For the first time ever the city of Los Angeles is bearing witness to the Lakers, Kings and Clippers all in the playoffs at the same time. Of those three only the Kings look likely to have a chance at earning a parade through Downtown L.A. but that is another topic.
The topic at hand to today is the scheduling logjam that has been created by having three playoff teams in the same arena at the same time. In theory it is a great use of space to have one central location for almost all of L.A.’s major professional sports. Certainly AEG’s profit margin has benefited from holding a monopoly on housing Los Angeles sports.
However for the Lakers and Clippers the playoff boon has only furthered their exasperation.
Both L.A. hoops teams will be playing unheard of back-to-back playoff games in the coming days. As if the NBA’s lockout schedule has suddenly stretched to the postseason the typical day between playoff games has evaporated with both the Lakers and Clippers slated to hold a home stand unlike any we’ve ever seen.
For the Lakers the situation could be a blessing in disguise in many ways.
Perhaps their unearthing of a way to slow Oklahoma City’s roll in Game 2 will translate to Games 3 and 4 where a breathless back-to-back could provide for an advantage. The hope is that the Lakers will play with a Game 7 intensity on Friday, taking a W then quickly following that up with another assault on Saturday. OKC won’t have enough time to make on-the-fly adjustments and we’ll all be renewed heading back to Chesapeake Arena with a best of three series on deck.
On the other hand, it could also work against the Lake Show as a younger and hungrier Thunder squad won’t need as much rest as their older opponent. Until Game 2 the Thunder had run circles around the Lakers all year long. If they can get back on track by playing that trademark up-tempo style then the Lakers’ fate will be sealed.
There’s just no way the Lake Show can compete with the Thunder when they’re in a groove. If OKC gets it going in Game 4 then odds are the momentum will carry over to the next night. In that case the compressed schedule does benefit the Lakers in one way – the series will be over much sooner than later. No prolonged misery. No drawn out series.
So what’s great for us L.A. sports fans might not be what is ultimately best for our sources of entertainment. At least not in the practical sense. But it is what it is and all the Lakers can do is play out the schedule the way it’s been constructed.