Blog Entry

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: Lakers coming apart

Posted on: May 5, 2011 2:38 am
Lakers begin tearing at each other, down 2-0 to Dallas. But can they respond?
Posted by Matt Moore

After the Lakers' 93-81 loss to the Mavericks, going down 2-0, Andrew Bynum said that the Lakers have "trust issues."  Magic Johnson, a member of the Lakers' front office, the biggest Lakers booster you'll find, is talking about chances being slim and the Lakers pointing fingers. Kobe Bryant was the voice of reason post-game, talking about how the trust issues are on defensive communication, and how everyone is "tripping" when they just need to go win a game. 

But there is trouble in the land of the champs. And the fact remains that the Lakers are no longer trying to avoid the edge of the cliffs. They're hearing the gravel bounce off the canyon walls below.  This is not something the Lakers are used to, even with a history of malaise and unimpressive performances relative to their capability. 

The Lakers have gone to seven with a Rockets team without Yao, six with a Thunder team with no experience, and had long series with the Nuggets and Suns. But 0-2, dropping both games in Staples, headed back to an amped up Dallas arena is a whole other hole to climb out of. 

The "trust issues' comment is interesting. Chemistry is a huge part of championship teams. But the Lakers have never seemed to have great chemistry. Kobe trusts Gasol only as far as Gasol's success takes him.  Lamar Odom is constantly in need of coddling and his reality show furthers the perception he's not plugged in. Andrew Bynum's injury issues for such a young player puts him aside. Against the Mavericks, the Lakers haven't shown any committment to strategy. They just rolled up on both ends and expected their talent and experience to come through. It didn't, and now the Lakers have to win four out of the next five games.  The Lakers notoriously coast through parts of the season, and now it's bitten themin a big way. 

But to say that these issues are all just the Lakers coming apart is to ignore how the Mavericks have attacked them.  The Mavericks beefed up their roster in the place the Lakers feel safest at, size down low. Brendan Haywood became a backup center. Tyson Chandler became the starter, and the combination meant Dirk Nowitzki could just focus on being the most versatile seven-foot power forward in the league. Against the Lakers, Nowitzki is hitting all of his usual ridiculous shots, attacking the rim, and doing a decent job defending Pau Gasol, who has shrunk from the moment like never before. The Mavericks' use of Shawn Marion was supposed to be an after thought, but Marion's length has allowed him to stick with Bryant as Kobe's athleticism and explosivness degrade with age. Jason Kidd is Derek Fisher's superior, and the Mavericks have shooters upon shooters on the perimeter. 

Now the Lakers are really a wounded animal, and have to figure out how to best a team that is playing with more confidence than any opponent they've faced. 

What have we seen from this Lakers core in the past as we look ahead to Games 3 and 4 in Dallas? The Lakers usually respond only when they absolutely have to. You could argue that they didn't have to yet, that they can even drop another game in Dallas before executing a backdoor sweep. But that would mean that Kobe Bryant's assertions are correct, that the Lakers don't have to adjust to Dallas, they just have to play better. The Lakers aren't struggling through like the Bulls, who seem like a better team playing down to their oppponent. The Lakers are losing to what looks like a better team in every phase of the game. And unless they come up with a considerable flip switch, they're going to ruin the storybook ending for Phil Jackson and the second Lakers' threepeat. It sounds impossible, but Dallas has set the level the Lakers have to respond to. 

So far, they've done nothing but burst under the pressure. 

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: May 6, 2011 8:22 am

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: Lakers coming apart

I guess you probably placed bets on the Mavs when they lost to the Heat after going up 4-2 as well Surprised  My point about fatigue is not the last two games, nor the win-lost record of both teams.  My point is LA has been to the finals and have playing in the month of June for the past THREE seasons.  That's almost another 5 months of basketball than everybody else, including the Mavericks.  Going home in April is different than playing in June.

I'll give you the Texas Tough bit, because I'm oblivious to the fact LA wins on talent/experience/execution and not toughness.  But I will still stick with my support with Bynum.  Out of your THREE BIG MEN, one of them was a UNC phenom who should've stayed in college until his basketball knowledge caught up to this body.  Chandler is a good center and Dirk likes to defend outside the paint.  In other words, every time the ball goes into Bynum 90% of the time it's a layup, dunk, or shooting free throws.  I'm not taking anything away from the Mavs but Bynum clearly has an advantage down low and in my opinion since LA has been so successful and can be arrogant at times they refuse to acknowledge it. 

Since: Nov 20, 2006
Posted on: May 6, 2011 12:19 am

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: Lakers coming apart

As a Celtics fan, I love what the Mavericks are doing to the Fake Show!  C'mon Maverics, sweep them!  Send all of the obnoxious Lakers fans here in LA into hiding!  Smile 

Since: Feb 9, 2008
Posted on: May 5, 2011 6:14 pm

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: Lakers coming apart

This series doesn't  start until someone wins at home lol !!

