“STRATEGY or WEAKNESS”

I knew at the very start of COUCH SPORTS EXPERT that I would not turn this into a Sports blog that had to comment on every, single story in sports. I wanted to be about saying and expressing the opinions of those who aren’t the “EXPERTS”, but who have a REAL view on what they witness in sports. Today I am going to break that rule in a way, but I am sure that there are several fans that feel the same way: When we look at the current “PURPLE AND GOLD” team that we have witnessed lately, are they the real “LAKERS”…OR “FAKERS”? Is this the real condition of this team, or have they been downplaying games for a different reason?

 SHORT AND SWEET, I think they are “FAKERS”. And before I even get into it, I want to say that I completely agree with what, I think, they are doing. In the first two games of their series with the Denver Nuggets, the Lakers lead for every second of the game. Check the stats, Denver did not lead for a single moment in Games 1 and 2. Think about that. Has that ever happened before in a Playoff series? Then we get to Denver, and the series turns completely around. As much as I have to believe the whole factor of the altitude being a factor, let’s not act like Kobe and the Lakers have never played in Denver before. And from his past, Kobe Bryant seems to have A LOT of energy in Colorado. (Sorry, that was foul) In Game 3, the Nuggets went on a 22-2 run, and never looked back. When the series returned to Los Angeles, the Nuggets’ new found success continued, and after another impressive victory back home, they now have the series tied 3-3. The 3 wins by the Nuggets have not even been close games. Do we really believe that they discovered some weakness that has now made them this dominant over the Lakers? I DON’T! I think this has all been about strategy. The Lakers remember what happened to them in the 2nd Round of last season’s Playoffs, when the eventual Champion, Dallas Mavericks, embarrassed them badly. With all the talk and drama surrounding a series between them and the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers need to rely on STRATEGY. I think this Denver series has been all about setting up the next series: LAKERS vs. THUNDER.

 The Lakers have pulled off two strategic moves that will aid them in the next series. First, they have played this series out long enough to get suspended Forward Ron Artest (as he was formally known) back on the court. “World Peace” will return to the court tonight, after serving a 7-game suspension. Tonight is the perfect setup to look as if his defense is what helped slow down the surging Nuggets, and propelled L.A. into the next round. More importantly, the Lakers don’t want to face the Thunder without their best defensive player. This series will already have high emotions lingering from their previous matchup, and Metta World Peace is just the character to throw someone off their game. The second, and most important thing the Lakers have done is left the red-hot OKC Thunder “on ice” for over a week. The Thunder were on a roll after sweeping their first round opponent, and now they have been sitting around waiting to see who is next. While they may have been preparing for L.A. all along, they still haven’t been playing at game speed in a week. This may be good for an older team like the Boston Celtics or San Antonio Spurs, but for a young, athletic team, the effects are the opposite. They need activity. I think the Lakers saw how OKC adapted and conquered the first round, and decided to knock them off that emotional high. We will have to wait and see if it works, but the strategy was a nice play.

 Of course, I could completely be wrong, and Denver could shock the world by defeating the Lakers in Game 7. But if I am wrong, that will only mean that these Playoffs have another unexpected twist, and the Lakers would be eliminated. So I’ll IMPRESSED either way. Impressed by Denver’s GUTS and DETERMINATION, or impressed by L.A.’s BOLDNESS and STRATEGY.

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