NBA lockout: Top games that the Lakers miss
Should the NBA lockout persist, I'm going to begin a depressing series (for Lakers fans) that will look at the top games the Lakers will miss.
Sad, I know, but it provides another reminder (if they need one already) that the owners and players union are squabbling away their product. Because of the owners' refusal to compromise and the little leverage that the players union actually has, you can wipe away the Lakers' first eight regular season games. Sure, you can say the games don't matter until the NFL season is over, but that misses the point. As outlined below, clearly there are still entertaining games in November.
1. Oklahoma City (Nov. 1). Well, it is the season opener, so it would've given Laker fans the first impression of how the Mike Brown era would look. Considering Brown's desire to have a faster-paced offense, the young and speedy Thunder would've immediately answered how equipped the Lakers are in handling that tempo.
2. Golden State (Nov. 2). Jerry West would've refused to watch the game because he worried about the outcome. But this time he'll be rooting for the Warriors as a consultant for the team's front office. Coming off their season opener against the Thunder, the Lakers would've immediately realized who stayed in shape this summer.
2.New Orleans (Nov. 6): Chris Paul would've exposed Derek Fisher and Steve Blake at pick-and-roll once again, providing yet two very important reminders: The Lakers need to upgrade at point guard and they need to clear up enough cap space for the Paul free-agency sweepstakes next summer.
3. At Sacramento (Nov. 7): So much for all that nostalgia over the Lakers' 2011 season finale, which many thought would mark the last game at Arco Arena before the franchise moved to Anaheim. That didn't happen, so the Lakers' return might have featured a just-as-enthusiastic fan base and possibly even cowbells.
4. San Antonio (Nov. 9). Usually this would've been the marquee Western Conference matchup. Instead it would've provided a visual reminder that both the Spurs' and Lakers' rosters are too old.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Derek Fisher. Credit: David Karp / Associated Press