Yes. The title of this post is not a mistake. Hard to believe that the Lakers and T-Wolves are tangling with something more at stake than seeing how much worse Kurt Rambis’ team can play.
The Wolves have come a long way in a short time since firing Rambis. A franchise that was looking like the reincarnation of the Clippers is suddenly on their way up…like the Clippers.
Coming into tonight’s game in Los Angeles, Minnesota is just three games back in the loss column behind the Lakers. Combine that with the Wolves win in Staples against the Clippers last night and you’ve got yourself a squad poised to push for the playoffs.
Thanks to Kevin Love’s continued emergence as an elite level player and Ricky Rubio’s exciting style of play, Minnesota is all of a sudden becoming must-see-TV.
Meanwhile the Lake Show is mired in a ratings slump. Showtime basketball this ain’t, not under Mike Brown. Before his tenure began in the post-PJ era, Brown had a reputation for being a defensive genius but an offensive bore. Both have proven more than accurate.
L.A.’s defense is better than it’s been in recent years. Some of that can be attributed to some sloppy play brought on by the lockout. However the heavy emphasis Brown puts on playing D cannot be ignored.
What else cannot be ignored is L.A.’s standing in the Western Conference. Currently the T-Wolves are on the outside looking in while the Lakers are stuck in the middle of a playoff scuffle. Another lackluster Lakers showing could give Minnesota momentum while pushing Los Angeles into a downward spiral. That might seem like a lot of doom and gloom but the reality is the Lakers could be without Kobe Bryant as he’s dealing with concussion.
Without Bryant the L.A. offense will go from ugly to Grace Jones nude.
The season is far from over and one game can’t determine everything. That being said tonight’s contest could very well be the beginning of the end for the 2011-12 Lakers.