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Do the Lakers have to beat the Spurs tonight?

Feb 3, 2011, 6:49 PM EDT

Lakers introduction

If the Lakers lose tonight, there will be full-fledged panic on the part of Lakers fans. You should hear talk radio in Los Angeles today, where the idea of the Lakers trading for Carmelo Anthony is getting serious discussion.

(Two quick thoughts here Lakers fans: 1. The Nuggets want draft picks, great young players and cap relief and you can offer little of any of it; 2. Can you imagine the 10-of-50 shooting nights that Anthony and Kobe Bryant could put up? I don’t think they fit well at all.)

Thursday night’s Lakers game against the Spurs has been hyped as a measuring stick game for Los Angles. The thinking goes the real Lakers will show up now or drastic measures are needed. If the Lakers — already just 1-5 against the league’s elite with stinkers against the Heat on Christmas and the Celtics last week — lay another egg, it will be seen as a sign of the end times. Even though the Lakers are two-time defending champs.

The game is a measuring stick, but a small one. Here are two things we know.

First, the Spurs are executing at a much higher level than the Lakers right now. If the playoffs started today, the Spurs would and should be favorites. Win or lose their reputation is secure. Today they are the better basketball team.

Second, that has little meaning come May.

We did a story months ago talking to scouts and the perception of many around the league hasn’t changed — the Lakers are the only team in the West that can beat the Lakers. The Spurs are better than expected, they have proven championship mettle, but the biggest threat to the Lakers remains the Lakers and their attitude.

The Lakers don’t need to hit the panic button, they need to stop hitting the snooze button.

Clearly those around the Lakers are trying to get them to wake up. Mitch Kupchak is talking trades. Magic Johnson is on board. Jerry West is calling them old. Jerry Buss is showing up to practice.

Those are the signs of a team that is concerned. But when you’ve won back-to-back titles and been to three straight finals, you get some benefit of the doubt. You don’t blow the team up midseason. Unless the deal is too good to pass up.

And while in a season when Gilbert Arenas being traded proves nothing is impossible, the Lakers being able to make any significant moves with the players they have is sitting right next to impossible with its arm around it.

The thing Lakers fans really need to hope for is that the team wakes up. Maybe Thursday against the Spurs.

  1. basketballexpert - Feb 3, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    “they have proven championship metal” – shouldn’t that be championship mettle? Unless you mean the Spurs have rings and the rings are “metal.”

    “2. Can you imagine the 10-of-50 shooting nights that Anthony and Kobe Bryant could put up? I don’t think they fit well at all.” –
    Your hypothesis is wrong. Carmelo Anthony would be much more efficient on the Lakers and in the triangle (think Team USA). The real problem is that Anthony doesn’t actually solve any of the Lakers problems (youth, speed, defense). Anthony is certainly younger than Artest but the Lakers need more of a transfusion than 1 player. Anthony is also not known for his defense, and isn’t one who can solve the Lakers problem of slowing down great point guards. Where would Anthony’s shots come from? The Lakers already have Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom who have no problem scoring the basketball. Would Anthony really want to share shots with those 4 while taking a back seat to Bryant and Gasol? Additionally, any player coming in the triangle offense wouldn’t have time to digest the whole offense essentially putting the Lakers well behind the Spurs, Mavericks, and Thunder.

    Sorry fellow Laker fans but there is no magic bullet to solve the Laker ills. They need to complete the season with the players they have and maximize their roster. Matt Barnes returning will help but it is looking more and more like Blake wasn’t the upgrade over Farmar most Laker fans envisioned. The Lakers do need to start looking for the star of the future but that player isn’t Carmelo Anthony. At least not now.

    • basketballexpert - Feb 4, 2011 at 4:18 AM

      “they have proven championship metal” – shouldn’t that be championship mettle? Unless you mean the Spurs have rings and the rings are “metal.”

      “2. Can you imagine the 10-of-50 shooting nights that Anthony and Kobe Bryant could put up? I don’t think they fit well at all.” –
      Your hypothesis is wrong. Carmelo Anthony would be much more efficient on the Lakers and in the triangle (think Team USA). The real problem is that Anthony doesn’t actually solve any of the Lakers problems (youth, speed, defense). Anthony is certainly younger than Artest but the Lakers need more of a transfusion than 1 player. Anthony is also not known for his defense, and isn’t one who can solve the Lakers problem of slowing down great point guards. Where would Anthony’s shots come from? The Lakers already have Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom who have no problem scoring the basketball. Would Anthony really want to share shots with those 4 while taking a back seat to Bryant and Gasol? Additionally, any player coming in the triangle offense wouldn’t have time to digest the whole offense essentially putting the Lakers well behind the Spurs, Mavericks, and Thunder.

      Sorry fellow Laker fans but there is no magic bullet to solve the Laker ills. They need to complete the season with the players they have and maximize their roster. Matt Barnes returning will help but it is looking more and more like Blake wasn’t the upgrade over Farmar most Laker fans envisioned. The Lakers do need to start looking for the star of the future but that player isn’t Carmelo Anthony. At least not now.

  2. hnirobert3 - Feb 3, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    Uhhh, is this an elimination game in the playoffs?

    Then no.

  3. db105 - Feb 4, 2011 at 5:45 AM

    It takes a basketball fan to overvalue a game in Feb or a basket before 160th point of a game.

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