I guess the reports of the demise of the Los Angeles Lakers may have been a little premature as they have roared back from the lowest point in their season, the defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers before the All-Star break, to win 7 straight games and regain the swagger that lead them to being the NBA Champs the past two seasons.
The latest win, a 99-83 thrashing of the best team in the NBA right now, the San Antonio Spurs, was perhaps their best game of the season and goes to show that the NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint. They snapped the Spurs 22 game home winning streak with the win and looked in championship form while doing it.
"They hit us in the mouth from the beginning and by the time we realized it, it was the ninth round and we were down on the scorecard," Spurs guard Gary Neal said.
The Lakers came out of the gate swinging and exploded to a 34-13 first quarter lead in their attempt to avenge a 89-88 loss to the Spurs back on February 3rd. They expand that lead to 65-37 by half time and cruised through the remaining two quarters to get the easy win.
"Nobody expects to be losing by more than 20 in the first quarter," Spurs star Manu Ginobili said. "But the way the game presented itself, they were making every shot. We couldn’t make layups, 3s, free throws, anything."
Though the win was an easy one for the Lakers, who are in the midst of their toughest stretch of games this season (they have Miami, Dallas, and Orlando the next three games), and is one that they greatly craved, they are keeping it in perspective. They understand that it’s the nature of the game that sometimes a team just doesn’t bring it that day.
"We know we’re capable of having games like this and San Antonio knows we’re capable of having games like this,"The Lakers Kobe Bryant said. "It just as easily could go the other way around."
With 18 games left, it’s doubtful that the Lakers can make up the 6 1/2 game difference separating the Spurs and L.A. for the number one seed in the West, but Sundays game is a solid reminder that records notwithstanding, the team to beat in the NBA is still the Lakers.