longtime fan but the Lakers have them right where they want them.
Nobody wants to lose a game in the playoffs. You have only a seven game series’, so four losses and you’re out. But when you’ve been as good as the world champion Lakers have been, and for such a long time (basically averaging a championship every other year for the past decade), sometimes it takes a little extra to get going. It isn’t so much a matter of being over-confident, it’s just they’ve done and accomplished so much and part of the process is getting a fire built up to create a more meaningful incentive.
This looks to be Coach Phil Jackson’s last year. Maybe that should generate motivation? Heck, Phil could be winning his sixth championship with the Lakers and it’ll give him an even dozen championships – possibly establishing him as the greatest coach in National Basketball Association (NBA) history. A three-peat is within their grasp so shouldn’t that ignite inspiration? A possible strike is looming next year (I’m thinking they’ll settle) and no one knows what that will bring for next year – maybe this will encourage the players to focus on the subject at hand?
All these reasons and more would say to you, me and anyone NOT wearing purple and gold to start worrying. But that’s why the Lakers are going for their second three-peat in the past eleven years. They don’t worry. They know when to win. And Phil the Zen Master will make sure they keep their eye on the ball.
Yes, the team is looking a little frayed. They aren’t as young as they used to be. Their defense isn’t as keen as it once was. And, Center Andrew Bynum continues to have injury troubles. Plus, they were stumbling at the end of the season. Maybe a three-peat is asking a bit much but I believe before this playoff series is over, the Lakers will get back in the win column and for that matter, they should win this series. The San Antonio Spurs, who always seem to be the ‘other’ team in the Western Conference, have some of the same problems and they’re looking at an early deficit, too. I have a hunch the Spurs will come back and before this is over with, the two old nemeses’ will meet in the Conference Final. By the way, did you know the Lakers have won 50% more Conference Titles than Division Titles? The regular season just doesn’t mean the same to them as the playoffs.
The New Orleans Hornets – yes, the team that won Game One – is a solid team if a bit thin on depth. In the end, the champion Lakers’ rebounding prowess along with sheer resolve and champions heart will continue their winning ways. See … the Lakers have them right where they want them.