NBA 2011 Playoffs: Game 5 Lakers-Hornets: Now It’s Time to Panic

During the regular season, a friend of mine asked why we all bothered to put so much time into following each Lakers basketball game—it's a long season. His theory was, just turn on the last two minutes of every match.  You’ll see the outcome. 

And while that’s true, that doesn’t really tell you the whole story.  Anybody can flip to the last page of a book to see the ending.  But when you do that, you miss the journey. 

The Lakers inexplicable lack of focus in Game 1 becomes easier to understand when you remember the losing spell before the All-Star break. 

Kobe’s frustration with Pau is magnified by your knowing that Kobe has been frustrated with Pau for a couple of months (see the comments from the previous article: Pau, I need more Black Swan than White Swan.)

It really takes on context when you can remember back to the summer of ’07, when Kobe publicly lost it over the Lakers management’s inability to get him some quality help.  Go back and look at those rosters yourself.  You’ll see. 

I don’t ever think it was personal, but more like Kobe trying to communicate, “If you really mean it when you say you are committed to winning, Lakers, then prove it.  I’m in the prime of my career, but I cannot play all five positions at once.  We need to upgrade.”, with the veiled (and sometimes not so veiled) threat that he’d consider leaving. 

Probably not the best execution of the “Upgrade or Else” strategy, but the message got through.  Well, the players are there now.  The proof of the quality upgrade is appearances in the last three finals and winning the last two. 

I’m not sure I like the journey of these playoffs so far.  Here’s a recap of what is wrong right now.  I’ve gone into each in depth in prev...

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