Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers were handed their second loss in the second-round of the NBA Playoffs. It was a heartbreaking affair, in which Kobe Bryant made some key turnovers in the waning seconds of the game, allowing Kevin Durant and the Thunder to steal what was a surefire win for the Lakers.
If the losing trend were to continue and the Lakers were to be swept, Coach Mike Brown's notable level of criticism would increase.
Although some in the Laker front office have suggested Brown's job will be safe regardless of postseason results, it is not beyond the realm of reasonable doubt to think Brown will inhabit the hot seat in the offseason.
His new found job insecurity is a result of his season-long inability to control the man-child Andrew Bynum, introducing some very questionable rotations to the team and an overall lack of defensive implementation that won him Coach of the Year when he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
A win in Game 3 is huge for Mike Brown, as Game 2 proved that the Lakers can beat a superior team if they don't choke it away in the last minute-and-a-half.
At home, the pressure to win mounts even more, and a Game 3 loss would most likely equate to a series sweep, as a demoralized Laker team could not rally back from being down 3-0 (just check what happened against the Mavericks last season).
Hope for the series win aside, the Lakers need to prove that they can still pose some threat to the "elite" teams.
They need to make a statement and show that even with age issues and a multitude of character issues, one of basketball's most storied franchises can put up a fight against the young-uns. If anything, a win in Game 3 would be a consolation prize; it would provide a ray of light for next season.