Around the World (Wide Web): Lakers/Mavericks Reactions

Phillip Barnett —  April 1, 2011

From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Who knew Dallas would come to town, and a Lakers-Nuggets game would break out! I kid (sort of), but in what could very well be a preview of the Western Conference Semi-Finals, the Lakers sent a very, very strong message to the Mavericks, outscoring them by nine points in the third quarter and 15 in the fourth, turning a tight game at halftime into a blowout.  While the chippiness of the second half- five players found themselves in the showers early by the time the game was over (along with three ejections in the crowd on a crazy night for the Staples Center red coats)- will dominate the news Friday, the final score, and how the Lakers decimated the Mavs down the stretch, should really be the story. Dallas is a very solid team worthy of L.A.’s respect, but still seem lacking in answers for what the Lakers can do down low. Nothing about tonight’s game leaves the impression they could beat the Lakers in a seven game series.

From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: Pity Derrick Caracter. This week the young rookie got sent down to join the Lakers’ D-League affiliate in Bakersfield, a horrifying destination under any circumstances. To make matters worse, the assignment came just in time for him to miss the champs’ most entertaining victory of the season, a 110 to 82 destruction of the Dallas Mavericks. Poor DC was forced to skip some of the most deranged goings-on seen at Staples Center in quite some time. That’s the bad news. The good news is, one or two Lakers could soon be advised by the league office that it’s time for them to take a little unpaid vacation, in which case Caracter’s stay in Bakersfield won’t be a long one. Let’s put it this way: in the fourth quarter this evening, Theo Ratliff, who hadn’t appeared in a game since early November, got pulled off the bench, at the behest of Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, to shoot a pair of free throws, and that was maybe the eighth-weirdest thing that happened tonight.

From Kevin Ding, OC Register: For a two-time defending NBA champion team that had everyone sold it was saving itself for the playoffs, the Lakers are closing in on the league’s best regular-season record anyway. By turning back Western Conference contender Dallas on Thursday night, 110-82, at Staples Center the Lakers reached 54-20 compared to San Antonio’s 57-18 … with the Lakers still to play host to the slumping Spurs on April 12. The Lakers need to win that game to avoid giving San Antonio the tiebreaker via head-to-head record. If the Lakers do even the season series that night, the next tiebreaker for those teams is conference record: San Antonio is 35-11 and the Lakers are 33-11, meaning the Lakers are positioned to earn that edge en route to earning a tie.

From Kevin Ding, OC Register: The three guys the Lakers brought in to play the most minutes around Kobe Bryant in the first two years of Phil Jackson’s second coming as Lakers coach? Kwame Brown, Smush Parker and Vladimir Radmanovic. Brown, whom Brian Shaw called a “pussycat.” Parker, whom Frank Hamblen called … let’s just say it was unprintable. Radmanovic, whom Jackson called a “space cadet.” Safe to say, not quite the sort of fellows Bryant wanted in his foxhole, and it took the Lakers a while to realize that Bryant’s intensity would not be enough. He could not be asked to be the team’s toughest guy and the league’s best player. It started with Derek Fisher’s return, it was a big reason why Ron Artest made more sense than Trevor Ariza, and it has peaked with the additions of Steve Blake and Matt Barnes this season.

From Mark Medina, LA Times: One shove sparked the Lakers’ ire, united the team and sent a message across the league that no one should mess with them. One win drastically affected the Western Conference standings, continued the Lakers’ dominant play and left everyone else wondering if anyone can stop them. One game provided a definitive preview of a playoff matchup, sparked possible suspensions and prompted Staples Center security to handle fan behavior. Yes, the Lakers’ 110-82 victory Thursday over the Dallas Mavericks featured all of the above. It provided enough drama to keep Lamar Odom’s reality television show crew satisfied and with a never-ending challenge on what to cut during the editing process. It sparked enough tension among the 18,997 fans at Staples Center, who witnessed eight ejections, including three from the stands. And it allowed the Lakers (54-20) to increase their mark to 16-1 since the All-Star break, extend their lead to 1 1/2 games over Dallas (53-22) for second place in the conference and cut San Antonio’s (57-18) stake for first place to a 2 1/2-game cushion after the Spurs’ fifth consecutive loss, the latest at the hands of the Boston Celtics. It’s not often Laker fans are rooting for their arch rival, but this was one of those nights.

