Lakers lose opener, pressure builds
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES — The pressure was on Mike Brown yet again on Tuesday night, his new-look Los Angeles Lakers finally taking the floor in the regular season for all the basketball world to see.
There was 24-7 attention coming his way as it was, with nonstop hype surrounding his dream team of future Hall of Famers like Kobe Bryant and new additions Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. But right about the time Brown spoke with the media before tipoff, a bit of irony crept into the picture that only compounded the matter: his most prized former player from his Cleveland Cavaliers days, that reigning MVP known as LeBron James, was collecting the sort of hardware that he is expected to earn this season during a ring ceremony with the Miami Heat.
Brown and the Lakers know they’ll all be deemed failures if they don’t unseat the champs and earn the Lakers’ 17th crown. And Brown, whose team did little to relieve any of the pressure with a helter-skelter 99-91 loss to the Dirk Nowitzki-less Dallas Mavericks in the opener, swears he’s ready for this ride that has officially begun.
“I think (former baseball manager) Tony LaRussa said it best one time,” Brown told USA TODAY Sports. “He said ‘Pressure is lack of preparation.’ So I feel like I’m prepared. I feel like we’re prepared, so maybe that helps out.
“To me, I felt more pressure going into the season last year. It wasn’t from the standpoint from the team or anything like that, but because of the (lockout) shortened season. I really didn’t know these guys. I didn’t know the media, or anybody in town, so there were a lot of things that I had to get used to while coaching the team for the first year. But I wanted that (Lakers pressure). I wanted that. I had other opportunities to go other places, but I wanted that.”
If Brown is crazy enough to read the clips when he wakes up Wednesday morning, there’s little doubt he’ll see the sort of knee-jerk reaction from the media and fans that will be the norm all season … [For more on Kobe Bryant, Lakers lose opener, pressure builds on Mike Brown, click here.]