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Our Greatest Fears Lie In Anticipation

By Jeff Koch on March 6, 2011.

Los Angeles Lakers 99, San Antonio 83  //  51-12  //  1st in the West

Worst. First. Quarter. Ever.

Remember all that stuff I said about first quarter play in the Heat recap? Re-read all of that, then just reverse it.

In 12 minutes the Los Angeles Lakers came out and put a smackdown on the Spurs that not only effectively ended the game, but also sent reverberations throughout the rest of the NBA. “Remember us? The two-time defending champs? Yeah, we’re still pretty good.”

The Lakers clearly viewed this as an important game and played with energy, intensity, intelligence, and just about every other positive superlative you can put out there. In the first three possessions I was reminded why this team is so scary to face in the playoffs: length, length, and length.

It didn’t even matter that the Lakers were shooting phenomenally because they gobbled up every missed shot on the offensive glass. We were almost helpless to get a single defensive rebound, negating the not-horrible defense that we were playing (we did force a lot of long 2-point jump shots which they just happened to be making at an impressive clip). Andrew Bynum was a one-man wrecking crew on both ends of the floor, swatting away shots on one end, then extending possessions on the other. If he remains healthy…ah, hell, the loss was bad enough, no point in compounding the pain. At least for one day. (And let’s definitely not think at all about how well Kobe played and how he controlled the tempo and flow of the entire game. Nope. Not a single thought about it.)

Throw in some uncharacteristic poor shooting from our end, and the rout was on. Like I’ve said many times, games aren’t played in vacuums, and this game clearly meant more to the Lakers than to us. But probably not a 30+ point deficit difference. There’s obviously a lot to worry about from this game, but I would caution not to get too worked up about it. Ultimately, it’s just one game and one loss to a very good team that we’ve already beaten twice this year. And while it’s true that the likelihood of these two teams squaring off for the Western Conference Crown in May is very high, there’s still a lot of basketball and plenty of other things to concern ourselves with until then.

So breathe, relax, and enjoy the rest of your Sunday. And if that doesn’t work, just remember the smackdown we put on the Heat on Friday. Boy, did that feel good.

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