Thanks a lot, Sports Illustrated. “Now this is going to be fun,” the front cover of SI’s NBA preview edition blared. New Los Angeles Lakers Dwight Howard and Steve Nash were on the cover. This past season, for we Lakerd fans, wasn’t much fun at all. It wasn’t fun seeing Nash constantly injured and out of action. It wasn’t fun watching Howard’s up-and-down season.
Howard’s forgettable first year as a Laker ended with an early ejection as the injury-decimated Lakers were in their last game of being swept by the San Antonio Spurs. Professional competitiveness and ethics kept the Lakers from saying, “Congratulations, San Antiono, you’re on to round two. We will get to work on next year,” and conceding the series before it began.
But for all the resistance they were able to give the Spurs, they may as well have. “A shell of themselves,” would have been a generous description for the Lakers by the time the Spurs sweep was over.
The Lakers seemed to finally get it under first-year coach Mike D’Antoni when they made a late push to get to the playoffs. Really, though, all post-season hope was gone when Kobe Bryant went down and out for the year near the end of the regular season. Reserve Steve Blake was one Laker who was actually shooting well - then HE went out with an injury.
With Nash sidelined and Metta World Peace out as well, the results were predictable. Game three culminated in the worst home playoff loss in Lakers history. Game four wasn’t much better. Will next year be more fun? It should be, once the Lakers’ walking wounded can actually play. However, as Kobe said himself during the regular season, the Lakers are an old team.
The Spurs are an old team too, but the players mesh so well in Gregg Popovich’s system that they make things work. The aging Lakers’ situation is different. I don’t know what their front office can do to fix that.
Singin’ the L.A. Blues: In retrospect, the Los Angeles Clippers’ season was at least as disappointing as the Lakers’. A first-round playoff exit against the Memphis Grizzlies probably wasn’t what most expected after the Clips’ white-hot start.
But that’s what happened. The Dodgers are under .500. The Angels (OK they play in Anaheim, but they are the Los Angles Angels) look awful. The Kings were down 2-0 going into game three of their playoff series against the St. Luis Blues Saturday night. By far, the best thing about Los Angeles professional sports this year has been Vin Scully’s broadcasting.
This rule needs to go: I really wish rule-makers would kill the one-false-start-and-you’re-out rule in high school track and field. The rule is particularly harsh when it comes to high schoolers. One false start shouldn’t wipe out a season’s worth of work, but that’s what happens under the current system. The one false start charged to the field, next false start somenone’s out system is much better.