The Lakers emotional roller coaster season is mercifully over after a San Antonio 103-82 win and a quick 4-game sweep at Staples Center where they appropriately gave the fans ‘white towels’ to wave through-out the game…something that should’ve happened the day the Lakers made the playoffs.
It was an impossible task for the injury-depleted Lakers (with only 9 fairly healthy bodies in uniform tonight) to win a series over such a quality team like the Spurs…let alone just one game and this last one was hard to watch in many ways. I asked some of the guys afterwards if it was also hard for them to watch and they all just shook their heads in disbelief that this would be the sorry way for this whacko season to end.
Another impossible task was for me to get into the Dwight Howard newsconference room while also gathering postgame sound from his teammates so of course I chose the locker room (although I have plenty to ask Dwight before he possibly leaves town to become the biggest and highest paid gypsy in league history).
Howard left the game (via ejection) in a way that will be embarrassing for him to return with dignity although money speaks louder than anything so nothing would shock me in his future decision. It was interesting timing that not long after Howard steamed his way onto the locker room, Kobe Bryant walked out on his crutches (Willis Reed style) but even his entrance with the loudest roar of the night behind him couldn’t help his guys in the least.
This very likely is Pau Gasol’s final game in a Lakers uni and it seemed like he was saying ‘Buenas Noches’ to us all for good as he walked off after his postgame newser in the classy way that only the Spaniard can, and it was a pleasure to shake Pau’s hand and wish him a happy adios on his way out of building…
Meta World Peace (AKA Ron Artest) who was one of 3 starters on the bench in their civies due to injury told me in the locker room that he wished he and some of the team’s other leaders (including Kobe) had spoken up more during this tumultuous season…
Meta World Peace:
Veteran Antawn Jamison who’s as nice a guy as you’ll ever meet in sports or out, gave me some great takes on what was possibly his last game in purple and gold…
I also spoke with the three unlikely Laker starters in game 4 and they all were open with their feelings in such a difficult time to deal with…
Forward Earl Clark:
Guard Andrew Goudelock a recent re-signee from the D-League:
Guard Darius Morris who was really disappointed in his 8 pt. game:
And finally forward Jordan Hill who came back very early after hip surgery in January, described to me what it was like to go through this series with really no chance to win it…
It will be a very long off-season for Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak…will he or won’t he re-sign Howard? How long will it take for Kobe to return to even close to 100%? How does coach Mike D’Antoni fit for the future? What can you really get for Gasol at this stage of his career? Good luck Mitch…I’m glad I don’t have to make those decisions (although money talks for me too!) 🙂
What I do know for sure is that the Lakers must get younger, more athletic and quicker. And for the umpteenth time…it was NOT about their offense as they scored enough points to consistently win. It’s their transition defense which is THE worst I’ve seen since the days of Rudy LaRusso and Darryl Imhoff (I’m sure I just lost most of you with that reference-LOL) and they simply ‘CAN’T STOP ANYBODY’ who are quicker than an injured rehab league team. And stop blaming that all on D’Antoni as they were the same pathetic defense under ‘defensive specialist’ Mike Brown. So Mr. Howard, your ‘Bad Dream’ is over…or is this just the start of a long Lakers ‘Dwight-mare’ in the new Jim Buss era???