Before Game 5 between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets, Andrew Bynum said close-out games in the NBA playoffs are “actually kind of easy.” His Lakers showed how ridiculously immature and off-base his comments were as they were outplayed, outhustled and embarrassed at Staples Center last night 102-99.
Since this was “supposedly” an easy game, one would think that Bynum would have backed up his words and dominated. Instead Bynum was contained by the Denver defense, as he could only muster 8 Field Goal Attempts. His 16 points and 11 rebounds in 39 minutes weren’t horrific, but his team’s intensity level spoke directly to his aforementioned comments. The Lakers led only once AT HOME and if it wasn’t for Kobe Bryant’s 12 points in the last 5 minutes, the Lakers would have been blown out. Certainly this was not the effort Coach Mike Brown and Kobe had in mind, especially if they want to be considered “contenders”.
Kobe’s thoughts on Bynum’s statement and the Lakers loss, “That’s true, close-outs can be easy. Tonight wasn’t one of those nights. Did it pump them up? Probably. You never want to give anybody bulletin board material, but if you’re going to be a champion, you’ve got to play through things like that.”
In other words, the Lakers and Bynum boasted and couldn’t overcome their arrogance. Kobe has 5 rings and understands that these types of comments do not demonstrate a championship “mindset”.
Speaking of mindset, the Los Angeles Clippers haven’t won a playoff series in 6 years. Winning a close out game is going to be challenge for them as they are playing a Grizzlies team that believes they should be up 3 games to 1 instead of down 1-3.
An encouraging sign for Clippers Nation were the wise words of Chris Paul, “We have two teams that are going to fight until the end.” I love that Paul is letting his team know how hard this game is going to be for 48 minutes.
Tonight, let’s see if the Clippers learned from the Lakers and took to heart the words of their leader.
Follow me on Twitter @clippersnation1 and @coachhaz. Check out my other articles on our Clippers for Rantsports.com under Court Crusaders