At long last, I have finally figured out what's wrong with the Lakers.
Nothing. At least nothing that June won't cure. Those little stretches when they lack focus? Those blocks of minutes in games when their minds turn to space dust? The occasional nights when they appear disinterested and disengaged until Kobe rescues them at the end?
This, friends, is called boredom.
The Lakers are so bored right now, they ought to get rid of those folding chairs on their bench and replace them with leather recliners. I bet Barry Bonds can give them a good store reference.
They're so bored, when Pau talks to Kobe on the bench, they're not discussing how to defend the pick-and-roll. Pau is telling him about a delicious paella he makes.
In fact, here's how bored they are: I think I saw a Laker actually reading one of the books Phil gave him.
While comparing the current edition of the Lake Show to prodigal music geniuses might be a stretch, asking the Lakers to be profoundly interested in Golden State, the Clippers and a dozen other teams in the NBA is like asking Mozart or Beethoven to show boisterous enthusiasm for playing "Chopsticks."
It's a good thing Kobe's been smiling so much lately, or is that just a yawn with a lot of teeth?
So the next time they're up 15 and scoring at will on Dallas, then you blink and they're down six, and you wonder what the heck is going on in the name of all that is holy about Zen, I suggest you remember this:
There is nothing wrong with the Lakers that being up 2-1 with a Game 4 on the road in San Antonio in the West finals won't cure.
LeBron and the Cavs in the Finals?
Here's a wild guess they DO get up for that.
-- Ted Green
Ted Green formerly covered the Lakers for the L.A. Times. He is currently Senior Sports Producer for KTLA Prime News.
Photo: Derek Fisher, left, Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom talk on the bench during a blowout win over the Washington Wizards in January. Credit: Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times