Heading into the All-Star Game the Lakers were reeling. They had lost three straight games to inferior opponents, and people were starting to wonder if they really had what it takes to win another Championship. How quicly things can change in a just a few short weeks.
The Lakers have now won seven straight games, punctuated by a 99-83 win on the road in San Antonio, and it wasn't really even that close. The Lakers now look like the team everyone
thought knew they were heading into the Season. They got off to a huge first quarter lead and never looked back, and as Tom Ziller of SB Nation points out, that is kind of a character reversal for the Spurs.
The San Antonio Spurs are usually the team rolling out to an early 20-point lead by being more clinical and sharp than their opponent. That wasn't the case Sunday, when an early surge from the Los Angeles Lakers effectively knocked the Spurs out in the first quarter on the champs' way to a 99-83 victory. L.A. outscored the Spurs 34-13 in the first quarter. The Spurs simply don't give up 34 points in a quarter, and simply don't score as few as 13 points in a quarter. That both happened in the same quarter at home against a rival the Spurs would like to bludgeon with a dull object is something amazing.
The Lakers might not be able to catch the Spurs for first place in the Western Conference before the season ends, but yesterday they showed that they have no problem winning a big game on the road in San Antonio. Silver Screen and Roll is taking it as a sign of things to come.
There it is, amigos. The win we've been waiting and pleading for all season long. The crushing show of force that would set off air-raid sirens around the league, letting everyone know the champs were getting serious. The Spurs have been the class of the NBA through the first three quarters of the regular season, but this afternoon they were a little bug hovering in the breeze as the Laker windshield plowed through their airspace at 80 miles an hour.
But not everyone is happy. In the interest of equal time, we present an article by Billy Witz at Fox Sports who was a little disappointed to see how the Lakers acted in their rout of the Spurs.
What's that phrase: Act like you've been there before?
The Lakers did not. If it was not Artest mugging for the crowd, it was Kobe Bryant sinking a jumper and turning to glare at the Spurs' bench and picking up a technical foul for barking at Manu Ginobili, Derek Fisher kvetching over foul calls with the Lakers up by 20 late in the fourth quarter, or Shannon Brown showboating with between-the-legs dribbles.
It's a big win for the Lakers, that is for sure. But it doesn't make them the best team in the NBA overnight, and it certainly doesn't assure them of an NBA Championship Just like we were saying that you ccouldn't write the Lakers off when they were struggling because it was the regular season, you can't crown them for the very same reason. Having said that, this is a big, big win for the two-time defending champs.