Several weeks ago, I wrote a satirical piece signifying how the Los Angeles Lakers defeated FC Barcelona in the FIBA World Club Championship.
Well, this would be a rematch of that same game, albeit in the Palau Blaugrana. And I will tell you this: I am not pleased with the performance of this Lakers side this preseason. In fact, I am disgusted.
A 92-88 defeat in Spain can only mean one thing: this team has work to do. A lot of work.
If such a competition like a FIBA World Club Champions really existed, the Lakers would be a joke and burn out early, because they didn't put their time and effort into delivering the same form that put them at the top over the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals.
It's a depressing reality if you are a Lakers fan because this game was winnable. It really was.
But as I look at the box score, I must be wondering: where was the bench on Thursday night? Only a paltry 14 points with no production from Matt Barnes or Theo Ratliff?
Give me a break, both of you. You have to deliver now that you are donning the strip of the defending NBA Champions.
And why hasn't Ron Artest stepped up his game? Just under 25 minutes and 10 points? Or Lamar Odom, who underperformed with 12 points in 41 minutes and change of action.
The hope here was that the guys from Queensbridge produced a bit more against the defending Euroleague champions.
And Kobe just looked liked his career was reaching his nadir with an acrimonious two-for-15 shooting. Actually, the entire team couldn't get a shot from beyond the arc to go in and that just hurt this team.
I'm sure this wasn't an issue when the Lakers went on their way to defending their title a few months ago. i.e., the purple and gold got some shots to fall to fall in.
Instead, you let the Regal FC Barcelona scoring tandem Juan Carlos Navarro—who had 25 points—and Pete Mickael—who had 26 points—run the show. How disappointing. How unacceptable.
You know, this defeat makes the phrase "NBA World Champions" looks like a total oxymoron. It makes the moniker look blasphemous.
There is no way the Los Angeles Lakers deserve to be called "World Champions" if they cannot beat the likes of FC Barcelona.
In fact, this team should vacate it. Right now.