Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Part Seven: Another Series of Unfortunate Events

All we had left to do was either win a game on their court or win a game on our court or win a Game 7 on their court. We simply had to avoid a three game losing streak and we would join in one of the most highly anticipated second round series of all time: the Across-the-Hall matchup with the already advanced Clippers! It would be absolutely insane. Quite literally, there never had been a Clip Show team that had shown fight like this one-time assembly of a collectively healthy and randomly thrown together group of Brand-Maggette-Cassell-Kaman-Mobley. We just needed one game!

But we didn’t get it. We got brushed aside pretty nonchalantly that first closeout attempt in the infamous game where Raja Bell eluded an attempted manslaughter conviction on national television when he intentionally clotheslined and forcibly threw down Kobe during a drive to the paint. Even though we lost that one, hope was high due to Bell’s obviously implemented suspension for the next game at Staples. But we decided that a golden opportunity like that should instead lead to blowing the simplest opportunity you’re ever going to get in the playoffs at home to advance to the next round. A desperation three-pointer was chucked with the Suns down three in the closing seconds of the game. If every Laker on the court had simply implemented the loudest cry of any amateur basketball coach in America, it would have been over. As the ball clanged off the rim and backboard, hovering in the air just waiting to be defensively gobbled up by someone in yellow, someone didn’t put their butt on a body. Shawn Marion weaseled his way into the lane to snatch the ball and kick it out to the perennially unreliable Tim Thomas for a retry three which, as they usually do in unfortunate situations, singed the net. Overtime occurred. And with it, a butt whooping. All of this achieved by the Suns in direct retaliation to Kobe’s 50 points he would score on the night as he so badly tried to will the Lake Show to a closeout victory. Fatefully, it was a butt whooping that lasted for all of the five minutes of overtime as well as the next four quarters of Game 7. That was it. The countless T-shirts and memorabilia for the all-L.A. matchup had to be scrapped. We somehow manage the near impossible, becoming one of those teams that’s listed on the wrong side of the record book. Darn near every team closes out the series when up 3-1 … except us. That sucks.

But it seemed like a good foundation, right? I know we historically blew an opportunity to get to the Western Conference Finals against all odds, but this team seemed like it had a core under the tutelage of Phil Jackson that could put up a serious fight in the coming years with just a few tweaks. So what did we do? We started tweaking.

[to be continued]

... but do take my word for it.

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