First, the good news: The longest road trip of the year is over.
Now, for the bad news: A trip that began with 4 promising wins ended with 3 embarrassing losses the last of which was the worst of all.
Before ripping the Lake Show let’s give Byron Scott and his Cavs some props. After being brutalized by 55-points in Los Angeles, Cleveland was out to prove a point at home. Mission accomplished as the Cavs cruised past the Lakers in an all too easy 104-99 victory. Sure, the score might make it look like this was a close call but that’s only because the Lakers didn’t play with any urgency until it was far too late.
Respect due to the Cavs but the Lakers played a huge hand in gifting a W to Cleveland. Absolutely nothing went right. The Lake Show was out-hustled in yet another listless performance. Once again turnovers were key as Phil Jackson’s squad coughed up the rock a mind-numbing 19 times. On offense the rhythm is completely gone and on defense the communication has disappeared.
Pau Gasol was the only man in purple that earned his game check. Though it should be noted the Spaniard did most of his damage in the first half posting 20 and 11 of his 30 and 20 for the game.
Kobe Bryant’s shooting woes continued (8 of 24). Lamar Odom was a non-factor (6 points, 6 dimes, 1 board). Andrew Bynum couldn’t buy a bucket (2 of 12) missing shot after shot within 10 feet of the hoop. And Ron Artest…well…you already know not to expect much out of him this year.
After going down by 10 in the first quarter it looked like the Lakers had got the wakeup call they needed. Before you knew it they turned the game on its head and took a three point lead late in the second. But that would be the last Laker lead of the night. From there out it was all Cleveland.
Look, this is the NBA. Even though Cleveland recently set the record for futility doesn’t mean they’re going to roll over. After their first encounter the Lakers must have thought this was going to be another cake walk. Too bad for them they were fresh out of cake at Quicken Loans arena. The only item on the menu tonight was humble pie.
This is about the worst way possible for the Lakers to go to the All-Star break. From the heights of winning in Boston to the depths of losing in Cleveland, this was a memorable trip in everyway possible.
Now begins the homestretch. Without any chance of catching the Spurs, this team has its sights set on the second seed in the West. Not exactly a lofty goal but that is the position this team has put itself in.