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Signs of Mortality

We all fret too much. It’s the nature of being a diehard fan. You watch 82 games, and it’s hard not to obsess over every game, every posession—to nitpick, to worry about close games that shouldn’t be close and losses that shouldn’t be losses. 

You lose sight of the bigger picture sometimes. 

And tonight, the bigger picture looks like this:

• One night after an uninspiring home win against the Nets, the Cavs struggled to put away Philadelphia on the road. Shaquille O’Neal took only four shots and made two. He’s shooting 51 percent from the floor this season—by far the worst mark of his career and down from 61 percent in each of the last two season—and the Cavs are nearly 13 points worse per 100 possessions with him on the floor. Lots of things to figure out in Cleveland. 

• As I’m writing this, the Bucks are up 106-100 on the Lakers in overtime with a crunch time line-up of Michael Redd, Luke Ridnour, Ersan Ilyasova, Andrew Bogut and Charlie Bell (guarding Kobe, who missed a potential game-winner at the regulation buzzer). Like the Cavs, the Lakers are on the second half of a back-to-back. 

The lesson: It’s a long season. Everyone has nights like this. Sometimes it takes some channel-flipping on an off night to remember this.

  • Looks like the Lakers caught wind of this post while the game was in progress Zach…..that’s karma for you…..way to blow it Bucks.

  • carlos rizik

    Barring injuries, Lakers and Celtics will meet in the Finals. Right now the only thing that worries me about the c’s are the hight rate of offensive rebounds they allow.

  • @Brian: I of course thought of this as the Lakers made their improbable (and ref-aided) comeback, but the larger point is there. You struggle against mediocrities sometimes.

    Also: Charlie Bell can’t guard Kobe.

  • Jason

    Major ref aided:

    1) Fisher slaps ball away, off his foot out of bounds. Ref gives it Lakers.

    2) Fisher molests Ridnour. Ridnour sheds him. Offensive foul on Ridnour.

    3) Bogut goes straight up and Gasol knocks into him. And-1 for Gasol.

    4) After missing the FT, refs call lane violation even though Artest was in the lane first. Gasol makes the second attempt.

    5) Kobe plows into the lane. As a clear a charge as you’ll ever see, he’s awarded an And-1. Unreal.

    I think I’m missing one or two also actually. It was ridiculous. Of course, Ilyosova (or whatever) missed two FTs, so that didn’t help. Unbelievable rape job by the refs at the end though.

  • Stan

    To be fair, you’d have to analyze every single foul of the game (including some in the last minutes that went against the Lakers), take into consideration a margin of error, and recognize that the game was played in Milwaukee, not Los Angeles where the Lakers might get more calls…this whole ordeal (just to use the lame excuse of blaming the refs) might be hassle, so it’s easier just to give it up and say that nobody can stop Kobe, even with a broken finger.

  • DeVelaine

    Games like this don’t help David Stern’s stance that the league has no agenda with teams.

  • Damn you, Zach, damn you for jinxing it!

    Of course, I probably deserved it, too, leaving the game during OT to pack some Christmas cookies. What C’s fan leaves a game the Lakers might lose, whoever the opponent is? I got back just in time to see Kobe’s buzzer beater and have my heart broken a little bit.

  • Jason

    @Stan. At the end of regulation, Kobe had the exact same opportunity he did at the end of OT. Both times he settled for a long, fade-away jumper. He failed miserably (barely hitting the rim) the first time. No one ever remembers these plays, of course, just the winners. But just in this game he was 50% in these clutch moments and also was gifted a 3 point play (how clutch of him). Actually, in 3 tries, he succeed once on talent and once on fame, aka Jordan Rules, and failed once. It’s really 33% success rate. Unstoppable huh?

  • LAKERS FAN

    Correction – no one can guard kobe

  • Boodles Von Heimlich

    Guess what Jason, Kobe still made the game winning shot, draining it with tenth of second. With a broken effin’ finger! He didn’t miss the shot, he swished it. It won the game. That is the definition of clutch. Or unstoppable. Sorry Jason.

  • cheekmeister

    LAL won 3 road overtime games…OKC, MIA and now MIL.

    loved Bogut’s postgame tweets!

  • I missed Bogut’s post-game tweets. How am I not following him? He’s a fun guy. What’d he say?

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