In one of the most surprising outcomes of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers pulled off a stunning victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night at the Rose Garden. The Lakers won 107-106 thanks to an amazing out of bounds lob pass from Kent Bazemore to Wesley Johnson.
The real story of the night is how this win along with potentially more could push the purple and gold out of the top half of the lottery come June. Just a small two-game winning streak will do that these days. Right now the NBA is more pathetic than ever with so many teams blatantly tanking. It is absolutely embarrassing watching teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic and the Sacramento Kings among others giving no effort.
You can even see coaches of these teams look completely indifferent on the sideline during a close game down the stretch — they aren’t even sure if they want to win. Some of these coaches are the real culprits, playing ridiculous lineups and not calling timeouts when the other team has clear momentum. The other night the Celtics were tied with the Indiana Pacers at home with just a few minutes to play, and I literally got no vibe that Boston had any emotional inkling in trying to win that game. Brad Stevens just stood there giving no direction to his team, none of his coaches were up on their feet calling out defenses, nobody on the bench was doing anything and the crowd just gave halfhearted cheers.
We are talking about the best team in the league, the Pacers, and nobody can get excited about that? Of course they ended up losing, going out with a small whimper. It was just feeble all the way around, and that’s just one example among many others this year.
Normally the Lakers’ record as it stands now, 21-39, would be good enough for a top-five pick, but in actuality they could fall to 12th just by playing mediocre .500 ball the rest of the way. That’s right, 12th! Team such as the Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans and Detroit Pistons have looked awful of late, and let’s not forget about the New York Knicks who have somehow passed the Lakers in losses despite having their “superstar” healthy the entire season.
I’m a pretty big believer in karma, and it would be only right with all of the bad cards the Lakers have been dealt the past 12 months that they somehow end up with a lucky ping pong ball.