Metta World Peace might not be Ron Artest any longer but he certainly still has some Artestian tendencies. That elbow he dropped on James Harden was very Artest-like. So too was the lockdown defense he played in his celebrated return from suspension against the Denver Nuggets
With the Lakers again starting the offseason earlier than anticipated the long drama-filled summer is already underway. Making news in Lakerland today was the former Artest claiming his team “underachieved” and were better than the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“We were the best team in the NBA and lost in five. The best team in the NBA should be up 3-2 and playing tomorrow, but the Thunder was better team that took advantage of the moment, that took advantage of their time, they seized, they grabbed it and they held on to it.”
Anyone still trying to argue that the Lakers were closer to beating the Thunder than the five games indicated is fooling themselves. It’s not close if it’s over in five.
The major flaw in Metta’s argument is that he forgets the Nuggets were the better team during their seven game swing with the Lake Show.
Take away Game 1 in the Denver series and the Nuggets controlled most every other game in the series but lost by coming up short in the clutch moments. Sound familiar? Kinda reminds me of how that supposedly close series was with the Thunder.
To the credit of Mike Brown, his staff and his players the Lakers made some impressive adjustments after being run off the court in Game 1 of the Western Semis. While every other game except for the finale was a close contest it by no means indicates the Lakers were anywhere close to being better than OKC.
The better team will always win in a seven game series. This isn’t the NFL and it’s not the NCAA b-ball tourney. Those are one and done tournaments. Not the case in the NBA where the best team must prove themselves every night for two months of the postseason in order to win a title. We’re going on two years running that the Lakers have been put out in the second round after narrowly surviving the first.
That Denver even pushed L.A. to a deciding game pretty much indicates they were the better squad by World Peace logic.
While I appreciate Metta’s positive outlook it fails to acknowledge what the hoops world has known all season long. These Lakers never had the hunger to win a championship. In some instances they were capable of beating any team on the planet. In others they were losing to teams that had no business being on the same court with them. That inconsistent play ultimately doomed the Lakers. You can’t throw away games in the playoffs and the Lakers have made a habit of doing just that even in their championship seasons.
In years past their margin for error was pretty wide. This season even Kobe acknowledged that same margin was extremely narrow. In other words the Lakers aren’t good enough to beat teams with their C+ game. And in the case of the Oklahoma City Thunder not even their A game was good enough. The Lake Show gave OKC their best shot and the Thunder kept coming back for more. The better team won. Let’s just leave it at that. This isn’t the BCS. Style points mean nothing when compared to the scoreboard.