Sunday, May 13, 2012

Two words I'd thought I'd never utter in my lifetime.........Go Lakers!

By Kshell

There is a saying that an enemy of my enemy is now my friend. That is how I feel about the second round playoff matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Zombie Sonics. Sports can be funny sometimes but I'd put this in the cruel category where I'm forced to root on a team that growing up was my first sports team I ever hated. Many people make the mistake that the Seattle Supersonics biggest rivals were the Portland Trail Blazers but that simply wasn't the case. Minus the 1978 season neither team was good at the same time. When the Blazers were contenders the Sonics were rebuilders, when the Sonics were contenders the Blazers making the playoffs as a bottom seed. No the Sonics true rivals were the Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz and of course the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers have ended the Sonics season five times in their history including twice in the Western Conference Finals and twice in the 1990's when the Sonics had homecourt advantage in both series. Still the Lakers are the lesser of two evils this series and I'll be rooting for them even though it's going to be painful.

Before I can get into why I'm rooting for the Lakers this series(should be pretty clear) I have to explain why it's so painful. There is a deep playoff background between these teams. Back in 1978 the Sonics who started off 5-17 made the playoffs led by new coach Lenny Wilkens. That would mark the first of three straight years the Sonics-Lakers would face off in the playoffs. In this best of three series the Sonics would earn their first ever playoff series win defeating the Lakers two games to one. In 1979 on their way to the franchises only championship the Sonics faced the Lakers in their first round(actually second as top two seeds received byes) which they won four games to one.  That series though featured two overtime games and four games decided by six points or less which the Sonics won three of them. Then in 1980 the Lakers had a rookie sensation at point guard named Magic Johnson. Despite winning 56 games(four more than their title year) the Sonics lost out on the division title to the Lakers but would square  off with the Lakers in the western conference finals. The defending champs upset the Lakers on their home floor in game one 108-107. Then the Magic dynasty started as the Lakers rattled off four straight wins including the final three by six points or less. That paved way to the 1980's as Magic dominated the league winning three MVP's and five NBA championships including a title that year while going to the NBA Finals eight times that decade. In the 1986-87 season the Sonics who were the 7th seed with a losing record shocked the #2 seeded Dallas Mavericks then #3 seeded Houston Rockets before once again facing Magic and the Lakers. The Lakers swept the Sonics in the Western Conference Finals led by Magic, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and Michael Coopers defense. The Lakers won game one by five points, game two by eight points then game three by a score of 122-121 before blowing out the Sonics in game four. In the 1988-89 season the Lakers swept the Sonics in second round as Magic Johnson would go 3-0 against the Sonics in the playoffs.

In the 1990's Magic Johnson had came down with HIV virus so the Lakers weren't dominant anymore. The Sonics were the new team on the west coast as they swept the Lakers in the regular season five games to zero in the 1993-94 season in earning the top record in the NBA. The Sonics would of course choke in the first round to the Denver Nuggets. The following year Nick Van Exel would become a Sonics killer as the Lakers won four of five in the regular season against the Sonics. The Sonics would face the Lakers as the 4th seed who won 57 games while the Lakers had won just 48. In game one at the Tacoma Dome the Sonics blew out the Lakers 96-71. Then in game two the Lakers had built up an eight point lead then a sudden power outage happened in the Tacoma Dome killing the momentum. When the game resumed the Sonics made a run but would lose 84-82 as the Lakers stole home court. In game three the Sonics would lose 105-101 which had them facing elimination once again. Then in game four the Sonics were up by nine points after the first quarter and led by eight heading into the fourth only to see the Lakers outscore the Sonics 32-20 to end their season 114-110. After the Sonics won the Western Conference title in 1995-96 the Lakers would sign Shaquille O'Neal. In a tight division title race that came down to the final day the Lakers would lose to the Blazers as the Sonics won the division title over the Lakers. Again in the 1997-98 with Shawn Kemp traded everyone expected the Lakers to win the division title. Once again came down to the final day only the Sonics defeated the Blazers in Portland to clinch the division crown for the third straight year and fourth year out of five. Those two teams would square off in the playoffs. The Sonics would win game one at home before losing the final four games to the Lakers which marked the end of the George Karl era in Seattle.

As you can see this Lakers franchise has caused the Sonics fans plenty of grief in thier lifetime. With all that said I'd kill to live those moments again vs the garbage we have to deal with now which isn't having a team. Seeing ESPN jerks posting our stuff as Oklahoma City stuff. I have no choice now to become the type of person that I hated which is cheer on Kobe Bryant and hope the Lakers knock off the Zombie Sonics. The Lakers defeated my team fair and square but what those dirtbags in Oklahoma City did was rip out my heart and now with Durant being so incredibly good like we all knew he would be they are now stomping on my heart  as well. The Lakers have already defeated the Zombie Sonics back in 2010 but this Zombies team is different. The Zombies are trying to take over the Lakers as the premiere team out West since the West has only seen three teams make the NBA Finals since 1999 which is the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. The Zombies are challenging that and hopefully Kobe Bryant still has one last run left in him. This is a great series from a basketball standpoint as you have the estbalished franchise with the established super start going up against the up and coming franchise with the rising super star. Both will be starters this summer on Team USA as well. For now I have to root for the Lakers despite growing up hating that team for breaking my heart in the 1995 playoffs and then putting the final nail in the George Karl era which led to this mess.

At the end of the day in sports when you watch games whether you like to admit it or not you are always rooting for a team. When the Washington State Cougars take on the Oregon Ducks I say "Go Cougs!" as they are the lesser of two evils. In this matchup the Lakers are the lesser of two evils as they didn't pack up and leave my city to some dust bowl in the middle of nowhere. The Zombie Sonics are going to go on a run and the only thing that can prevent that is the Lakers who seem to destroy every young team's chances at making runs. The Lakers since 1980 have won 10 NBA championships and made 16 NBA Finals. They are the most successful franchise in the NBA in the last 30 years and there isn't really a close second. So to this I say Go Lakers proudly! Sure I'll most likely be rooting against them in the Western Conference Finals but for this series I want the Lakers to win. Look they are the lesser of two evils and I encourage everyone in Seattle to hop on the Lakers bandwagon for just this series.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Here's hoping you get an NBA team back in Seattle. The city deserves it!