Since: Jun 13, 2007
Posted on: May 5, 2011 4:15 pm

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: Lakers coming apart

Interesting.  It seems ca. 90% of what is written is the "Lakers don't do this or that, the Lakers are beating themselves, the Lakers, the Lakers, the Lakers blah, blah, blah etc."  I hope the Lakers and their fans continue to think this way.  Obviously, these games have nothing to do with the Mavs actually playing good team basketball.  They should continue to give no credit for the way the Mavs are playing.  The Mavs have a very good bench and the LAL have no answer for Nowitzki.  Mavs should keep the gas pedal floored and start strangling these guys.  The Lakers could win game Three, even without Ron Artest, but the Mavs should keep the LAL down on the mat and keep kicking them and stealing their lunch money.  The LAL ain't dead until they are dead.  So, please LAL do not adjust to the Mavs, let you and the Laker friendly media keep sasying the Mavs have nothing to do with their current success.

Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: May 5, 2011 3:35 pm

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: Lakers coming apart

It aint over when there's still a game to play...

Since: Apr 30, 2011
Posted on: May 5, 2011 3:22 pm

limping in

For those of us who don't believe the Lakers can merely "flip the switch" for the playoffs, this comes as no surprise.  Remember, they lost 5 of their last 7 regular season games, so in their last 15 games, the Fake-show is 6-9.

And the Lakers have become one of the most unrootable teams in the league.

Kobe - alleged rapist who paid the lady off to have situation go away, but only after he legitimized his behavior with "well, Shaq did it too"  yes, it was years ago, but for those of us who have family members who have been raped, you know the pain doesn't go away quickly...remember, people who aren't multi millionaires go to jail for this.
Mr. Kardashian - not only does he have kids all over the country from different women, but now he's signed up to be a reality whore like his wife.
Pau Gasol - just because Kendrick Perkins calls you soft, doesn't mean you have to play that way
Derek I haven't been able to cover a good guard in 6 years Fisher
Ron Artest - do I really have to write something about how dense this guy is? - nice face grab foul last night, moron!
Andrew Bynum - for airing the teams dirty laundry to the press instead of the team last night - trust issues?  grow up
Matt Barnes - constantly injured but when he does play, plays dirty
Shannon Brown - great for highlight reels - but only every 5th game when he actually shows up.   
Steve Blake - who?
Phil Jackson - it's a shame your career will end with a bunch of unmotivated primma donna's, but look at the bright side, at least you got some rings...more than Jerry Sloan can say.

Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: May 5, 2011 3:18 pm

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: Lakers coming apart

Huge question.  Now that the are in this hole will Kobes true nature come to the front?  Will he turn into a black hole on offense and rip off about 15 bad shots in a row?  Or, will he trust the triangle and do what he needs to do to inspire this team to win?  If he reverts in any of the upcoming games I think the Lakers are done.  I keep remembering when Kobe and Shaq tore the Lakers apart in the Finals.  Is there going to be a repeat of a different kind?

Since: May 9, 2010
Posted on: May 5, 2011 1:30 pm

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: Lakers coming apart

Not a problem, friends. Lakers shall prevail!

Since: May 2, 2007
Posted on: May 5, 2011 12:41 pm

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: Lakers coming apart

Clark Cally:     
; I visited the sports book at one of our major casinos this morning and watched as person after person cashed winning tickets on the Mav's. It really comes home when you see the people who cover the game for a living spot right on. Two games and Lakers are just so tired they can't get it up...give me a break.. they are playing a team with the same won and loss record.. a team with a better bench.. with by the way older players.. a team with great out side presence inside board work and the most important part...they want it more.. The mav's are TEXAS TOUGH and want this thing more than the Hollywood  crowd. The game was not as the mediia wrote it up.. it was Dallas against the WORLD CHAMPS IN THE WORLD CHAMPS LAIR! The Mav's are on a mission and the mission  will carry over because like sharks they smell blood in the water. BIG  men.. Dallas has three..... Small men Dallas has 4....3 point shooters Dallas has 6.. The only way LA stays in the games left is to spread the ball around..keep Artest on the bench and get Bynum on Dirk..but that would create auch other mismatches as to free Terry and Marion ,Pega and Stevenson. So put your hard Earned on The Mav's and you can join the ticket cashers here in Vegas.. the line was LA by six in game one.. LA by 7 in game 2.. guess these dummies will set it  LA by 8 by Friday...have a "LUCKY DAY">....VegasHyroler......

Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: May 5, 2011 11:59 am

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: Lakers coming apart

Much blame should be put on the shoulders of Phil Jackson who stopped coaching a long time ago. He did nothing to adjust during this game.  A mention too for deshawn Stevenson. He played remarkable now that carslise finally seems to be letting him.  Superior defense, and he hit three out of five threes I believe. But like the spurs, mostly its just age catching up.

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