30 points is a lot to lose a game by, especially when it’s the first game back for several injured players. It’s not a good way to start a West Coast road trip. It’s a really bad way to extend a league-high 9 game losing streak.
It is not, however, a referendum on the franchise, any individual therein or even the chances of either team involved having a “successful” season. I’ve seen headlines and blurbs on the ticker on ESPN about “Lakers back in championship form?” or “Bobcats, pathetic in losing 14 of 15 games.” Stuff like that, but I don’t see that game as any of that.
Sure the Lakers are, seemingly, a complete team starting to figure out their new coach’s system but they’ve got some issues as well. Kobe is aging, and while he’s held up better than anyone else I can think of given his injuries, he can hardly be counted on to carry that team into a deep run in the playoffs. They’re going to have the Chris Paul botched trade hang over their heads, likely until Dwight Howard is traded. That will hang over them as well, with Andrew Bynum’s name being floated, and obviously, he’s good enough to work over a team like the Bobcats whenever and however he wants, so what difference is it bringing in Dwight Howard?
The Lakers are on the way up. There is no question about that. They’ve strung together some nice victories and gotten their scoring average way up. They are not, however, better than the Clippers, Denver or Oklahoma City.
Now, the Bobcats, they’ve proven, again and again that they have issues. It’s not only that they can’t put together enough of an effort to pull out a win, they’re starting to not even compete. It’s not even just bad third quarters. Last night, as anyone who watched Sportscenter knows, Kobe Bryant alone outscored the Bobcats in the first quarter. Whoopie.
It doesn’t, to me, mean that the Bobcats are a lost cause. This season, is a complete, lost cause. Depending on your expectations, there is nothing redemptive about this season. Last night’s loss, while bad, was not a reason to call for firing the coach. I don’t think it means any or none of the players on the roster are going to contribute to success. Never forget, the motto for the team this season, from the team, even before the draft was “Own Tomorrow.”
It’s a big problem, but not insurmountable. I’m almost convinced this season was a sacrifice to cap space and more draft lottery balls. That doesn’t excuse poor play, to the every day fan. No, to the casual fan, “Own Tomorrow” is a sad joke. No one has felt any sort of success in the past and so for many, hope is dwindling. But for me, losses like last night are more about Gerald Henderson working on defense against the best player of the last 15 years and leading the team (no matter how low) in scoring. Kemba Walker is still trying to figure out how to be a point guard in the NBA. There still isn’t a center. But there’s hope.
There’s hope. There certainly is hope. You know, there’s probably hope. “There’s hope,” muttered the delusional blogger to himself. There’s hope.