The Lakers’ 2020 title had a cost. In 2021, they had to pay it

Editor’s note: This is the Friday June 11 edition of the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter from reporter Kyle Goon. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.

There was a streak I was really proud of last season: In every series the Lakers played, I correctly guessed that they would win, and they number of games they’d win in. I had them over Portland in five; Houston in five; Denver in five; Miami in six. By now, many Lakers fans have those series, and those numbers, encoded into their memories. 

Trying to extend that streak this season, I gave a rather wobbly prediction in which I tried to string together as many qualifiers as I could, but ultimately had to put it on the line: Lakers in six over the Phoenix Suns. We know how that turned out.

But I made one accurate prediction back in November as the NBA cleared the way for another season on short turnaround: 

I’ve been asked many times if I think the Lakers’ championship, which saw them finish their season 353 days after they played their first regular-season game, deserves an asterisk. Considering the challenges put in their path, my unconditional answer is no. But with an upcoming season that could see stars sidelined with COVID-19; teams with uncomfortable discrepancies in games played; a lacking sense of rhythm and reliability – how does the 2020-21 champion avoid an asterisk?

The asterisk part was a little over-the-top. This year’s NBA champion will have survived a grueling season, with mind-numbing restrictions, injuries and unpredictability. They’ll have weathered fan-less arenas, and then dealt with the perhaps more fraught prospect of fans (and their bad behavior) returning. This year’s champion will deserve a true crown, free of the hypotheticals that, frankly, dog every season since the inception of the sport.

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For the Lakers, however, this season was added to the cost of the last one. 

This is not a space to excuse the Lakers. At this point, the Lakers’ issues of chemistry and fit were so profound, it’s hard to see them repeating their march to a championship like the cohesive, business-like unit that won the 2020 title. But there is a larger point: Maybe it was never in the cards at all, and that has a lot to do with the owners’ and players’ decision to push forward into this season without …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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