The Lakers quest to repeat as NBA champions got off to a bumpy start on opening night.
How does a team raise the stakes on trying to repeat as NBA champions? For the Los Angeles Lakers, it seems to be a three-peat that few franchises in professional sports have been able to pull off.
The LeBron Lakers have a chance to be the final piece in a trilogy of iconic teams in franchise history. What started with the Showtime Lakers and was followed by its sequel with the Shaq/Kobe/Phil Jackson stretch could conclude with a bombastic third act that stars LeBron and Anthony Davis piling up accolades and titles.
Trilogies rarely stick the landing, though. For every Godfather Part II there’s a Godfather Part III that is seen less as a conclusion and more as an appendage that could easily be removed. Even The Dark Knight was followed by The Dark Knight Rises, a movie that requires some critical gymnastics to fit with the prowess of its two predecessors.
All of that is to say, the Lakers bubble championship this year is merely the start of what this next evolution of the franchise could be. It’s also a signal that one game into this season is not enough evidence to judge or execute what the Lakers follow-up season could be.
LeBron James had the perfect reaction to opening night loss to Clippers,
There was a lot to unpack from the Lakers opening night loss, but it’s too early to determine whether the struggles were talent-related, fatigue-related, related to the fact that we’re still in a pandemic and there were no fans at Staples Center or a little of everything.
LeBron James acknowledged this after the game as one of the number of things hanging over the night that aren’t usually present for a game.
“It even just felt weird having a basketball game today,” LeBron said. “Now we can move on, we can move on from last year to this season.”https://www.instagram.com/p/ CJI6dhtlxRp/
As far as his ankle, which LeBron tweaked and had to be held out of the critical final eight minutes of the game, it doesn’t seem there’s a fear that it will be too big of an issue moving forward.
LeBron quipped that he’ll drink some wine tonight, which will go directly to his ankle, and make it better.
In reality, he’ll “be around the clock” treating it as he does any injury. “I’ll be fine,” he added.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 23, 2020
Repeating as NBA champions is one of the most difficult tasks a team can set forth to accomplish. Add to the weight of that crown the fact that LeBron James and the Lakers are the ones trying to do it and you have the perfect storm for overreactions to an opening night loss.
But while this season is shorter than usual, there’s still a lot of time for the Lakers to remind everyone that they’re the champions until truly proven otherwise.