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Saturday, December 26, 2009
Christmas Day loss: Thoughts are shared

By Andy Kamenetzky

I can easily imagine what y'all thought in reaction to the 102-87 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers -- but probably can't print it. But here are some reactions that are "safe for work," as the parlance goes.

As I noted in my postgame analysis, the bad qualities exhibited during this loss were of a "laundry list" variety, but the one that grabbed my attention most was the Lakers' inability to remain composed as things went sideways. It reminded me of the 2008 version of the Lakers, a very good team nonetheless vulnerable to letting the refs get inside their melons.  This observation wasn't lost on the O.C. Register's Kevin Ding, either:.

The Daily News' Elliot Teaford noted how the energy devoted toward barking at refs often bested that put forth against the Lakers' actual opponent:

ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin, also struck by the demonstrative behavior, also wonders if this loss provides a legit reason to question how impressive the Lakers have truly been this season:

Safe to say, PJ will not be alone while keeping this game jammed between his molars. C.A. Clark of Silver Screen and Roll is doing some frantic grinding as we speak:

The game doesn't really provide "pause" for me. There's a long way to go, and good teams will inevitably play badly. This team wasn't "exposed" on some level, in my opinion. They obviously played horribly, but remain the team to beat, even in a media world where the definitive "meaning" and "significance" are sought after every win or loss. It's a viewpoint shared by Forum Blue and Gold's Kurt Helin:

Of course, that doesn't mean issues surfacing or lingering should be ignored. In particular, the bench, which I'm starting to wonder is a legitimate matter of concern. For a while, I've noted how there was too much hysteria over "the reserves blowing leads," when in reality, that was often the result of letting the third string play against a mix of first and second unit opposition. When Odom, Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar, the "for all intents and purposes" Lakers "bench" played with another pair of starters, they were typically fine. These days, however, they, along with Andrew Bynum, have been unreliable and The Daily News' Vincent Bonsignore wonders if it's catching up to the Lakers:

Of the more "mildly disappointing" variety was Ron Artest's performance guarding LeBron James. An assignment that's hardly a walk in the park, to be sure, but Ron Ron has enjoyed success against The King in the past. The Press-Enterprise's Jeffrey Eisenberg nicely summarizes the up and down results:

Of course, it wouldn't be right to focus entirely on the Lakers at the expense of the actual victors. Be sure to check out Cleveland-centric takes from Fear The Sword, Cavs' Blog's John Krolik, ESPN's J.A. Adande and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Beat writer Brian Windhorst predicts a rematch with attitude a two-way street, and wonders if Kobe could be under league review for a sequence involving Mo Williams. You be the judge.

Tip of the cap to the Press-Enterprise for locating the clip.