The Tiger’s Stripes: Why the Lakers Will Not Repeat as NBA Champions
There is a saying that “A tiger doesn’t change its stripes,” which basically means that you shouldn’t expect tomorrow to be materially different than today is and yesterday was.
In the real world, this means that we become by virtue of manifesting and executing a daily practice, such that the journey is a consistent buildup to the destination that we desire to reach.
This truth leads me to conclude – painfully and reluctantly; for I am a dedicated Lakers fan – that the Los Angeles Lakers will not repeat as NBA Champions this year.
By contrast, the very same assessment that I am making now – that a tiger does not change its stripes – is what gave me unwavering confidence that the Lakers would prevail last year (see HERE).
In a nutshell, last year when it got to crunch time in the playoffs - the Houston, Denver and Orlando series all were marked by Serious Challenges - I just knew that the Lakers would get it done. And they did, delivering Catalytic Moments when it counted.
How was this know-able? The bottom line is that last year, when it counted, down the stretch, second half, and most importantly, in Big Games across the board - Home and Road - they rose to the occasion.
This year, they have not proven that they are better than a .500 team in big games, and they are especially unreliable on the road.
Last year, they exhibited something that I came to call an Anaconda Squeeze, which was a decisive point in the second-half of games where they squeezed the life out of the competition through a combination of offensively-disruptive defense and an offensive stampede on the other side of the ball.
Beyond the point differential such a run would manifest, it was demoralizing to the competition and gave the Lakers a sense that they could and would deliver a knockout punch.
This year, I truly could pick the team apart on a number of levels, including lack of chemistry, injuries, the absence of a productive point guard, a bench that simply didn’t show up, not being hungry enough, failing to bring it every night, an up and down year for Kobe, etc.
But the bottom line is that a tiger doesn’t change its stripes.
Last year, this truth was Success Incarnate. This year, unfortunately, the opposite is true.