Nov 10, 2010, 6:50 PM EDT
The Miami Heat have had their ups and downs over the first eight regular-season games, but at least they can take some credit for the Los Angeles Lakers’ absolute dominance in the early part of the NBA season. That probably wouldn’t cheer Miami up, of course, but Magic Johnson says it’s the truth:
Magic Johnson knows why the Lakers are off to an 8-0 start.
“Thanks to Miami,” the Lakers legend said, smiling in a corridor underneath Staples Center on Tuesday.
Johnson said owner Jerry Buss decided to spend money this off-season when it became apparent the Miami Heat would try to become a power team by adding LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
“I don’t think the mind-set would have been the same if Miami hadn’t done what it did, because what Miami did sparked everybody,” said Johnson, a Lakers vice president who just sold his share of the team ownership.
“It sparked Dr. Buss, because, remember, he was going to cut back but he decided to spend the money, so give him a lot of credit, and then it just trickled all the way down. I think it sparked Phil [Jackson] too, and especially the best player in the world. Kobe [Bryant] has now got everybody else on the same page.”
A lot of people expected the Lakers to rest on their laurels a bit in the regular season, be limited by age and injury, and ultimately try to “flip the switch” in the playoffs, but that hasn’t been the case; the two-time defending champs have been playing like they have a lot to prove and proving it. The Heat explanation for that drive seems as good as any to me.