THE Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Houston Rockets yesterday in Game One of their second-round NBA Western playoffs at Lake Buena Park, Florida.
Laker fans worried?
Be cool. Relax. New Normal.
Did LeBron James sort of take the day off yesterday, with Los Angeles coach Frank Vogel relenting?
Well, superstars are always treated special, so that with LeBron out somewhere, the Rockets zoomed to a 112-97 victory and an early ego-boosting 1-0 lead.
But knowing LeBron and the Lakers, they will treat the opening game defeat as nothing but a warmup, just a single battle in a war that’s to be won by the team scoring four victories first.
Worry not a thing then, Laker buffs.
Did Los Angeles not do that in the first round, losing the first game against Portland 100-93 before stringing up four straight victories in torrid fashion to easily wrap up a 4-1 series victory?
So, if the Lakers are going to repeat history, be not surprised, fellers.
Been there, done that.
Look, LeBron had 20 points yesterday. Ordinarily, that would have been enough to power the Lakers to victory.
But no, not this time.
And not when James Harden was in his element.
With The Beard barreling through with 36 points on 12-of-20 field goal shooting, the Rockets roared off unstoppably to 19-point margins that proved too much to handle for the totally outgunned Lakers.
LeBron was doing well three fourths of the way, scoring 7-6-7 in each of the first three quarters. He could have easily hit his average of 30-plus points per game if he so desired.
LeBron went scoreless in the fourth quarter, thanks chiefly to the leech-like defense thrown at him by the swarming Rockets led by PJ Tucker.
Vogel was quick to read LeBron’s body language so that with still three minutes left and with Houston toting an impregnable 107-90 advantage, he pulled out LeBron, together with Anthony Davis.
One defeat does not a war make.
Did not the Lakers score a 111-88 rout of Portland in Game Two of their first-round playoffs for the bounce back that triggered a 4-0 sweep in as many games against the Trail Blazers?
Believe in history repeating itself.