With every game taht passes in this series, I am reminded more and more of the Lakers Western Conference Semifinals series against the Houston Rockets two years ago. They were a team the Lakers took extremely lightly - who played excellent team defense and lost their best big man to injury. They had great penetrating guards and somehow confounded LA's bigs with undersized, yet dense forwards like Chuck Hayes and Luis Scola. The Lakers played lethargically and without passion and got pushed to the brink by a team many people expected to be swept. This seems to be the same situation.
Except in this situation, we are replacing Aaron Brooks with Chris Paul. This is my nightmare.
I want to be clear - the Lakers didn't play awful. But no one Laker played great. Lamar and Kobe had terrible nights, Andrew seemed non-existent at times and Pau went in and out of being effective. The Lakers missed BIG shots and made some bonehead plays in the last few minutes, including a Pau turnover on a perfect Kobe pass - which led to Kobe giving a dirty look the likes of which I have not seen in YEARS. It was something like this. Not good. It was the type of scowl normally reserved for when you show up to your girlfriend's apartment shitfaced at 1 am on a Saturday night after you've been partying in Murray Hill with a bunch of your Freshman year roommates, with only one shoe on and a little bit of ketchup in your armpit from the hot dog you just bought from a street corner vendor. I'm not speaking from experience, just theoretically speaking, of course.
The Lakers' defense was passable enough, but the Show just couldn't put up enough points on the board, and in a timely manner at that, to keep up with Trevor Ariza's great first half and Chris Paul's monster night(On an aside, I think after a full season of people calling Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose and Deron Williams the "best point guard in the game" for different stretches of time, CP3 got really fed up and decided that it would be a great time to singlehandedly give the Lakers all they can handle on national television. Thanks everyone).
As a Laker fan, I am still not worried - we've sadly done this before and are much much much more talented than this team. We can play pretty poorly, and with one less mistake, we would have won the game. I am kind of discouraged that I have to watch yet another game with the Hornets. Aaron Gray, Willie Green and Jason Smith aren't exactly the most electrifying players in the league.
Lakers in 6. Please let me be right this time boys.