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When it comes to this game, they get what they give

Yawn. What? This column is starting? Oh, well, OK, whatever.

In Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals Sunday, the Lakers . . . sigh . . . shrug . . . hmmm.

I’m sorry, I just don’t feel like it today.

I know you’re expecting a full column effort, but the Lakers’ opponent was only the devastated Houston Rockets, so why should I have to work hard to write about them?

Why should I put passion into describing a game that the Lakers didn’t show passion in playing?

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They took the day off, so why can’t I?

The Lakers lost, 99-87, after trailing by as many as 29 points to a team playing without Yao Ming or a prayer.

The Lakers lost as if they didn’t care that the series was now two games apiece. The Lakers lost as if they know they can turn it on this week and still survive.

Good point. I’ll write better columns then. This one, like them, I’m sitting out.

Usually, I type 900 words, but, in the spirit of a team that fell behind 19-4 before breaking a sweat, I’m giving you less than half of that.

I’m giving you what Trevor Ariza gave you on the first play of the game, with a halfhearted toss that ended up in the hands of Ron Artest, who stormed down for a layup that gave the Rockets a lead they never lost.

I’m giving you carelussness. I’m giving what the Lakers’ defense gave you on the final play of the third quarter, when Artest threw a half-court alley-oop pass to the 6-foot Aaron Brooks, who laughably scored in the most embarrassing Lakers surrender of many postseasons.

I’m giving you sloppeness. At this point in the column, I know I should be writing quotes and reactions from players. But acquiring that stuff takes effort, an effort that I can expend when the series gets more serious, but not now, why now?

Phil Jackson said he was thrilled to get one win in Houston, an amazing quote from the coach of a supposedly championship-caliber team, but he’s the boss.

So, me too, I’m thrilled I wrote one full story in Houston, and now I’m packing it in, saving it for later, see you back in Los Angeles.

You want intensity in every postseason column, read the Cleveland and Denver writers.

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bill.plaschke@latimes.com


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