By: Griffin Finch
The term showtime as it applies to basketball brings us back to the late 70’s and 80’s. An era when Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar along with a host of other Hall of Fame players were winning rings every time the championship didn’t go to Larry Bird’s Celtics teams. This time in Lakers history is regarded as one of the most entertaining. Kareem’s dominance combined with Magic’s tantalizing ability to distribute the basketball resulted in nothing short of a true spectacle to behold on the hardwood. In July of this past summer, Lakers fans after years of at best mediocre teams were thrilled when LeBron James announced he would be signing a 4 year, $154 million contract with one of basketball’s most storied franchises. With Magic Johnson himself running basketball operations, people in the City of Angels began eagerly anticipating the return of the Showtime Lakers. With lots of young talent like Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram combined with proven veterans such as Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson with the greatest player in the world to lead them forward into this new post Kobe era of Lakers basketball, it is clear that on paper fans were justified to have high expectations for this team. However, despite these expectations the new Lakers have started 0-3 and it seems that expectations may have been set to high.
All three of the games the Lakers have played this season were games that could have easily been wins for a team now desperate to get one in the win column. Game 1 versus the Portland Trailblazers, the Lakers lost by 9. Los Angeles definitely has more talent yet they still lost without either of the Blazers stars having an exceptional game. In game 2 with the game winding down, both teams showed a complete lack of composure allowing a brawl to unfold resulting the suspension of three players. Ultimately the Rockets were able to win that game proving that they are in fact a top tier team in the West. Finally, in the most recent game the Lakers have played against the San Antonio Spurs. With several opportunities to win, LeBron himself was to blame for the Lakers third loss in as many games. He missed consecutive free throws that would have clinched the game and then he took an ill advised step back jumper that would have caused double over time and missed.
Hopefully these losses are not a sign of things to come and the Lakers can make it to the post season and maybe win a series. But I can’t help but think that that the only times LeBron has lost the first 3 games of the season he missed the playoffs. As a basketball fan I have faith that LeBron will be able to figure this team out and turn them into a playoff caliber team by the All-Star break.