Los Angeles. The city of angels. Hollywood. Drama. There hasn’t been a dull day since 1996. Magic retired…again. The Lakers signed Shaq, traded for a rookie high school kid named Kobe Bryant, and drafted Derek Fisher. It’s been a roller coaster ride ever since. Nothing fully surprises and everything is done to the max. Spectacular in victory and in defeat.
The Lakers have been ultra-successful since Kobe Bryant’s arrival in tinsel town in 1996. In 15 seasons, LA has missed the playoffs only once, and ended up in the Finals 7 times, winning 5 of those. But when they have been bounced, they have done it in spectacular fashion. And that is not a compliment. Only Kobe’s rookie season, and in 1997 as a big underdog, did the Lakers show “championship” fight on their date with destiny of elimination.
1997- Beaten 98-93 in OT in Game 5 by Utah in Second Round (initial Shaq-Kobe season team showed fight on road in an elimination game although Kobe had 3 airballs in the late 4th and OT)
1998- Swept by Utah in WCF
1999- Swept by San Antonio in second round
2003- Beaten 110-82 by Spurs in Game 6 at home
2004- Beaten 100-87 by Pistons in Game 5 of NBA Finals (were down 27 in 4th quarter, game was not as close as final score)
2006- Beaten 121-90 by Suns in Game 7 of First round
2007- Beaten 119-110 by Suns in Game 5 of First round (were down 16 with under 6 minutes left, this was the rare case LA did not go away silently fighting back to within four before the Suns slammed the door)
2008- Beaten 131-92 by Celtics in Game 6 of NBA Finals
2011- Beaten 122-86 by Mavs in sweep in second round
So to say I was surprised about the Game 4 beatdown given to them by the Mavericks, I was not. It has been in their “DNA” for awhile now. It doesn’t take away from their championships, but it is there as a tiny footnote. In the end, as Kobe and Phil both said, and I agree, it doesn’t really matter how you lose or in how many games, it’s still a loss. Nobody really remembers the losers anyhow.
A three-peat, a repeat, and now what is behind door number 3? Whatever it is, I expect something spectacular.