The Lakers’ season opener didn’t go very well

Sports

The Lakers went through an agonizing, epic fail of a loss in their season opener vs. the Timberwolves. The worst part wasn’t that they lost — the worst part was how they lost.

Everything looked OK from the jump. HELL YEAH LAKERS ARE BACK KOBE IS BACK EVERYONE GET HYPED. Nick Young did this after the first quarter to put LA up, 31-22:

Kobe had 15 points, hitting 6 of 13 shots, at the half.

The Lakers were outscored by 2 points in the third quarter, but they still held the lead going into the fourth quarter. Then…

EVERYTHING COLLAPSED AND BURNED.

The Timberwolves chomped up a 16-point deficit to win by 1 POINT, 112-111. The Lakers’ high-scorer in the fourth quarter was Jordan Clarkson, who had five points. The entire LA roster notched either a 0 or below-0 plus/minus except for Julius Randle who tallied a 1.

Afterwards, coach Byron Scott told the media:

Oh wait, that sounds familiar…

(check the year on that Serena Winters tweet)

Sigh. Welp. All I can say is SWAGGY’S STILL SWAGGY.

Last place Lakers teach life lessons

Life, Sports

What the purple and gold have taught me about humility and motivation

SPORTS

Sweet strokes and demoralizing dunks dazzled fans at Staples Center on March 7. And yet, as delicious as that sounds, the game was anything but appetizing. The Clippers furiously ripped apart the last-place Lakers in a 48-point blowout.

To put it nicely, the Lakers have had a rough season. They lost, regained and then lost again their fearless leader, Kobe Bryant. Then, the rest of their roster dropped like flies due to injuries and illnesses.

As I’ve proclaimed on Twitter, the Lakers are dead. The season isn’t over however, they still have 18 more games. With the Lakers in this foreign state, I’m going to take this opportunity to use the ragtag team as a metaphor for life.

The Lakers have fallen from grace. In the span of five years, they have gone from championship winners to playoff contenders to irrelevancy. The franchise demands nothing less than perfection, and the fall has been long and hard.

Watching the purple and gold flailing has highlighted a key facet in my mind: the importance of humility. When the fans start filing out and people stop tuning in, hiding in the locker room is not an option. When the front office conducts trade talks behind your back, throwing tantrums is not acceptable. There are no excuses.

The best choice of action for the Lakers in this situation is for them to swallow their pride and ride out the storm. The team lacks talent, which means even a maximum effort could result in a loss.

Likewise, life presents similar scenarios. Days turn into struggles, people double cross you and even personal victories can feel tainted by a sour season. Oftentimes, the jabs that hurt the most are the invisible ones: the barely audible whispers on the sidelines and the glare of empty seats.

All hope feels lost, but there is a bright spot. Being knocked down to such a low point is a vehement reminder to never take anything for granted. Championship success should be celebrated tastefully rather than brashly. Treat teammates and competitors with respect because who knows what will happen a decade from now.

An individual currently overlooked could end up a superstar in five years’ time. Humility can translate into tactful motivation. Kobe tweeted a “thank you” to the Clippers for beating down on his team after the embarrassing loss, then in a Power 106 radio interview said, “Revenge is sweet and it’s quick.” Kobe has been knocked down in the past (and successfully bounced back up), and I’m inclined to reverentially follow his lead — to ascend the persistent haters and use futile positions as fuel to work harder to improve.

Granted, the Black Mamba earned his keep through 17 years in the NBA, and as a junior in college, I haven’t tasted anything close to that amount of success. And although I played on an awful high school basketball team, I can’t say I’ve experienced the raw disappointment of a nationally televised 48-point home court loss.

What I can do is relate and remember: At the end of a fruitless season or upon completing a strenuous challenge, the humility learned and motivation gained is invaluable.

As published in the Pepperdine University student-publication, the Graphic.

Postgame Talk: “The Legend Continues”

Sports

The jaw-jutting, finger licking legend officially returned to the Los Angeles hardwood tonight in dramatic fashion — an excited crowd, countless camera flashes and Darth Vader’s theme song welcomed him onto the court.

Coming off his achilles injury, Kobe Bryant looked human for once. He air balled his first shot, he tossed passes that weren’t open and he missed a couple free throws. His stat line read nine points, eight rebounds, four assists and eight turnovers.

Laker Nation wanted a triple double return. Two nights ago, an NBA TV anchor joked the Black Mamba might drop 81 again. That didn’t happen. The Toronto Raptors (7-12) showed up to win and spoiled Kobe’s homecoming by comfortably cruising to a 106-94 win.

Raptors’ starters Amir Johnson, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry posted dominant figures: 32, 26 and 23 points, respectively.

On the other hand, no Laker starter scored double digits; they totaled 23 points. It was the Los Angeles bench that kept the team afloat — all five bench players scored double figures. Xavier Henry played almost half the minutes of Kobe and scored almost double the amount of points.

Postgame, Kobe said he would be watching game tape for the duration of the night and Coach Mike D’Antoni noted that Kobe’s performance wasn’t unexpected.

Judging his first game back, Kobe’s doing work. He didn’t play scared. He even attempted to draw a charge. And in the press conference, he talked like the classic Black Mamba that Laker Nation admires. He calmly sat in front of reporters and flashed a few smiles.

The nonchalant attitude he displayed to the press may have been an act, but I think that alone should have every other NBA team scared. He said he “played like horse sh*t,” he called himself a failure, he graded his 27 minutes as an F, yet he’s obviously still having fun.

As long as he enjoys the game and can find the bottom of the net, he’ll continue to find unique ways to elongate his career. Expect nothing less.