Like Kyrie Irving probably said to Dennis Schröder a few months back, if you’re looking for me, turn on the playoffs.
Schröder’s Lakers? They’re like Schrödinger’s Cat, simultaneously both sitting at home after being eliminated Thursday night by the Suns, and still in the NBA Finals occurring in the minds of their most dedicated and crazed fans.
Remember all that “Lakers over Nets in five” stuff? That can no longer happen, as Brooklyn fans have been happily processing on Twitter for the past 10 hours.
Brooklyn Nets fans are clowning the Lakers on Twitter.
So, the Lakers are out. Got anymore bright ideas for us?
Sure, LA’s elimination wasn’t that joyous an event. Anthony Davis went down in Game 4, came back for Game 6, and exited the contest almost immediately, unable to contribute. Even from the bench, he might’ve been the team’s most effective player, as the rest of the Lakers’ skeleton went down 36-14 to the Phoenix Suns.
All year long, the NBA world wasted their time waiting for the seventh-seeded Lakers to “turn it on” and reclaim their Bubble glory. Without a healthy Davis and LeBron James, though, there was no “on” to turn.
Though Durant and Bron didn’t even come close to clashing to end this season, Los Angeles was still on every Brooklyn Nets fan’s lips on Thursday night.
But … but I had thought … never mind.
It’s also a particularly nice time to be a gloating Nets fan for one specific reason. Remember all the beautiful, glistening, gorgeous takes about how Brooklyn’s stars missed so many games that there was no chance they’d build enough “chemistry” for a playoff run? How the team was being so cautious with Durant and James Harden specifically that they’d never be able to figure each other out? They’d forget what a basketball was? Whether you throw it or kick it?
Well, though no one can control injuries, and they can derail even the most promising of seasons, it seems the Brooklyn Nets managed their situation … perfectly, and the Lakers did not. After LeBron and AD banged themselves up, LA scuffled to a .500-ish record and was unable to compete in the first round when Davis’ issues flared up again.
So far, no flares for the Nets. Sometimes prioritizing absolute certainty on health is more important than chemistry, which is for talking heads and retired players to blab about at 6 AM on Fox Sports 4.
We have no idea how long the Nets’ run will continue, but it’s quite possible their biggest challenges remaining are in the East.
Milwaukee? Deep roster, playoff resumé full of failures. Philadelphia? No. 1 seed, maybe no Embiid, still a contender-ish.
The West? Is anyone scared of Phoenix, Dallas, Utah, Denver, or the literal Clippers? Thanks, Lakers. You’ve made this whole calculation easier for us.