31 NBA Finals appearances.
8 regular season and 12 Finals MVPs.
21 members of the Hall of Fame.
A 440-293 all time record in the playoffs since the team first dominated the state of Minnesota 64 years ago.
The San Antonio Spurs do not have the heritage of the Lakers, garnering four championships since joining the NBA in 1976. Yet, their 120-89 drubbing of LA at Staples on Friday night not only gives them a 3-0 lead in the first round, best-of-seven series, but also a shot at the O’Brien the Lakers aspired to when they traded for their roster to begin the season. The debacle stands as the single worst loss at home in the playoffs in the history of the franchise, replacing the 29-point loss at the hands of the Portland Trailblazers in the 2000 playoffs.
Injuries haunted the Lakers all season. Without the Steves, Nash and Blake, and Jodie Meeks, LA relied upon a backcourt drafted in the second round, one languishing on the end of the bench for the second half of the season, and the other dominating the D-League as their reigning MVP. Between Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock, the guards took the court with next to no playoff experience and each registered career-highs in scoring. Despite their combined 44 points, representing 49% of the Lakers total offense, they couldn’t help their club overcome the surging Spurs. It begs the question what they might have done with regular minutes throughout the season against the sub-.500 teams the Lakers often played down to. Pau’s 3rd triple-double in six games, 11 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists and Dwight’s 25 point and 11 rebounds, both impressive considering the entire Spurs’ defense strives to limit their effectiveness, couldn’t stop the destruction.
Parker scored 20 and dimed 7. Duncan missed only four shots on his way to 75% from the field, netting 26 points and 9 rebounds. The Spurs bench, sparked again by Manu Ginobili and his steadily improving health, obliterated the abridged LA pine, 46-9. The Spurs shot 61% from the field and defeated the Lakers in every conceivable category, from rebounds, 49-35, to fast break points, 19-6.
It was a complete dismantling.
The media kindly only asked MDA three post-game questions before letting him run home crying.
On Sunday, the Lakers can avoid a sweep, now that their backcourt has a taste for the playoffs, through sheer courage and determination. A little bit more defense would help as well, but that goes without saying. This will be a chance for the players to audition for what will certainly be a roster-wide spring-cleaning, especially due to the earlier than planned summer vacation. A chance for the coach to limit the bellow of the “We want Phil” chants that echoed momentarily in the 3rd and 4th quarter from the rafters to the floor. With so many questions looming in the off-season as to exactly how this Laker team will look, the only answer to one more day in the sun is a win, or a commute home.