LeBron clanged two free throws in overtime, and the Lakers blew a six-point lead in the final minute. The Lakers fell to 0-3. If you waste your time on social media, you’d think the sky was falling for the Lakers.
But if you listened to my radio show Saturday, I saw this coming. In fact, it’s likely to get worse. Eight of the Lakers first 11 games are against playoff teams from last year. And more importantly, the two times LeBron has joined new teams – going to Miami, and then back to Cleveland – he’s gotten off to slow starts.
In Miami, LeBron started 9-8 with the Heat. Remember the Erik Spoelstra bump game?
They were fine. Yes, LeBron was younger and the Heat were a much better team, but that’s not the point. The point is new, overhauled rosters take time to gel.
Remember when LeBron went back to Cleveland? Under David Blatt they started 19-20. Yes, LeBron had a few injuries, and missed several games (he took a couple weeks off to go to Miami and came back and the Cavs were suddenly great), but again – new players, new coach, these things take time.
The biggest issue for the Lakers that nobody is talking about: 8 of their first 11 are against playoff teams from last year. And then there’s Denver, which was eliminated on the final night of the regular season.
It’s going to get worse before it gets better.
Patience must be preached.
Yes, the Lakers loss to the Spurs stings. Badly. They were down 18 in the first quarter without two starters (Rondo, Ingram), and then there was foul trouble to the only 7-footers on the roster. LA was getting killed inside by LaMarcus Aldridge (37 points).
The Lakers had to play an undrafted rookie who was just cut last week, Johnathan Williams, for 14 minutes! If you’re looking for a silver lining, he was surprisingly great: eight points, four rebounds, three blocks.
If LeBron doesn’t miss those free throws, and the Lakers win, what’s the narrative? Kuzma scored 37! The Lakers overcame an 18-point deficit! Williams can help this team! Josh Hart scored 20 points and had 10 rebounds!
Finally: There’s urgency in the NFL because the schedule is only 16 games. With 82 games, there’s less urgency in the NBA. Every 5.1 NBA games are the equivalent of one NFL game. So the Lakers are maybe midway through the third quarter of their NFL opener. Panicking is counterproductive.