The Changing Of Guard


Laker games against the Clippers have always been competitive.  It doesn’t matter what the standings are in the Pacific Division.  This is a street fight for home turf. Right now, the score is 81 to 43 in the Clippers’ favor, so we all know the result.

This is a statement game for the Clippers.  At the opposite end of the floor is the former Boston championship foe, Doc Rivers.  He added a familiar face with Glen Davis.  Opposite of Jordan Farmar is his foe at UCLA, Darren Collison.  Since the 2nd quarter, the Clippers have been running the Mike D’Antoni offense better than the Lakers.  They’re passing the ball for open shots.  They’re taking shots in mid-transition.  The front-line is flying down for dunks.  Chris Paul is taking control of the offense, running the pick and roll, and leaving the Lakers bewildered and lost on defense.

What are the Lakers doing?  Right now in the 3rd quarter, you can see the long faces, the lost of heart, the unwillingness to compete.  This used to be the reputation of the Clippers for decades.  These emotions are now wearing a Laker mask.  The Clippers are blowing out the Lakers, and rightfully so.  There is no love lost between both teams on the floor.  The Clippers are the hungry team with the talent to turn the tables within Staples Center.

The score is now 90-48, and we’re not even halfway through the 3rd quarter.  What does Mike D’Antoni say?  Small ball is the way?  Gasol is right?  The Laker team had shown glimpses of what they wanted to do, but in the end, the system doesn’t beat the talent on the floor.  The Lakers have given up over 65 points at halftime the past four games.  The Lakers won two of them, but does it really make sense that such a talent depleted team tries to “out-offense” the opponent?  There are no current All-Stars on the team, just players trying to find their niche and make their way into the league.

Since the 1960’s, the Lakers have always been a team of heart and talent.  It didn’t matter how big the foe was.  They would compete.  Jerry West would win the Finals MVP even if the Boston Celtics won the championship. It may have taken over a decade, but the championship run in 1972 was record-breaking and oh, so sweet. The 1980’s was karma-like revenge to find balance to the basketball universe.  The franchise is built on family, heart, work, and championship glory.

Only outside forces could break that from this franchise.  It didn’t take a series of moves to get to this point.  It’s no one’s fault for all of the injuries, heartache, and pain. Fortunately, the beginning of the avalanche is no longer in the league.  He couldn’t separate the interests of the teams or the league.  He chose what he thought was best for the league; to let smaller teams compete and the hero teams bleed.

Thank you David Stern.  Chris Paul is wearing blue and red.  Pau Gasol is stuck with the frustration of trade rumors after already being traded once.  Laker fans are left to suffer a punishment that is of no fault of the franchise; just yours.

Good thing the Laker team is still ran by men who know what championship glory looks like, against all odds.