2011 NBA Playoffs: Lakers vs. Hornets, Tied at 1-1, Don’t Panic Yet Laker Fans

So, when last we met, I was waxing poetic about the great civic spirit in town when the Lakers start an NBA Playoff run, but I forgot one little thing: The undercurrent of anxiety that simultaneously wafts in the air.  

The sneaking thought: ”What if they don’t three-peat?  What if they (gasp!) don’t even reach the finals?”  

There are one of two reactions to that.  First, a whistling-past-the-graveyard false bravado.  “Of course we’ll win.  Who can beat us?”  (Well, the Hornets apparently.)  “The Lakers can flip the switch any time.  They are the best in the NBA.” 

Or, the other reaction is stomach-churning panic as you watch the opportunity slowly slip away.  And games like the ennui-filled effort that the Lakers gave in the opener just add to that.  You deserved to be booed by the Staples crowd, Lakers.  Chris Paul and his boys showed you what playoff intensity and heart are all about.  My hat is off to them.  They seized the moment.  

Lakers, knock it off with this entitled complacency.  (Not you Mamba—you always bring it.  It’s one of your greatest qualities—110 percent competitive intensity.)  But everyone else, you will rue the day that you do not leave everything on the floor every game. 

Championship windows close fast. 

You’re one injury or trade away from languishing in some backwater instead of playing in the bright lights of Los Angeles.  Look in the mirror and realize how lucky you are to even be here.  How many other players are there who would play for free just for the opportunity to wear the purple and gold? 

Worst of all, when you half-ass it like that, you are being contemptuous of the very people who justify your existence: the fans.  It’s not...

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