Blog Entry

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: The Panic Button

Posted on: May 7, 2011 2:38 am
Edited on: May 7, 2011 5:40 am
The Lakers have never had a reason to panic, until now. 
Posted by Matt Moore

There's never a good time to panic. It does you no good to freak out, and the only way to solve a problem that would call for such behavior is to behave in the exact opposite manner; with poise and control.  And for a championship team like the Lakers, there's no such thing as a panic button. They've been victorious too often, overcome too many challenges, risen up and simply been better in too many series. They don't know what the panic button looks like. 

But maybe they should after Game 3's stunning loss to the Mavericks, to go down 0-3. Maybe then they'd have some level of urgency in their play, some level of commitment to closing games. The Lakers we're witnessing are in many ways the ultimate embodiment of the team we've seen for years in L.A. . They assume they'll be better simply by having the talent. Victory is assured once they step on the floor, even if Ron Artest doesn't step on said floor. Instead, they've found themselves on the brink, as Dallas has surged ahead in every fourth quarter of this series. And what does Kobe Bryant say after the game?

“I might be sick in the head … because I still think we’re going to win the series,” Bryant said. “I might be nuts.”

Bryant said he wasn't discouraged after the game. In the same calm, cool, collected manner, he exuded confidence bordering on arrogance, even after he started 5-5... and finished 3-11, with a key turnover late that may or may not have been Pau Gasol's fault. Bryant's not concerned because when he's had the manpower, he's never failed. 2005-2007? He could blame the roster. Not this one. This one is on the mindset, and that reflects its leader. So why is Bryant so calm, cool, and collected?
Because he can be. Because if any team can come back from an 0-3 deficit for the first time in league history, it's the Lakers, and if any team could cough it up, it's the Mavericks. It seems absurd that it has come to this, but it here we are. Bryant remains indignant to the idea that the Lakers should be concerned. After Game 2, Bryant told reporters that everyone was "trippin'" because they acted like no one had ever won two games before. In reality, they were talking about winning two games on the road after blowing your first two at home. Bryant never wavered from the script after Game 3, talking about mental mistakes like this was a game against Minnesota in February. There's maintaining your composure, and there's refusing to acknowledge your situation. 

There was discussion that the Lakers played "desperate" in Game 3, but we saw the same lazy rotations, the same deviation from effective strategy, the same failure to secure key plays. They are who they've been: a team with extremely talented players with superior physical attributes that doesn't respond when challenged. In years past, the Lakers would respond right when they had to in order to avoid hitting the panic button. 

Panicking won't help the Lakers win Game 4, or four straight, which is what they must do. But coming to terms with their situation may be the only way for the Lakers to really see where they've landed. There's a time for patience, confidence and even arrogance. 

That time has come and gone. If the Lakers can win this series, it will be the ultimate validator of their overconfidence. If they cannot, it will be the final verdict on a core that won two titles and yet infuriated its fans and too often played with the flame. 

Eventually you get burned. 

Since: Nov 11, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2011 1:28 pm

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: The Panic Button

The real Laker fans are here today, tomorrow and forever.  Within the next  two to three years  they will win again.  They are down in this series, but I still don't count them out.  I'm a fan of the Lakers now and forever.  They are one of the two best teams EVER in the NBA.  Some of the most incredible players have played for this franchise.  They have been to the finals at least thirty times and won it sixteen times.  Can you say that about your team?  Boston is the only other team with that kind of success.  Don't hate because your team doesn't possess the people who possess  the gift of drafting, trading, acquiring or running an organization such as the Lakers.  Yes, they have played poorly this series, but as a fan of one of the best franchises ever I don't count them out! 

Since: Feb 21, 2007
Posted on: May 8, 2011 2:20 am

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: The Panic Button

Kobe Bryant is predicting the Lakers in seven?  I thought California voted down legalized marijuana?

Since: May 4, 2011
Posted on: May 7, 2011 5:05 pm

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: The Panic Button

The Lakers have controlled the majority of 2 out of the 3 games, which is why this series is so shocking. The Mavs have won on execution and big shot making down the stretch, which is what the Lakers and Kobe usually do. I give the credit to the Mavs, Dirk and Peja were huge in the 4th quarter in game 3. I don't think the Lakers will win this series but i do think Kobe will put on a show on Sunday. The Lakers have'nt gotten their usual balanced attack thanks to Pau Gasol being m.i.a. I see Pau playing better Sunday and Kobe having his best performance of the playoffs for a Laker win. Mavs will close it out in six after dropping one in L.A.

Since: Apr 12, 2011
Posted on: May 7, 2011 2:55 pm

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: The Panic Button

Where are all of the Lakers fans???  I think its hysterical how quiet the board is now that the Lake Show is down 3 games.  I'd love to see the sweep!

Since: Apr 19, 2010
Posted on: May 7, 2011 11:01 am

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: The Panic Button

Someone needs to write a story about how the great Kobe can't drive pass a 36 year old Jason Kidd.  How in 2 games Kidd has shut Kobe down when it mattered the most, at the end of the game.  If Kobe is going to get all of the media praise that he gets for being the greatest closer in the game, someone needs to say point blank that he just blew 2 saves.

Since: May 7, 2011
Posted on: May 7, 2011 7:15 am

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: The Panic Button

Hilarious in the 4th quarter when Kobe traveled then shook his finger at the ref.  LOL!  And on slow-mo Kobe took 5 steps.

Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: May 7, 2011 6:44 am

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: The Panic Button

So the Lakers have the Mavs exactly where they want them?  Really ? The Lakers are down 0-3.  I don't know any coach or manager in any major sport who wants to be down 0-3 in a best of seven series.  This sounds like what Phil Jackson must be telling his team with his mind games.  If you are down 0-3 and you have superior talent than the other team as a competitor you have to be upset with your self and your team.  You never show it in public and do not over react as it is pointed out.  But behind "closed doors" you have to be going nuts about the situation.  History generally show us that in sports it is hard to over come winning a series when you lose games you should have won.   So will the Lakers make some history ?  Maybe, but not likely.  I agree if any team can lose 4 in a row, the Mavericks can and the Lakers can win 4 in a row.  If the Lakers do win 4 in row will another David Stern investigation into ref's on the take and fixing games be in order ? 

Since: May 7, 2011
Posted on: May 7, 2011 6:26 am

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: The Panic Button

very bad game from Bryant....only 17points, that is almost unbelievable...GO MAVS!

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: May 7, 2011 3:02 am

NBA Playoffs Mavs-Lakers: The Panic Button

"Bryant's not concerned because when he's had the manpower, he's never failed."

Except for 1999 and 2003 and 2004 and 2008, that's a correct statement.

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