Lakers are measured by points on the board -- and in style
You say the Lakers blow big leads, lose focus and suffer from youthful entitlement.
They say one word: scoreboard. We're starting the second week of December with a record of 17-2.
I say: You're both right, but there's one more component that flips me around like a Kobe 180. It borders on ridiculous, but the Lakers are the only team in the NBA, maybe the only team in sports, whose wins are measured almost exclusively by style points.
It's never just: Did they win? It's: Did they win by a large enough margin? Did they hold the lead? Did they play up to their ability or down to their opponent? And was the game aesthetically entertaining, or was it ugly like the win over Milwaukee?
It didn't matter that they beat the Bucks by 13. It's that the East German judge, or an analyst for Fox Sports or some guy on the radio only gave them a 5.3 out of 6.0 for artistic interpretation.
Not even the NBA's current gold standard, the champion Celtics, have their victories analyzed by their stylistic beauty. Boston got the Pacers in OT? Great! Their Chowd Crowd is just happy when they win.
The 2008-09 Lakers, though, apparently are perceived to be so deep and talented that winning isn't enough anymore.
They have to also win big, and they'd better win pretty.
-- Ted Green
Ted Green was a Laker beat writer for the L.A. Times and covered the NBA for the National Sports Daily. He is senior sports producer for "KTLA Prime News."