Some of you all have not watched a mid-season “LeBron” team before and it shows.
It has been utter chaos in Laker Land these past few weeks with the trade deadline looming. Magic Johnson and the front office made it known they were pursuing New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis. Those negotiations could not have gone much worse.
To put things into perspective, it was similar to a guy asking a girl to the high school prom. The girl was really into him, but her dad (Dell Demps) would not allow her to go with this guy because he had been flirting with her way too much during school. So much that it got them sent to the principal’s office, leading to a hefty $50,000 fine.
The way all of the information about these “trade negotiations” were being leaked, it does seem the Pelicans had no intention of trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers. Their main intention was to sabotage the Lakers locker room chemistry revenging the LeBron/Davis/Rich Paul tampering allegations. Brilliant, well executed trolling by Dell Demps.
His trolling definitely worked on the Lakers. The first game after the LA pulled out of trade talks, they proceeded to get blown out by 42 points to the Indiana Pacers, which was the biggest loss of LeBron James’ career. It even led to LeBron sitting on the end of the bench away from his teammates by himself. In case you’re curious how that even happened, here’s a video breakdown:
Those trades, as expected, were not enough to calm down Laker nation. Neither one of those guys are big household names like Anthony Davis, or even Bradley Beal. Bullock and Muscala have one key thing in common: they are shooters. Players LeBron desperately needs to help space the floor.
The only thing that could calm down Laker nation was an upset win over the Boston Celtics in the TD Garden. Only the most optimistic Laker fans were expecting that to happen. LA was 2-6 in their last eight games, and 7-13 since Christmas Day. Meanwhile they were facing a surging Celtics team that had won 10 of their past 11 games.
As we all saw on Thursday night, the optimistic Laker fans would have been right. In the first half, the Celtics led by as many as 18 points. But then Los Angeles caught fire from three-point land, finishing the game with a total of 22 threes which fueled the comeback. That’s pretty good for a team that “can’t shoot.” And hey….as we said before guess what they got at the trade deadline? More shooters.
In case you live under a rock and have not seen it, here are the closing seconds of Lakers/Celtics:
This could potentially be a season-changing win for the Lakers. Once the game ended my mind went straight to last year’s Minnesota vs Cleveland match-up before the trade deadline. Going into that game LeBron’s Cavs were in the middle of a 6-13 stretch including back to back blowout losses to the Rockets and Magic by 32 and 18 respectively. Then this happened…
After that shot, the Cavs started to turn things around and won five out of their next seven games. It was a season-changing win. Could Rajon Rondo’s buzzer beater have the same effect on the Lakers?
If the past has taught us anything about LeBron-led teams. It will. In LeBron’s first season back in Cleveland, the situation was much worse than the current Lakers drama. During
Will this year’s Lakers rattle off a 12-game win streak of their own? Probably not, but they don’t need to. After the win over the Celtics, and thanks to a Clippers loss that same night, the Lakers sit 1.5 games out of the 8 seed.
Here is the pig picture for the Lakers: At this point it doesn’t matter what seed they are. They just need to be on the opposite side of the bracket as the Warriors. Golden State currently holds the 1 seed, so in order to avoid them LA needs the 7th seed, which they are 3 games behind the Spurs for. If LeBron stays healthy that goal is very attainable.
What’s my overall point here? R-E-L-A-X Lakers fans. Everything is going to be ok. The current drama surrounding Laker Land is NORMAL for LeBron-led teams. He’s been through this more than once. It has been magnified this year because it’s now taking place in Los Angeles instead of Cleveland.
This Lakers team is better than last year’s Cavalier squad that made the NBA Finals. One glaring stat proves my point:
During LeBron’s seventeen game absence, the Lakers went 6-11. Considering expectations, they held their own. They upset OKC on the road, and were on the verge of beating the Rockets if it wasn’t for a vintage James Harden performance in the 4th quarter.
How did the Cavs fare without LeBron? Over 4 years, the team was 4-23 without James in the lineup. One thing to keep in mind is that LeBron played all 82 games last season, the record likely would’ve been worse had he missed time. So in conclusion, the Lakers won more games this year without LeBron than the Cavs did in 4 years.
I’m going to say something and I encourage you to screenshot and revisit this article when it’s playoff time. The Los Angeles Lakers will be the 7th seed in the West, and upset the 2nd seeded Denver Nuggets in the first round. We will look back at this drama in February and just laugh to ourselves.
Mid-season LeBron and playoff LeBron are two different human beings. Some of you haven’t followed a midseason LeBron James team before, and it shows. Laker Land drama isn’t surprising. Get ready for some crazy playoffs.