Los Angeles Lakers: How Can The Defending NBA Champs Lose To The Cavs?

Victoria SterlingCorrespondent IFebruary 17, 2011

CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 14:  Head coach Phil Jackson talks to Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during their game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena on February 14, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

This was not what I had in mind for three in a row, fellas.   That was one of the most shocking, inexcusable losses I have ever seen on a professional basketball court.  When James Worthy is at a loss for words on the postgame show and when he finally finds his tongue to call the Lakers out for quitting, you know it's bad.  Wow.  And then Phil Jackson said basically the same thing in his postgame interview.  In fact, apparently, Phil didn't even talk to the team.  Just told them to show up 11:30am Monday morning.  

That was atrocious and embarrassing.  

Before we go any further, let's take a moment to acknowledge the effort of the Cleveland Cavaliers.  They played with pride.  Ramon Sessions had a great game.  Hats off.  Byron Scott, job well done.  

Back to the Lakers.  I don't want to tell a Hall of Fame coach like Phil Jackson how to coach.  It's kind of an unwritten rule here in LA not to do that.  Guess what?  I'm breaking the rule.  Deal with it.  

Ever heard of a trap game, Phil?  This was a textbook one.  Lowly, thinly talented team suffering through a terrible season after a crushing psychological offseason loss (LeBron to Miami) that you are playing on the road and that you crushed by 55 points last time around.  The arrogant Lakers thinking they can just phone it in.  But they forgot that these Cavs are pros too.  They are men with pride, just like you.  The Lakers constantly seem to forget that home games like this one are like the Super Bowl to their opponents. 

The Cavaliers have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so they can play fast, loose and aggressive.  And that's when the shots start falling.

That toggle switch you always seem to think that can just be flipped?  Guess what, it's turned into a panic button.  That sound you just heard is me hitting it.  Hard.  

It's like you don't understand that you are not entitled to a title.  

Look, I'm not a professional coach.  I still have trouble grasping the finer points of the triangle offense.  But I know phoning it in when I see it.  I can spot lack of effort a mile away.  What is going on?  Why go away from the hot hand of Pau Gasol in the second half?  Andrew Bynum, you want more minutes?  Hit more shots.  Turnovers?  Don't even get me started.  19????   19 turnovers!  Yeesh.  

Casting the best possible spin on the Zen Master's handling of this game (and even though I did it above, it's still hard to criticize the guy given the hardware he has), maybe Phil saw this coming.  Maybe he knew the Lakers were vulnerable to this loss and decided to give them enough rope to hang themselves.  And maybe the flop sweat of desperation in the fourth was/will be the motivation for this team to play a full game every night from here on out.  

You know what?  I'm kind of glad that the All-Star Game is in Los Angeles this year.  Maybe being the hosts this weekend after this embarrassing loss is just the thing to wake you guys up and get you to pay attention.  Every single one of your nemeses (yes, an actual word) is going to be here laughing at you.  Yes, laughing.  

There are no gimmes anymore if there ever were.  You've forfeited your right to party all weekend.  Let Dr. Buss and Jeanie handle the hosting chores.  I don't want to see anybody out in the clubs all night.  Like I said, you've forfeited that right.  Do your charitable events and other obligations, but this is no time to party.  Get rest, practice shooting, watch film and get it together.  

You know how this town goes.  You're only as good as your last successful project.  The sequel was nice.  You'd better get to work on the three-quel.  Or risk becoming irrelevant.  Because if you don't, this June you will be watching some other team give the acceptance speech for the award you've been assuming is yours.