The Nuggets are surprisingly wonderful and that sure is fun. What’s even better than enjoying Denver’s success? Reveling in the misery of the Los Angeles Lakers, that’s what.
Remember when the Lakers acquired Steve Nash and Dwight Howard during the off-season and everybody though that they would be the Miami Heat of the West and that an NBA Finals clash between Kobe Bryant and Lebron James was basically inevitable? It seems like that was a long time ago, but it wasn’t. Only a few short months ago Los Angeles was a favorite to among the top teams in the NBA.
For the Lakers it’s a crying shame that NBA seasons don’t play out on paper because, once they started hitting the court it was abundantly clear that whatever formula was used in assembling the squad wasn’t working. In eight pre-season games the Lakers went winless. They opened their season with three straight losses, too. Things picked up for them a little bit after that, and by the time they beat the Nuggets on November 30, they were 8-5. Then they lost six of their next seven. Ouch.
Mike Brown had been the Lakers head coach coming onto the season. He lasted all of five miserable games before they canned his ass and brought in the surly mustachioed Mike D’Antoni who had been cast off the previous season by the New York Knicks. He had been unable to make things click in New York. Reports flew that he had lost the star-laden locker room there. But, when Phil Jackson resisted LA’s advances, the Lakers had little choice but to settle for D’Antoni, who has not proven to be capable of getting the Lakers back on track.
Here’s a list of Western Conference teams that currently have more wins than the sub-.500 Lakers: Portland, Utah, Houston, Golden State, Denver, Memphis, the Clippers, San Antonio and Oklahoma City. In previous seasons there might have been two or three teams on that list – tops. This season there are nine.
It couldn’t be happening to a nicer team.
A report circulating about the interwebs this morning says that Kobe Bryant makes a hissing sound like an actual mamba when he wants a team mate to pass him the ball. That’s pretty lame, you guys. Steve Nash headed for the Lakers hoping that he had found the path of least resistance to an easy title. How’s that working out old man? Dwight Howard has turned out to be a pox on the Lakers rather than the dominant big man they hoped he would be. Now there’s rampant speculation that the center will be shipped out before the trade deadline. He and King Kobe haven’t seen eye to eye. Kobe has even called Howard out for refusing to play through pain.
The Lakers are struggling, squabbling, floundering, flailing and falling apart. It’s glorious.
How can we as Denver fans take fullest advantage of this circumstance? Here are a few suggestions for making the most of the Lakers’ pain this season:
Follow some Lakers fans on Twitter. You can get a real sense for how miserable these bandwagon-jumping frontrunners are feeling by monitoring their whining on the social network.
Watch the Lakers lose. You can wait until the fourth quarter if you can’t stand to take in an entire Lakers game. Keep track of the score via the internet and, right before the final whistle, flip over to watch the final minute.
Catch the press conferences after Lakers losses. What could possibly be more enjoyable that seeing a pissed off Kobe Bryant seething in front of the TV cameras?
Casually ask a random Lakers fan “how are the Lakers doing this year”? Lakers fans are like Raiders fans – they’re everywhere. Next time you see some d-bag sporting a Lakers cap at the grocery store play dumb. Pretend you’re interested and force him to explain.
Glance at the NBA standings at least once a week. It seems just that much more real.
The Lakers will be back. For better or worse, they are perennial contenders. We must enjoy this while we can. The Lakers will probably miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-2005 season. It’s been nearly a decade since they sat home. In that time they have eliminated your Denver Nuggets each time they have faced them in the post-season – three times.
We are going to enjoy this because we deserve to. No matter how far the Nuggets go this year we can relish the fact that it will be further than the miserable Lakers. That might be the closest thing to winning a championship Denver Nuggets fans will ever get.