Why the Lakers should thank the LA Kings

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Kobe BrantNBA Commissioner David Stern’s scheduling of back-to-back home playoff games for the Los Angeles Lakers-Oklahoma City Thunder series seemed like a death sentence. Although LA LA Land residents have heartedly disagreed, Mr. Stern had no choice but to schedule the Lakers one day after another for the sake of the Los Angeles King’s Stanley Cup title hopes and to allow Los Angeles’ other basketball team to be slaughtered at home by the blood thirty San Antonio Spurs.

The Lakers, and especially Kobe Bryant, finally summoned their championship gusto for longer than a quarter and the results were fantastic. Kobe and company didn’t smash the Thunder by any means, but the important elements of a lethal Lakers team with its back against the wall were there: Pau played aggressively on both offense and defense, Bynum actually hustled back on D and was clearly emotionally engaged in a positive manner, Blake and Sessions contributed when it mattered, and Ron Ron was in full War Chief mode.

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Maybe back-to-back home games are the only thing that can save the Lakers from themselves. Statistically, Kobe plays terribly at Oklahoma and the game’s tempo always seems to be too fast for the aging Purple and Gold. The woes of this playoff run have been no different from the regular season, Los Angeles plays effective, energetic basketball at home and looks bewildered and exhausted when on the road. That being said, using the phrase “home court advantage” for the Lakers would be like calling LeBron’s public relations tactics below average. Lakeshow plays out of their minds when Jack sits court side and Timberlake is too cool to even look at the camera. Bynum even gets his evening lullaby from Mike Brown which makes back-to-back home games a win-win.

The LA Kings sit on the doorstep of the Stanley Cup, needing only six more victories to claim what has never been theirs. The fact that they receive priority scheduling for the Staples Center aides the Lakers in picking up two quick wins without having to think too much. With no off day to dwell on in-game failures, SoCal sports fans need to recognize that two quick wins could jumpstart this Laker team back into title contention. The mental lapses of this Lakers team were all too apparent late in Game 2, with Kobe committing two late turnovers and the defense not shoring up in time to preserve the win. Clearly Los Angeles does not enjoy the splendor of their Oklahoma City hotel. Playing and winning two home games in twenty-four hours, than picking up and leaving to fight again? Forget one nightstand, Hollywood does ‘em in two.

Eric Eulau is an NBA writer for The Sports Blitz.  He can be contacted at EEulau@TheSportsBlitz.com.

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