There’s only one word that can adequately describe the series between the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers. Ugly.
The Dallas Mavericks swept the two-time defending champions in four games of the ugliest playoff basketball you will ever see from a two-time defending NBA championship team. Before any credit can be given to how well the Dallas Mavericks performed, it was the futility on both offense and defence that lead to the Lakers’ demise.
Pau Gasol was non- existent for the entire playoffs. Relied upon to be the Lakers second scoring option, Gasol failed to register a single 20 point game against the Mavericks.
Kobe Bryant didn’t put much pressure on the Mavericks interior defenders either. In the first two games of the series, Bryant failed to register a single layup or dunk. And for the series, Bryant didn’t record a single dunk and only a hand-full of layups. The result was that the Lakers best player wasn’t able to get to the free throw line or even truly make the Mavs defence rotate to free up other players. It was a rather ineffective showing for a player who is supposed to be “arguably” the greatest of all time, particularly when for the entire duration of the series, it was Dirk Nowitzki who was best player on the floor.
On the defensive side on the ball, the Lakers were atrocious. The Lakers never appeared to have a game-plan in place to stop the offensive attack of the Mavs. The Lakers couldn’t stop the pick and roll and they refused to get out on the Mavericks three point shooters, seemingly content to allow Dallas to shoot wide open, uncontested three point shots all series long.
The most disappointing thing for any NBA fan watching this series is that the Lakers didn’t seem to put up a fight. They didn’t seem to have the competitive desire to win, as was evident in game four when they suffered the second worst playoff defeat in the history of the franchise.
The Mavericks did display excellent ball movement, but it’s hard to gauge just how well they performed given the fact that the Lakers weren’t playing any defence.
To give an indication of just how porous the Lakers defense truly was, in game four the Mavs bench scored 86 points and the Mavs tied an NBA record by hitting 20 three pointers en route to a 122-86 victory.
It was a sad way for Phil Jackson, the greatest coach of all time to end his coaching career, but the Lakers have bigger issues apart from replacing Jackson going forward.
Obviously this team can no longer compete and changes have to be made. The team is well over the salary cap and without any draft picks, the only way to make changes will be through trades.
It’s time for sportsbooks to start offering odds on how this Lakers team will be blown up. Will the Lakers trade Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom or all three of them? But the problem is that it was the entire Lakers team that was ineffective. D Fish is probably going to retire, Steve Blake isn’t a starting point guard, Matt Barnes was ineffective and Walton, Smith and Artest all could be on the trading block.
The Laker fan seems to think that Dwight Howard coming to LA is a sure thing. But it will take more that D12 to rebuild this team as a championship contender.
Dallas didn’t just beat LA, they beat the breaks off the franchise.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak will certainly have his work cut out for him this offseason and a looming NBA lockout certainly doesn’t help his cause.
We have witnessed the changing of the guard in the NBA and this year a new champion will be crowned. Will it be King James and the Miami Heat?