Best 8 Seed Ever

Blazers 100 Lakers 93

Jim Rome
August 19, 2020 - 9:21 am
Carmelo Anthony

USA Today

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I have to start the show today with a quick check-in. Laker fans, how y’all livin? What is your head telling you right now? Better yet, where the hell are your car flags right now? If you’re staying at home, have you converted them to house flags?

I ask because last night’s Game 1 against Portland didn’t go well. At all. That was LA’s first playoff game in seven years but it looked like it had been 70 years. And so much for the idea that the seeding games were just about getting loose and they’d just throw the switch as the conference’s top seed when the playoffs began. Because last night, they flipped the switch and nothing happened. In fact, I’m sure they even knew where the hell the switch was. 

The Blazers, on the other hand, didn’t have to flip a switch. This wasn’t a case of them leaving the hotel and jumping into a fight. They’ve already been in fighting; and they’ve been carving fools. And they just kept rolling. Be ready so you don’t have to get ready. And they were ready.

They got out quickly and led by double-digits in the first quarter. Not that they didn’t know about the Blazers: not that they didn’t know how bad a match this was for them: and that Portland ain’t no 8: the Lakers knew all that, yet still jumped out to a 16 deficit.   And it looked for a moment like Portland might run LA right out of the building. The Lakers were out of sync and the Blazers, meanwhile, who were missing Zach Collins, were handling business at both ends. 

Then late in the first, when the Lakers needed a jolt, there was only one place to turn.  Not to LeBron. Not to A.D. not even to Kyle Kuzma.  Nope, when they absolutely need a jolt, they know where to go to get it Alex Caruso aka AC Fresh. 

Damn, dude goes hard to the rack every time. And yes, I talk about this guy. A lot. Sort of reminds me of back in the day, when some clone rolled up on jungle favorite Terrell Buckley and asked him, “T buck, man, why is Rome always talking about you on his show,” which produced T’bucks famous line, “I don’t know man. He just loves me.”  Right. Same with AC Fresh. Have never even spoken to the dude, I just love him. And so do the Lakers, because that woke them the hell up: They went on a run in the second quarter and were down just one going into halftime.

At that point, Laker fan, you had to be feeling pretty good. Just had to get loose. Knock off a little rust and adjust to the speed and intensity of playoff ball. Hell, the Blazers have already been living that life for weeks. And their defense was better in the second quarter, guys hit a few shots, and you were thinking, we’ve got this. We’ll just Nate Diaz this thing in the second half. 

Great theory. Works for my man Nate. But not for the Lakers. Because that didn’t happen. First of all, the Lakers didn’t have any good bleep and they couldn’t hit anything. Couldn’t make a damn shot. Inside the arc. Outside the arc. Or from the free throw line.  In fact, there really wasn’t anyone in Laker gear not named LeBron, who didn’t look shaky. Especially Danny Green who finished 4-12 from the field. And for his sake, I hope he didn’t reach for his phone after the game because social media has comments.  Lots and lots of comments.  Including this from Eagles receiver Desean Jackson.

I don’t care what anybody say: “You out there playing like a bum” will always make me laugh. And no, that is not opening the door for a particular type of smack. That’s not happening. Not now, not ever. But saying he’s weak as bleep, playing like a bum and quote get him off the team is hilarious to me.  And so is Jackson saying that green is quote, straight up trash.

But as bad as Green was from the field, he wasn’t alone.

Kyle Kuzma: 5 for 14

KCP: 0 for 9

Anthony Davis: 8 for 24, including 0 for 5 from three. I know he had 28 on the night, but I’m guessing if you asked Terry Stotts before the game, he would’ve been pumped to know that Davis would take and miss five threes.

Again Laker fan, you can tell yourself it’s just one game, and that you were already expecting a long series. That’s fine. Just tell me it was just bad night shooting it. Because it wasn’t. That’s who they are. Or at least that’s who they’ve been since arriving in Orlando: they just can’t shoot it. In the seeding games, the Lakers were dead last among all teams invited to Orlando in three point shooting percentage. And then last night, they went 5 for 32 from deep. According to ESPN, that is the second-lowest 3-point percentage by a team with at least 30 3-point attempts in a playoff game in NBA history.

And….and…They scored 93 points against a team that hasn’t held an opponent to less than 100 points since January 7th.  I’m not saying that’s a reason to smash that panic button; but better know where the hell that button is. 

Why? Because of this.

And this,

And down the stretch, when it wasn’t Dame Time, it was Melo Time

Or Gary Trent Junior Time.

If you don’t know by now, you should: The Blazers are good. Damn good. And dangerous as hell. The baddest 8 seed in the history of the world. 

But it’s not just that they are good, they are tough as hell. And brass as hell. They will hit big shots in your face and then dance to Too Short. And yes, that was a really strange moment for the arena DJ to be bumping the pride of Oakland after a huge Dame shot in what was supposed to be a Lakers home game. 

But to paraphrase my man Corey Zickafoose, it’s the bubble. That’s the way it is sometimes.

What happened before the bubble, or what would’ve happened outside the bubble, doesn’t matter. All that matters is the bubble.

There were plenty of chances where Portland could’ve folded last night. Plenty of times where the Lakers went on a run to tie it or take the lead, but Portland never blinked.  Then they finished. I told you yesterday Portland would give the Lakers hell. And they did. They are. And y’all better settle in because we’re going to be here for a while; this is going to be a long ass series and sure, I get that it’s not the first one to one, it’s the first one to four, but if there’s still anyone out there who doesn’t think Portland has what it takes to do that, than you either you haven’t been paying attention or have never seen a basketball game. These dudes are no joke: you tell me, who looked like the one and who looked like the 8. The Lakers have a day to get right; and they better; because if they fall behind 2-0, they’re not beating these guys four of the next five. I can guarantee that.