Mike Bresnahan covers the Lakers for The Times and ties up loose ends on the day of his self-designated "Game of the Week." The Lakers play today at Orlando.
The Lakers return to the scene of their championship clincher nine months ago, the place where Derek Fisher made two clutch three-pointers, Kobe Bryant won his first Finals MVP and the Lakers rolled to their 15th NBA title.
Not that Lakers fans care about reminiscing.
Last June might as well have been a century ago, with fans seething over the Lakers' recent play.
After the Lakers' lifeless loss Friday in Charlotte, Ron from Seal Beach had some very unkind words.
"This is the worst Laker game going back to the 1960s that I have seen," he wrote in an e-mail that was also sent, without explanation, to the public e-mail address for President Obama.
No joke. Ron was obviously very upset.
Then there was this e-mail from Sumeet Gajri.
"I am studying abroad for the semester in England and still keep up with every SINGLE game online -- even if it means going to bed at 6 a.m. and waking at 8 a.m. for class. That is dedication.
"I was ashamed of the Lakers when I saw them lose to the Bobcats. For the first time ever, I turned my laptop off and stopped watching halfway through the final quarter."
Lucky Sumeet. I couldn't turn off my laptop. I had to keep writing what was unfolding in front of me.
One last look
The Lakers' loss again to the Bobcats was hardly a surprise to anybody, including writers for the Charlotte Observer.
"In a life-is-stranger-than-fiction way, the Lakers continue to be the Bobcats' pawn," wrote Rick Bonnell, the Bobcats' beat writer for the paper.
Columnist Scott Fowler also weighed in, saying "Charlotte is always a worse team than the Lakers overall but has beaten L.A. seven of the past nine times the teams have played, handing the ultra-competitive Bryant one loss after another.Bizarre, isn't it?"
I know this much -- these writers could also cover the Portland Trail Blazers.
Record in weekly picks: 8-9
My parents couldn't help my horrific slide, so I enlisted an ex-flame, Emma, to help me with the pick of the week.
She's tall, attractive and British, so she doesn't know a lot about basketball, but her guidance can't be any worse than mine, seeing how I've been wrong eight of the last nine weeks.
"Kobe is no Harry Potter so I think it'll be close," Emma said of today's game. "But I'm sure the Lakers will work their own kind of West Coast magic for a close win in Florida this weekend."
I'll go with Emma. Lakers win today.
(See how easy it is for us to agree, Emma? Why didn't we work out again? Sigh)