Postcards From LA, Vol. 3: One Fan Tracks His Lakers Through the 2009 NBA Playoffs


By: Christopher Thell

I was trying to fathom what kind of personal job performance would be equivalent to the Lakers atrocious play in their 99-87 Game 4 loss to the Yao-less Houston Rockets on Sunday afternoon.

This is a fun game that fine readers such as yourself can play along with at home. If you were going to give the kind of performance at your place of employment that the Lakers did on Sunday against the Rockets, what would it look like?

For me, it would be roughly equivalent to showing up to work two hours late, grossly hungover and still wearing the same clothes I was donning the day before (but now reeking of Don Julio), and then proceeding to carefully roll and spark a huge blunt which I smoke until I pass out underneath my desk, not awakening until 4:45pm; at which time I furiously send out two dozen emails before heading back to the bar at 5pm sharp (and yes, I’m talking directly to you in that last sentence, Mr. Pau “18 points in the meaningless 4th quarter” Gasol).

The thing is, regardless of your current occupation, I’m guessing that if you performed like the Lakers played on Sunday, you’d be fired.

Really. It was that bad. The Lakers were outrebounded 43-37 by a team starting a 6’6” center and allowed Aaron Brooks (34) and Battier (23) to both notch career-playoff highs in points.

The play of the game that epitomized the Lakers evening occurred at the end of the 3rd quarter when, with seven-tenths of a second left, Ron Artest inbounded a perfect lob to Aaron Brooks for a lay-up over Jordan Farmar, who was caught asleep on the play. Brooks basket made it 83-54 to end the 3rd quarter, the Rockets largest lead of the contest. Game effectively over.

The Lakers were basically caught sleeping from the opening tip, as the Rockets jumped out to a 29-16 first-quarter lead, led by Battier’s 12 points (3-3 from beyond the arc). The Rockets shot 55% to the Lakers 37%, and without Kobe’s 9 first-quarter points, the score would have been even uglier.

You kept expecting the Lakers to finally rouse themselves from their slumber, but with the exception of a spirited 4th quarter when things had long been decided the Lakers never looked like they wanted to be there – like they were ready for the intensity of playoff basketball.

I still can’t quite believe what I witnessed. I feel like I’m in a bit of shock, the reality of the giant egg that the Lakers laid in Game 4 not fully registering yet. As Denver and Cleveland play dominating basketball while cruising to 3-0 series leads, The Lake Show is getting its ass kicked by the Rockets’ JV team.

What the fuck?

In the last installment of this series I had questioned whether or not the Lakers possessed championship balls, but after this disturbing loss, the more pressing question is this:

Do the Purple and Gold have any heart?

More Postcards From LA:
Volume One
Volume Two

The popular Postcards From LA series is back for a 2009 Lakers run at the NBA Championship. As long as the Los Angeles Lakers survive through the 2009 NBA playoffs, Empty the Bench’s West Coast correspondent Christopher Thell will be submitting a local fan’s take on his beloved Lakers’ postseason trials, tribulations and successes.


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