I don't get you people, your willingness to reward these Lakers underachievers, the trend continuing Sunday as it did all season long and these guys doing only what they had to do to start the second round of the playoffs.
You were on your feet, the Lakers down by four points, and why wasn't everyone in the building booing?
As it is, I worry about you people, chanting, "MVP, MVP," every time Kobe Bryant goes to the line, not a peep out of you when Pau Gasol is standing there, and who has been more consistent?
More than that, you were sounding downright foolish on national TV, chanting "MVP" an hour after they had already handed the trophy to LeBron James, who had 116 first-place votes.
Kevin Durant finished second in the voting and had four first-place votes, Kobe third with no — and that's zero — first-place votes, and Dwight Howard had three first-place votes.
Phil Jackson should have been coach of the year, Kobe or Gasol MVP, and the Lakers standing tall throughout the playoffs with the home-court advantage.
But the Lakers were one big letdown for much of the season, given a golden opportunity to begin the second round of the playoffs against a church league team by usual NBA playoff standards, and they struggled to win.
Shouldn't people expect more from champions?
I know, I know, the mark of a champion, some will say, the Lakers coming back to win, and maybe if this was the first time they had fought back to overcome, OK.
But these Lakers won 57 regular-season games with the talent to win so many more, sputtering the last month, but promising to turn it on in the postseason because they could, they said.
Wouldn't it be just a scream to see Jerry Sloan coach this group, the guy who believes in gutting it out all the way? They'd drive him crazy, while he did what he could to drive away those who didn't always feel like giving it their all.
He'd probably end up with a Utah-like team again, lots of heart and not enough talent, but oh well.
You would think by now these Lakers would have learned their lesson, the Oklahoma City Thunder catching them by surprise, sitting 2-2 and hounded by all kinds of questions and doubts.
It wouldn't be so aggravating if everyone didn't already know how good the Lakers can be when they so choose, the Thunder understanding that as much as anyone right now as it watches the NBA at home on TV.
In the Jazz, the Lakers get the NBA break of all time, a bye, really. They beat the injury-depleted Jazz four consecutive times, and the tired and injured get valuable time to recoup.
You saw the Jazz. You might've even turned to the person sitting next to you to say, "These guys really aren't very good, are they?" Jack Nicholson didn't even show up.
The Jazz starts a bunch of midgets compared with Gasol and Andrew Bynum, making this series so lopsided it doesn't matter if the referees favor Utah.
The only reason the Jazz is still playing is because the Nuggets stopped doing so long ago, Utah scoring a bunch of points because Denver plays no defense.
Someone said the Jazz played great basketball the last half of the season, but when the Lakers were at their very worst down the stretch, they still pounded Utah, 106-92, with Mehmet Okur playing 30 minutes 34 seconds at center.
And Sloan might be intense, tough and all that, and if he never found himself matched against Jackson, he'd have a 91-84 record in the playoffs.
But as an NBA rule now, he gets pounded by Jackson-coached teams, and so his playoff record is 98-101, four consecutive series losses to Jackson's Chicago Bulls and Lakers, only a matter of days before it will be five.
The Lakers just haven't shown an ability to put teams away, and while that's the NBA trademark — wait until the last two minutes — the talent disparity between these teams should make that almost impossible.
"I thought our bench really let us down in the fourth quarter,'' Jackson said, but Jackson also coached and substituted like someone who knew there was no way the Lakers could lose to the Jazz.
He would not agree later with the premise that the Jazz is no good, his obvious respect for team play employed by the Jazz and players willing to accept their roles trumping the obvious.
But this was no great victory, the Lakers still the underachieving Lakers, although it would seem good enough for most of you.
To win another championship — well, we'll see.
THE CLIPPERS ran a commercial on ABC during the Lakers game urging fans to buy season tickets. The key element in the commercial was Baron Davis coming through for the Clippers. You can only imagine the miles of videotape they had to go through to find such a moment.
Buy Lakers playoff tickets here
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