So the Lakers’ new season began (for what, the third or fourth time since October?) with two wins, and all Lakersdom is awash in glee. Enjoy it while you can.
Onlookers say they see a new attitude, and granted the win Sunday against Oklahoma City was a major achievement, but two games does not a new beginning make, regardless of Kobe Bryant becoming an enabler rather than the gunner we’ve know and loved for lo these 17 years. Is it Kobe’s doing or has Mike D’Antoni seen the big picture and modified his game plan of lie and adjusted to fit the talent, though making Kobe into a Ron Harper may or may not really be maximizing his talent to the utmost.
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|I see the current new beginning as one good home win, and no more, yet. The first win in the “streak” as against Utah, who followed that up by losing by 45 to Houston. The streak will likely be extended to three after tonight’s game against New Orleans, but the testing will get a bit tougher as the team takes to the road for the seven game, so-called “grammy tour”. However, they aren’t exactly embarking on a whirlwind tour of basketball excellence, traveling to such outposts as Phoenix, Minnesota sans Love, Detroit, the now reeling home of the Celtics, Charlotte, with only stopovers in Brooklyn and then Miami as real tests. Five and two will be applauded by the faithful as real progress, losing in any of the other|
cities will be seen as as same old 2012-2013 Lakers, and in reality only a win or two in Brooklyn and/or Miami will mean anything one way or another.
I expect them to go 3-4 or at best 4-3 on the trip, and return home the same old team we’ve seen most of the season.
The Clippers fell from their pedestal with four straight losses before rebounding against Portland, but their futility was in having to play on with out the injured Chris Paul. Paul missed three games that the team managed to win (two of them being against Washington and Minnesota sans Love helped in that effort) then Paul came back for two, playing well in a win and then awful and obviously hurting in a loss to Golden State, and has now missed the last four again.
They are still five games in front in the Pacific Division and 13 ahead of the Lakers as they embark on their own “grammy tour” of eight road games starting tomorrow. Paul is “day-to-day” but with no indication when THE day will be. Regardless, the Clippers should still go 6-2 (at worst 5-3) on the long road trip, and giving Paul time to recover rather than rushing him back should be their first priority.