The ragged rim of oblivion was now inches from my curling toes. I looked down. My lukewarm sea had swallowed all. A lazy curtain of dust was wafting out to sea, the only trace of all that fell.
Chapter 116: Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
We’ll look back on this year and wonder why we didn’t connect the dots. We were conditioned to believe that road bumps were just part of the journey, not factors that could actually lead to derailment.
I was recalled from this dream by the cry of a darting bird above me. It seemed to be asking me what had happened. “Pootee-phweet?” it asked.
We all looked up at the bird, and then at one another.
Pau Gasol has been hollowed out by unseen specters and by his own defeatism. If this series has taught us anything about the Lakers, it’s just how important an effective Pau Gasol is to the team’s success. The rings in the last two years don’t lie. Gasol was as vital a part of those two campaigns as anyone else. Yeah, he probably hurt his legacy, but he is still one of the finest players in the world at his position. Just wish he could’ve proved it in the most trying moments of his career.
(On a somewhat unrelated note, some of my friends asked me how Gasol would be with Kobe’s indomitable will to win and compete. And all I can picture is a gangly 7-foot vampire demon that can’t stop screaming.)
Pau was hollow. The Lakers have hollowed too. Whatever happened or didn’t happen behind the scenes is of very little consequence at this point. We can only point out what we can see. And we saw unbelievably sluggish, porous, frightened defense. Applaud the out-of-this-world effort from bench warriors J.J. Barea and Jason Terry, two guys that absolutely annihilated the Lakers’ already zombified defense.
There was a sound like that of a gentle closing of a portal as big as the sky, the great door of heaven being closed softly. It was a grand AH-WHOOM.
You know, at one point or another, all of us expected the Lakers to wake up and remember that they were the Lakers. Sometime during Game 4, they did wake up. They realized that they were the Lakers: a tired, tired team chewed up and spit out by the expectation that there was always going to be more glory on the horizon. The sun is melting, not setting. And they’ll have plenty of time to navigate (bump into each other) through the darkness in the offseason.
The sky was filled with worms. The worms were tornadoes.