The NBA playoffs are like marriage. Every single strength, weakness, character trait and flaw is exposed for the entire world to see. Just like marriage, through the ups and downs great things can occur. The last two title runs the Lakers made were anything but smooth but in the end a cohesive unit bonded and magic was made.
On the flip side, when a union is based on selfish desires and unspoken truths the ending turns uglier than Tyrone Hill after a week-long bender.
Consider the 2011-12 Los Angeles Lakers the latter in this marital analogy.
From the jump this group has been a collection of individuals that occasionally sits down at the dining table, face to face, willing to work through their issues or simply enjoy each other’s company. For the most part they’re a collection of talent that would appear more consumed with their own private agenda than the greater good of the union.
Like many a bad marriage once an outsider is introduced into the equation bad results occur which most often ends in divorce. Let’s just call the Denver Nuggets L.A.’s mistress. She’s young, energetic and also destructive.
Through the actions of the Nuggets, who are just being themselves, they’ve exposed the fraudulent nature of the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant’s brilliance is inspiring to fans only. No matter his dedication to this commitment he’s alone in trying to do what is best for the group. Then again, if he were truly dedicated he’d do more than let his actions speak. He’d take the time to open up and talk it out. Leadership is not all do-as-I-do after all.
Of course even if Bryant were to light that fire under his men it still takes a desire to want to do what is best to save this marriage.
Pau Gasol, your effort says it all. Gasol might want to make things work but based on his actions in two close-out games he’s pretty much saying “why try if I know how this will end?”.
Two years in a row now we’ve seen Gasol become an absolute non-factor when his team has needed him most. Whatever this year’s excuse is (last time around it was a supposed broken heart) is hardly relevant. Before the season started the Lakers were ready to part with the Spaniard. I’m guessing that hasn’t changed one bit.
Then there is the biggest mystery of all…Andrew Bynum.
We’re all waiting for the light to go on and the maturity to kick in. Glad we didn’t hold our breath on that one.
Bynum is hardly a leader yet his nonchalant approach has somehow set the tone for the entire team. Close-out games are kinda easy? Not exactly. More like closing-out your own season is all too simple.
Bynum’s talent is real. But as the world learned from watching LeBron James shrink in the spotlight last season, the mental approach is even more important on the game’s biggest stage. Bynum might get it one day but that will be long after he’s alone in a one bedroom apartment on the outskirts of town after receiving his divorce papers in the mail.
This team is headed for an ugly breakup no matter what happens Saturday. Magic Johnson was calling for the wrecking ball after last year’s playoff exit. Right about now the best option might be to bring in explosives. Whatever happened to sour the once golden marriage of the Lakers is finally being exposed by the Denver Nuggets.
Like the rest of you I’ll be watching Saturday. From here out each game is the last we’ll see of this currently dysfunctional relationship.