I stand on the side of the Lakers, here, where they have been playing pretty not awesome. And here's my argument: I'm not worried. I'm not worried that the Lakers are losing by large margins to bad teams -- you cannot honestly believe that the Grizzlies and Bucks are better than the Lakers.
And then we talk about their losses to the aforementioned Spurs and the hated Heat. Both games involved the Lakers essentially getting bent over.
Yet, if you watched the game, the Lakers looked bad. They looked like a team that had no motivation, no reason to play, no heart. Rotations were slow, defense was horrible, shots were hasty and not well-thought out and there wasn't a lot of movement on offense, or at least as much as there should be.
But to say the Lakers are lesser of a team? No. Hell no.
This is a team undergoing complacency. A team that has won back to back titles and feels invincible. This thinking is wrong. But understandable. When you beat the one team that you've been wanting to play in the Finals for three years and finally beat them, the chip on your shoulder gets eaten. You don't play with the tenacity that you are supposed to. Even against new blood (the Miami Heat), the Lakers couldn't find their motivation, their reason to play.
This same buddy, recently mentioned, says that if a team doesn't care to play their best in the regular season shouldn't go on to win an NBA title.
Yikes. Someone needs to watch some more regular season basketball during NFL season.
Defending champions are more prone to doing what the Lakers are doing. They grow comfortable, and have a high sense of false security. Yet, these are also the teams that can turn it on with no problem. Even within a playoff series. Let's take a look at the 2009 Houston Rockets-LA Lakers series, yes?
Game 1: Lakers lose to Rockets on their home floor. This looked ugly. Check some highlights:
Yep. The Lakers were outworked. However, the Rockets just looked ... better. There's no doubt about that. Rotations were actually pretty decent for the Lakers, but offensively, they made quite a bit of mistakes.
Game 2: Lakers win, get back on track.
Game 3: The Lakers won in a tough game. All shots were contested by both teams
Game 4: This is where it gets funny. The Rockets lose Yao Ming. Yet the Rockets blow out the Lakers. Watch the highlights, but pay special attention to defensive sets, rotations and shot contesting on the part of the Lakers -- you can't find them? Because there are none. This team was lazy.
The rest of the series went like this. It went to seven games, where the Lakers won by a bajillion in the final game.
In 2009 regular season, the Lakers finished with their worst record since the acquisition of Pau Gasol yet still made the playoffs. And still won the Finals.
I'll elaborate on the Spurs' situation, too. Just sayin'.