I couldn’t believe what I was seeing last night. The Lakers playing defense. Dwight Howard shutting down sharp shooter James Harden and looking like the Defensive Player of the Year again. The Lakers new point guard, a 7-footer named Pau Gasol. Remember him? We haven’t seen Pau play like this since he was benched by Mike D’Antoni in D’Antoni’s third game as Laker Coach. Oh by the way, did I mention that Kobe Bryant is out for the rest of the season?
Last night’s final game of the NBA regular season was an overtime thriller that ended up with the Lakers beating a Houston team that has been running the Lakers out of the gym all season long. It was a stunning end to a Laker season that was one of the most dismal and disappointing that Laker fans have seen in a long time.
It started off in a very hopeful fashion with the signing of free agent superstar Dwight Howard and all-star point guard Steve Nash, but then they brought in a new coach whose last name wasn’t Jackson even though that Jackson guy was actually available. And then the injuries and the finger-pointing and the losing. So much losing that Laker fans didn’t know for sure until last night if there would even be a postseason for the Lakers.
Everybody who knows me, knows I’m a long time die-hard Knicks fan, but after living in Southern California for 12 years, it’s hard to keep hating a team that wins all the time, especially when your team never wins anything! So I have become a reluctant Lakers fan. Imagine my delight over how well the Knicks have done this year and my disappointment in what turned out to be a less than stellar Laker season.
I still can’t believe that when the NBA playoffs start this Saturday, I’ll get to cheer my favorite team in the east AND my favorite team in the west. It doesn’t get any better than this. Let the games begin.