Super team's been a super bust in L.A.


Super team's been a super bust in L.A.

The Los Angeles Lakers (17-24) are sinking fast despite a slew of splashy offseason moves that included adding the best center in the NBA, Dwight Howard, and two-time league MVP Steve Nash to pair with perennial All-Stars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

As it turns out, it was another one of those too-good-to-be-true Hollywood stories.

Bringing together all that talent under one payroll is the sort of fantasy-league move you tend to find with the New York Yankees, who have made putting together the glitziest roster an every-year thing. It explains why the Yanks are consistently in the hunt to win the World Series.

But the Lakers aren't the Yankees, especially when it comes to building a super team. Because what L.A. has built is, well, not so super.

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It's easy to see why the Lakers thought it would succeed. It has in the past, especially in recent years in the NBA.

The Boston Celtics were going nowhere fast until they pulled off a draft-night deal in 2007 for Ray Allen, then traded for Kevin Garnett just a few weeks later and paired those two with perennial All-Star Paul Pierce.

That catapulted the Celtics from being a league joke into a juggernaut that brought home the franchise's 18th NBA title in 2008 and has them among the winningest NBA teams ever since.

Just a few years later, the Miami Heat took a page from the C's and added LeBron James and Chris Bosh to a roster that already included Dwyane Wade.

The Heat's Big Three have had two full seasons under their belt together, advancing to the NBA Finals each time and winning it all last year.

So the Lakers' thinking in itself isn't flawed.

It worked in Boston. It worked in Miami.

Why can't it work in La La land, too?

But as we have seen in the NBA and other sports, simply bringing a bunch of really good players together isn't enough.

Remember the "Dream Team?"

No, Not Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and John Stockton in the too-short shorts.

We're talking about the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, who, in leading up to the 2011 season, were dubbed the "Dream Team" by backup quarterback Vince Young.

(Note to self: Ignore hype when promoted by a backup.)

The Eagles added high impact players like cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to a team that already had a significant amount of in-house talent.

They were Super Bowl-bound, right?

Not exactly.

Not only were they not the last team standing, they didn't even make the playoffs . . . which will, in all likelihood, also be the Lakers' fate.

As much as the formation of super teams garners headlines, attracts web hits and generates interest, it in itself won't win a championship.

Superstar players have a certain role they must play. But in competing for a championship, you also have to have role players who are superstars in that role.

The Celtics had James Posey and Eddie House. The Heat had Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem.

The Lakers have . . . nobody.

And when you throw in the fact that the Lakers had no idea Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard would struggle playing with one another -- that's one the reasons Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni has Gasol come off the bench instead of starting -- it all adds up to a team that, instead of competing with the Miamis, Oklahoma Citys and San Antonios of the world, will be fortunate to leap-frog clubs like Denver and Utah just to get into the playoffs.

That's further proof that not all super teams are alike, or can win at a high level. Which is a Hollywood story the Lakers never intended to write.

Tyronn Lue says Celtics harder to defend than Warriors: 'They're running all kinds of s---'

Tyronn Lue says Celtics harder to defend than Warriors: 'They're running all kinds of s---'

The Golden State Warriors are the least of Tyronn Lue's worries, Cleveland Cavaliers coach explained Tuesday.

Even though Lue and the Cavs are up 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals, he is apparently overwhelmed with the Boston Celtics to the point where he isn't even thinking about Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the 67-win Warriors.

"We're just focused on Boston," Lue said of the Warriors following the Cavs' Game 4 win, via "The stuff they're running, it's harder to defend than Golden State's [offense] for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it's a totally different thing."

No, seriously.

"Like, they hit the post, Golden State runs splits and all that stuff, but these guys are running all kinds of s---," Lue said of Boston coach Brad Stevens' schemes. "I'll be like, 'F---.' They're running all kinds of s---, man. And Brad's got them moving and cutting and playing with pace, and everybody is a threat. It's tough, you know, it's tough."

Without Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics finished Game 4 with four players who had 15 points or more. They also had six players who scored double digits in Boston's Game 3 win. Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk, Jae Crowder and Al Horford have made heavy offensive contributions. And they not just scoring. The Celtics are working hard off the ball by setting screens and cutting to the hoop to pressure the Cavaliers defense.

The Celtics may not have the Warriors' star power -- but Stevens and Boston are still managing to leave Lue in a state of clear befuddlement after a win.

LeBron James praised Stevens more directly when discussing how the Celtics "run different things" after losing Thomas to injury.

"So they had to kind of reshape, and that’s the beauty of having Brad Stevens as your coach," James told reporters. "You’re able to reshape what you do offensively and still be in a good rhythm. It’s been challenging for us to kind of — plays out of time-out, kind of been killing us on ATOs and keeping us off balance, but in the second half we kind of got a little bit of rhythm, and think we’ll be better in Game 5."