“Energy…Officiating…Steve Blake…”

Editor’s note: If for some reason the post isn’t properly spaced, I apologize. I tried many times, even triple spacing, and it didn’t change. I apologize.

I received an e-mail that I didn’t see in time to make my Cinco de Mayo Mailbag. Once I read it, I knew that I had to respond. I purposely avoid writing posts about the Los Angeles Lakers after they lose. I’m a fan of the team, so when they lose, I’m a whirlwind of emotions that I don’t want to put into words because it might not be what I truly believe, but instead what I am feeling at the time. Like they say, cooler heads prevail. But this e-mail raises some important questions and leaves some holes that allow for creative inclusion for the respondent. That’s me.

Energy…Officiating…Steve Blake…..
I’m honestly having trouble forming words.
………………What the eff?
-Every Laker Fan

AB: Thanks for bringing this to my attention. It’s not like the lack of energy, mediocre officiating, and dismal play of Steve Blake have escaped my awareness. The energy of the Lakers is disgusting. From a fan’s perspective, it’s hard to rally behind this team right now. They haven’t pulled out all the stops, played the same style of winning basketball fans are accustomed to, and have been out-and-out disappointing to watch/represent. Watching them lose to an inferior team sparks thoughts of insanity. It makes me wonder how thin the line between bandwagon fans and standard fans is. It’s harder than you think to differentiate. Seriously.
Bandwagon fans are fans when the team is losing. They’re not typically around during the regular season, waiting instead for the playoffs to wave their teams’ flags. They don’t support the team or watch the games when the team is undergoing losing seasons. Instead, they wait until the team gets competitive again, and then they chime in.
Standard fans are fans whether the team is losing or winning. That is the one thing that separates them. However, they too are fickle. When the team is winning, everything is great. When the team is losing, they’re quick to point the finger and call for someone to be traded (it happened to Andrew Bynum like a million times). And they’re the same group that is asking for the head of Pau Gasol right now (Wait, is that me?!). The only true difference between the two is that they keep watching. It gets increasingly harder to watch your team lose when you know they are good, like the current Lakers, but real fans do it because they are there through the good and the bad. You can’t just love your girlfriend or boyfriend for their good qualities. You are there when they’re engulfed by their bad ones, too. If you’re not, then you have no business with them. The same is true for fans. If you’re not going to be there when they lose, then you’re not a true fan, or standard fan. You’re a bandwagon fan.
Don’t be that guy.
The biggest problem of the 3 mentioned by my reader is energy. They’re trying, sure, but they’re not doing everything possible to win. J.A. Adande thinks that it boils down to fatigue, and that the Lakers are fried. I’m caught somewhere in between the sentiments of Kobe Bryant, who warns Adande to “Be careful what you write,” and Adande, who posits that the L.A. is done. There is no reason to disagree with the latter, statistically speaking.
In their current 3-year Finals run, the Lakers have gone down 0-2 all of once. In the 2007-2008 NBA Finals, they lost the first two games to Boston. Those games were in Boston. As most of you know, that was the only series they actually lost. Since then, the Lakers have been fortunate enough to have homecourt advantage against every opponent, and it has served them well.
Their toughest series was last season’s NBA Finals against Boston. They split the first two home games, despite an extraordinary performance by Bynum, and then won 3 of the next 5 to secure their back-to-back championship.
This year, the Laker bench was supposed to be better than ever. I admit that I was excited about the additions of Steve Blake and Matt Barnes. What Laker fan wouldn’t be? Blake used to torch the Lakers, and in his last game as a Clipper, had a triple double in a win against L.A. And this year, his best game was his first. Who could predict that the three-pointers that he hit against Houston in game 1 of the season were not a foreshadowing of things to come, but instead an aberration?

I defend you from my girlfriend, and THIS is how you repay me? How dare you.

Instead, the Laker bench is awful. Shannon Brown deserves a lot of the blame, since he jacks up shots with the mentality that he comes in for Kobe so he can shoot as much as Kobe. Blake deserves a lot of blame for the game 2 loss. Before his dumb passes to Derek Fisher that resulted in turnovers, his jump shot refused to fall. If he can’t pass, and if he can’t shoot, then what is he doing on the floor? Some people might say that he is there to play good defense against the Dallas back court, but I don’t agree. For a possession or two, maybe. For the game? No. And his mishaps overshadowed his sparse contributions.
How do you miss back-to-back, wide-open three-pointers from the baseline? That’s the shortest spot on the floor. After that, he should have been taken out. Phil Jackson may have done him a disservice by keeping him in there. His intentions were good, but it back-fired, and as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. In this case, the road to an early playoff exit is paved with good intentions.
My coworker put it nicely, saying that Blake looked like a wide receiver who got hit too many times going up the middle for a pass, and he got scared. He was frazzled. He missed another wide-open three-pointer just as Phil Jackson was touting his shot-making ability at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
You should have kept him out, Phil. We can’t solely blame him for the Lakers losing, but we can blame the Lakers’ awful three-point shooting. Last time I checked, Blake was brought in to shore up the perimeter shooting. In effect, then, he is largely responsible. But there are plenty of fingers to point around. When asked during the game if going down 0-2 would doom the Lakers, Steve Kerr said no. Not to this team.
Let’s embrace the situation instead. In the words of Kobe, “If you want to make history, sometimes you have to do the impossible.”
He’s right.
Now let’s see what the Lakers are really made of.
Till next time.
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2 Responses to ““Energy…Officiating…Steve Blake…””

  1. daniel "cool beans" lee Says:

    Something about the LA air makes our new acquisitions suck.

  2. NBA Playoffs 2011, Nicki Minaj, Bianca LaRussa and Hot Swagger News | Peculiaris Says:

    […] “Energy…Officiating…Steve Blake…” « An Epic Mess […]

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