The underdog Los Angeles Lakers beat the Los Angeles Clippers 116-103 in the season opener last night.
After the game, new Clippers coach Doc Rivers said some things you never hear from teams playing the Lakers.
He said that he failed to convince his players that the Lakers should be taken seriously, and that his Clippers weren’t ready to play.
“We were not ready tonight. I told our guys before the game. Those are pros on the other side and they’ve been told for months how good you’re going to be, how they’re not going to be good and they’re not going to have Kobe and all that stuff. You know they were going to play like this is the world championship, with that type of energy, and we never matched it.”
Those are pros on the other side?
Opposing coaches have had a multitude of challenges when playing the Lakers over the years, but convincing their players that the Lakers actually have NBA-level players hasn’t been one of them until now.
“I told our guys, ‘Tonight we’re fighting human nature.’ I told them, ‘I’m telling you, we’re fighting human nature tonight. That team is coming after you with everything they have, and I don’t know if you can match that.’ And at the end of the day, we did not.”
The implication: The Lakers stink, it’s hard to get pumped up for a team that stinks.
Every NBA expert we’ve seen has picked the Lakers to miss the playoffs (they’re in the bottom 10 of our power rankings). Beyond Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, their roster is filled with old guys (Steve Nash, Chris Kaman), role players who’ve been in and out of the NBA over the last few years (Shawne Williams, Jordan Farmar), and castoffs (Nick Young, Wesley Johnson).
Despite last night’s win, they’re going to struggle this year.
The Lakers were one of the favourites to win the NBA title last year. Now opposing players are going to have to trick themselves into taking them seriously.
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