Lakers will win again, but how much do they care?

When the Los Angeles Lakers won Game 6 of the Western Conference Final Monday night, a collective groan could be heard around the country.

“Yeah, yeah,” the people said. “We all know they’re going to win.” A Lakers championship was a foregone conclusion for most fans and experts alike before the season even started. Now, with only some pathetic Eastern Conference foe waiting, the Lakers are already gathering their ring sizes for the inevitable ceremony.

Everyone knew the season would end up this way, except for a small community of pessimists and nay sayers who are currently licking the eggs off of their faces.

Let me think, who was it I made that $10 bet with? I can still remember the asinine arguments he was making, though his name escapes me at present moment. “Great players don’t always make a great team,” he said as he cited the Rockets team with Charles Barkley as his evidence. “Too many big egos,” he threw in, as if that could somehow prevent a team from winning. It always seemed to me that a big ego needs protection through validation. In this case that validation comes in the form of an NBA championship.

So I was right, along with any other person who has a brain, but I contend that the Lakers are still a disappointment.

At the beginning of the year, I predicted the Lakers would win 66 games and the NBA title. Sure, I was right on one count, but I was stupid to think they would win that many regular-season games.

After all, it just isn’t L.A.’s style. The Lakers have always been a team to get things done their own way on their own time. They probably could have won the championship last year too, but they got lazy from winning three in a row.

Do you think that would have ever happened to one of Michael Jordan’s teams? No way!

Every year the Bulls were capable of winning the title, they did. In their best year, MJ kept the likes of Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen under control for the entire season, winning an NBA record of 72 games.

I once thought that the Lakers were capable of matching such a significant feat, but that was before I realized how severely embedded the L.A. mentality is in the minds of every player on the team.

The Lakers don’t care about great regular-season records. Hell, they barely got it together in time to secure the second seed in the playoffs. I honestly feel that not one player on the team felt bad for not achieving the results they were capable of during the regular season. To them, the regular season is simply a ticket to the playoffs and they would just as easily have accepted an even lower seed.

The Lakers’ first two games of the San Antonio series spoke volumes about the team. They hardly competed in the first two games, allowing themselves to fall behind two games to none. But the Lakers weren’t worried.

They knew they were going back to the Staples Center for the third and fourth games, and they knew they would win both. In essence, they probably could have swept the Spurs, but because of strange notions of L.A. laziness and coolness, the team waited for Game Three to make its mark.

Why play so hard on the road when you can wait for an easier game at home?

It’s not that the logic is wrong, it’s actually quite sound.

The problem comes in cheering for a bunch of guys who literally only play well when they feel like it.

The same held true in Games 2 and 5 of the Minnesota series. After stealing Game 1 in Minnesota, the Lakers hardly stepped on the court for Game 2. They knew the Timberwolves would have to fight like dogs to secure any chance of winning the series, so the Lakers let the T-wolves have the game. I’m not sure Shaq even played.

The same thing happened in Game 5. The Lakers knew that a Game 5 loss would bring the series back to L.A., where they would prefer to win anyway. So again, they let the T-wolves win.

The fact that, in classic L.A. fashion, the Lakers took their time finishing off clearly inferior opponents should be insulting to the rest of the league.

The Lakers are fashionably late and they make their own schedule. They refuse to be rushed and they are ridiculous drama queens.

We’re talking about a team that added two of the biggest divas in the sport world when it signed Karl Malone and Gary Payton. We should have known they would fit right in.

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