Maybe it was time to hit the eject button on Mike Brown after just five games.
Maybe, as Charles Barkley said, you want your CPA to come from Princeton, not your offense.
Maybe that pocketful of magic beans in Mike D’Antoni’s pocket will make Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Metta World Peace look younger, make the bench deeper and make everything right in the Lakers’ world again.
Or maybe, just maybe, we’ve just forgotten that we’ve seen this all before and not so long ago, spelled: H-E-A-T.
It was Nov. 27, 2010 when the Mavs hung a 106-95 whipping on the Heat that prompted a players-only post-game meeting in the visitors locker room at Dallas. That was the fourth loss in five games for the Heat, dropped their record on the season to 9-8 and led to…what?
Well, first a 12-game winning streak. Then 21 wins in 22 games. Then a date with the Mavs in The Finals in June, where they came up just short. Then the coronation 12 months later. And now to this point barely two years later, where LeBron James collects Player of the Week honors, not to mention MVP awards, like a cashmere sweater picks up cat hair.
Dwyane Wade chuckles now at the memories of the house supposedly being on fire when the Miami Big Three didn’t fit immediately together like a set of Russian nesting dolls from opening night.
“There’s excitement, of course,” he said. “And there’s a lot of anticipation about what can be possible. But really, a lot of things tend to get ahead of themselves. I guess, when you think about it, those things are only natural. Now looking back, you see how unrealistic a lot of things are in the early days. But I guess it doesn’t stop everybody from doing it all over again and making the same mistake with expectations.”
The Heat watch now from their champion’s perch a continent away and nod their heads in recognition at the echo chamber of discontent that reverberates around the Lakers. Dwight Howard tries to fit in. Nash gets hurt. Bryant seethes. Brown gets fired. Phil Jackson gets teased. D’Antoni moves in.
The difference in Miami is that there were no significant injuries among the Big Three and Heat management resisted the urge from some fans and media to push coach Erik Spoelstra over the edge.
“That was one of the hardest parts, listening to the criticism of him,” Chris Bosh said. “Really, there’s only so much you can do as a player. You take care of your business. You do your job.
“You hear all of the talk that’s going on on the outside and you try to ignore it, but that’s not always easy. There are decisions that aren’t yours and that you have no control over. All we focused on was playing basketball and just the day to day struggles that we had on the court, each game, each possession. That was enough.
“People in management are gonna make their decisions and you have to live with them and make them work.”
In the case of the Lakers, they were trying to put in a new and radically different offense under Brown and now they’re doing it all over again with D’Antoni.
“You know it’s gonna take time, no matter how great you are,” Wade said. “Even if you start off the season on fire, there’s going to be a period of time during the year when you’re going to have to finally figure each other out.
“That’s every team, even this team. We’re a different team. We’ve got a lot of the same personnel, but we still got to figure out our game as we add new pieces to our team. So all this talk about the Lakers. The Lakers will be fine. I’m not concerned about that at all.
“Obviously, when (D’Antoni) he was in Phoenix he gave Nash the ball. They put the right personnel around him, a lot of shooters, and Nash is one of the best pick-and-roll players of all time and he let him be that.
“It will be a little bit different dynamic now. He will probably have to use a little bit more brain power to see how he can get Nash to be Nash and still (fit) with the other elements that they have. He has a tough job ahead of him, but I’m sure he’s excited with the opportunity he gets to be with America’s Team.”
The eye roll and the sarcasm that dripped off the last remark was unmistakable. The Heat took their lumps, survived and thrived in spite of them and, while recognizing many of the same early problems for the Lakers, are hardly sympathetic.
“You know, when we (were) going through what we (were) going through, no one really cared about us,” James said. “So I don’t really worry about other teams.”
Maybe it’s as jarring as firing a coach after five games.
Maybe it’s the magnification of all things Lakers.
Maybe it’s the attention-deficit times we live in the simply make us forget.
“It’s not just as easy as putting the players together and saying, ‘Go win,’ ” said Bosh. “There’s a period when it doesn’t look right. I’m think over the summer everybody knew it was going to be like that from the get-go. Didn’t they?”