Latest Stories

One Game At A Time

Proud Lakers stuck in unfamiliar mud


DR. RICKY Choa at Cardinal Santos Hospital in Greenhills, San Juan, looks after my midlife health concerns: the usual blood sugar, cholesterol and uric acid levels that one has to be concerned with after years of stress and mindless eating. His help keeps my blood chemistry in check but his bigger worry right now has nothing to do with me.

“You haven’t written about my Lakers,” he says as we completed my yearend check-up recently.

Choa is a knowledgeable sports fan who can talk boxing and basketball at length. When I visit him, I try to be the first caller so that there’s time to talk sports, long before his other patients line up.

This is perhaps not the best time to catch up with the popular team as they are mired near the bottom of the Western Conference with only 10 wins in 24 games. A recent 102-96 win against the Washington Wizards snapped a four-game skid, coming after a horrendous loss to the rampaging New York Knicks.

It doesn’t help LA that Steve Nash and Pau Gasol are in civvies nursing injuries. The Lakers are a team too reliant on Kobe Bryant, who must not only score but lead the team as well as a point guard and as motivator.

No matter how brilliant Bryant is, NBA defenses will find a way to shut down his less productive teammates. Bryant is thus forced to work double time and he is not exactly a spring chicken anymore.

Two things must be considered in evaluating the dire straits the Lakers are in right now. First, the potential of the Bryant-Nash-Gasol and Dwight Howard unit has not been seen or felt yet because of the injuries that have happened to Nash first and then to Gasol.

To get dividends out of this unit, even if the members are not exactly in the prime of their careers, is for them to have time to play together in actual game situations. They have never really had the chance to do this for a long stretch.

The great combinations of recent vintage also took time to click: LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade at Miami and Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce at Boston needed games and bonding time to get their acts together.

The current Lakers concoction, although a box-office lure and a potentially strong basketball unit, hasn’t had the benefit of time.

Second, coach Mike D’Antoni joined the team when it was already reeling and did not have any preseason camp to put in his system. It was similar to jumping on a train wreck that was about to happen.

D’Antoni has had success with the Phoenix Suns and the Knicks with a run-and-gun, three-point shooting approach. Those are teams he had time to work with before the games began.

His reputation as a winner and conductor of exciting basketball suited to the Lakers Hollywood context helped secure the call slip for this job. But he can’t be expected to be a surgeon that can easily nip the problem in the bud by just taking out what ails the team.

He will need time and a healthy bunch of reliables, especially Nash, to turn things around at LA.

This is what Lakers fans like Dr. Choa are hoping to happen before the season runs out of games and the team is unable to unloosen itself from the mud it is in at the bottom of the team standings.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More from this Column:

    Recent Stories:

    Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

    Tags: Basketball , Commentary , NBA

    Copyright © 2014, .
    To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
    Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
    c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
    1. Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
    2. Freddie Roach: I’m satisfied; Manny Pacquiao did well
    3. My ideal weight is 140, declares Pacquiao
    4. After Pacquiao, BIR chief Henares runs after boxing fans
    5. Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
    6. Ginebra’s new import Freeman arrives, makes PBA return vs ROS
    7. Wrestling star Ultimate Warrior’s cause of death revealed
    8. Mommy Dionisia explains ‘vodoo’ act vs Bradley
    9. Pacquiao: I’m ready for Mayweather bout
    10. San Miguel Beer clinches 2nd spot after comeback win over Air21
    1. ‘Mommy D’ steals show as son fights
    2. Pacquiao wins unanimous decision vs Bradley to reclaim WBO title
    3. Pacquiao: I’m ready for Mayweather bout
    4. Manny Pacquiao: I’ll have everything back
    5. Mommy Dionisia explains ‘vodoo’ act vs Bradley
    6. Pacquiao punching power ‘way harder’ in first fight—Bradley
    7. Wrestling star Ultimate Warrior’s cause of death revealed
    8. My ideal weight is 140, declares Pacquiao
    9. Pacquiao ‘strong, faster’ for tiff
    10. Bradley to Pacquiao: You better be ready
    1. ‘Mommy D’ steals show as son fights
    2. Pacquiao wins unanimous decision vs Bradley to reclaim WBO title
    3. Pacquiao: I’m ready for Mayweather bout
    4. Mayweather surprise visitor to Bradley camp
    5. Bradley won’t last distance– Peñalosa
    6. Manny Pacquiao: I’ll have everything back
    7. Mommy Dionisia explains ‘vodoo’ act vs Bradley
    8. Pacquiao punching power ‘way harder’ in first fight—Bradley
    9. Wrestling star Ultimate Warrior’s cause of death revealed
    10. Tapering off: Pacquiao already at 147 lb


  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • Marketplace