Following the Lakers' 115-99 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night, Swaggy P rolled out the ultimate welcoming mat, per ESPN's J.A. Adande:
Nick Young on hurting PHX playoff chances: "Welcome to the Player Haters Ball...we tryin to hate, hate, hate hate..."— J.A. Adande (@jadande) March 31, 2014
The win was a big one for the Lakers, who have taken to spoiling other teams' playoff hopes in absence of their own. What they did to Phoenix was potentially devastating.
Though the loss didn't knock the Suns out of the Western Conference playoff picture, it was a contest they needed to win when looking at the road ahead. They close out the season with games against the Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings.
Of their final eight games, not one opponent can be considered an ideal matchup. Not even the Kings. So the Suns need to be winning the games they're supposed to win. And against the Lakers, they were supposed to win.
Instead, they lost. Badly. The tanking Lakers took control of the game early, never looked back and handed the Suns a possibly crippling blow.
Indeed, these playoff-hopes-damaging wins have become the Lakers' trademark, much to Young's sadistic pleasure.
Immediately following a win over the New York Knicks, Young, according to Lakers.com's Mike Trudell, implored his teammates to play postseason party pooper to close out this season, which is when this whole thing started:
Marshall said Nick Young told teammates they should try to be the “player haters of the year,” aiming to spoil playoff spots or seeds.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) March 26, 2014
Since then, point guard Kendall Marshall has joined the movement:
Kent Bazemore is now player-hating as well:
Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey even worked some photoshop magic to celebrate the occasion:
With games remaining against the Blazers, Mavericks, Clippers, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs, there will be plenty of opportunities for more people to join the cause.
"We want to keep teams out of the playoffs and mess up seedings," Marshall said Sunday, per The Associated Press (via ESPN). "That's our motivation right now. Any type of motivation we can get to grow as a team is good for us right now."
Credit Young with inspiring his teammates amid a lost season.
Credit the Lakers for raising hell and for being a lively nuisance standing between potential playoff teams and the postseason berth or positioning they desperately covet.
Welcome to the player-hating, Swaggy P-headlining, postseason-wrecking ball.