The Los Angeles Lakers are no longer breathing.
The team, this drama-ridden, stressful, roller-coaster-as-hell season, the pain, the angst, and the euphoria. It’s done. Finally.
I can’t say I’m happy to see these Lakers eliminated, and I cried after we lost Game 4 in Los Angeles. I can’t say there was nothing we could have done to beat OKC, because this team was a few solid offensive possessions away from leading the series 3-2 up to this point.
I am going to say, though, that this elimination was expected.
Because Oklahoma City is too damn good. Too young, too deep, too fast, too disciplined. Two years ago, we had talked about OKC being a contender for years to come after we had knocked them out in six games in the first round en route to our 2010 NBA championship.
Now, we bow to this team for kicking our asses, thoroughly.
I won’t give you a recap of this game for many reasons. For one, we’re done, so there’s no point in breaking the game down for the next. Second, TNT OT sucks, and it doesn’t let me see anything while I’m at the library, so excuse the hell out of me, STOP PRESSURING ME, JERK.
Enough of the nonsense, though. Because, as pissed off as Laker fans are right now, this team was ballsy. We expected them to lose and not one pundit that knew their basketball — sorry, Inside the NBA on TNT — picked the Lakers to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder.
So now we have to discuss the implications of the way we lost this series on the offseason to come. And, man oh man, is this going to be a hell of an offseason.
Laker fans — impatient bastards we are — are already calling for Mike Brown’s head. #FireMikeBrown was trending on Twitter after the Lakers’ Game 4 loss, and we’re sure that’s not the last we’ll hear of that.
Pau Gasol? He’s done, and we’re not sure how that’ll happen, be it amnesty to clear cap space, or through trades. Kobe Bryant will likely not be amnestied, but the fact that those two are put together in the same sentence, with growing acceptance mind you, should be pretty damn significant. Metta World Peace’s future with the Lakers is uncertain, as is the case with all role players.
We won’t get into that, and instead, we’ll break that down bit by bit as these playoffs roll on.
In the meantime? I’ll personally be rooting for the OKC Thunder to get to the NBA Finals. It’d be nice to know that the path to an NBA title still goes directly through us (considering that the past four seasons’ NBA champs have either been us, or a team that’s beaten us in the playoffs). A small consolation prize, I know, but it’s still a nice thought.
Give it up for this Laker team, though. On numerous occasions, we expected this series to get ugly in the worst possible ways, as it pertains to Los Angeles. After a Game 1 blowout, the possibility of an implosion became imminent. After going down 3-1, Los Angeles fought nicely for three quarters in Game 5 before OKC went machinal on us and ravaged us every which way.
This team, frustratingly talented and heart-breaking as they are, earns our respect. We’re not Phoenix Suns fans, but all things considered, this season shouldn’t be considered a failure.
(We’ll have our season review up on LSL soon, so you can see why; so much planned since we’ve got nothing to do in the month of June now.)
Enjoy the rest of these playoffs, because it’s going to be fun, just not as fun with LA gone.
This has been your 2011-12 Los Angeles Lakers coverage at LSL.