From Mark Heisler, LA Times: On one hand, you’ve got Dallas owner Mark Cuban’s motor mouth, his broken-down star and his team, the best money can buy — “but not quite,” said his Lakers nemesis, Phil Jackson, who won’t even give him credit for that. On the other hand, you’ve got “Jeanie’s Boy Toy,” which Cuban has called Jackson … not that Phil necessarily took any offense to being a boy toy at 65. Jackson is also “my bucket boy” to Cuban and Ron Artest the Laker “you want making decisions in the triangle.” This vaudeville act goes back 10 years to the game in Dallas when they ran a cartoon of Fat Albert going “Ho, Ho, Ho” on the scoreboard video screen, zinging Shaquille O’Neal.

Phillip Barnett

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12 responses to Around the World (Wide Web): Lakers/Mavericks Reactions

  1. i’m proud of matt for having steve’s back and i’m proud of shannon for having pau’s back.

    and somebody should have gotten in dirk’s face for shoving kobe in the back on that layup attempt.

  2. I think Fish was going to get in Dirk’s face until Kobe waved him off. Hey, our guys can still catch the Spurs and OKC can still catch the Mavs. IT CAN STILL HAPPEN :D

  3. I’d like the Lakers to continue to play well and win games, but I think coming in at the #2 spot would be better for them in the long run. The Thunder are, to me, the biggest threat to the Lakers in the west. This was the case last year, and the Thunder have an improved roster that matches up better with the Lakers this year than last.

    Dallas, clearly, is a non-issue. The Mavs just don’t have the personnel or the style to beat L.A. in a seven game series.

    San Antonio has had the best regular season, but I don’t see that team having the talent or the health to beat L.A. in seven games. An undermanned and very old Celtic team made the Spurs look bad last night, and if S.A. plays OKC in the 2nd round I would expect the Thunder to win that series.

    So, to me, the Lakers will play the Thunder in the playoffs, and the only question is when. I’d rather see that happen in the conference finals, where the pressure and the stakes are probably more than a young Thunder team can handle.

  4. Agree about Fish and Dirk. I rewinded that play back a few times too. Kobe gave Fish a look that looked liked it said don’t worry about it. Fish was all tensed up looking at Kobe to see if he was okay. Fish visibly had the tension leave him after he and Kobe exchanged looks. Both players didn’t even bother paying Dirk any attention after that.

    I thought that was a great way to handle it. An attitude of, it’s not even worth it. These guys know we’re in their heads. Probably frustrates Dirk and Dallas more that they couldn’t get a reaction and potential suspension from the two leaders.

  5. Here’s a recap link in case you didn’t get to see the game (like me):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHlbLnfX_9U

  6. It’s somewhat surprising to me that Dirk didn’t get a flagrant 1 for that foul on Kobe. He didn’t make any play on the ball at all.

  7. I know regular season games don’t matter but that game was as close to winning a playoff series as you get in the regular season.

  8. 2, Unless the Mavs start to spiral the drain the way the Spurs have, I don’t see any way that OKC catches them. First off, Dallas owns the season series, so OKC has to beat Dallas by a full game. That effectively puts them 3.5 games behind Dallas with only 7-8 games to go (8 for OKC, 7 for Dallas). Plus, OKC has 5 road games, compared to Dallas which has only 3. OKC will have to run the table and hope Dallas goes on a losing streak, both unlikely.

    As for the Spurs, they lead the season series against us 2-1, with the final game on 4/12. If the Lakers win that game, they are effectively 1.5 games behind the Spurs. The Spurs are effectively tied with the Lakers in conference record (35-11 for the Spurs, 33-11 for the Lakers), so if the Spurs drop two games in addition to losing to the Lakers, and the Lakers run the table, we may see the #1 seed decided by record against playoff teams in the conference. Yet, I expect San Antonio’s skid to stop (mostly because they have an easy remaining schedule), effectively wiping out our chance at the #1 seed.

    However, if getting the #2 seed means playing NO and Dallas in the 1st two rounds as opposed to POR/MEM and OKC, I’ll gladly take the #2 seed.

  9. I don’t think Lakers catch SA for the #1 seed. The biggest benefit I see is keeping the pressure on SA and forcing them to play their guys heavier minutes. Pop would prefer to rest his guys down the stretch but he may not have that luxury this time.

  10. From the Kevin Ding article, about Barnes clothing line:

    “If the subtle edginess isn’t enough, Barnes is offering another T-shirt for $30. This is also black but has Barnes’ real face on it – definitely not smiling – and the caption reads: ‘MATT BARNES WILL KILL YOU IF RON ARTEST DOESN’T FIRST.’ ”

    Pure awesome!

  11. @9. OKC owns the tiebreaker vs DAL by virtue of winning their division. The Lakers will own the tiebreaker vs the Spurs (if they finish with the same record and are 2-2 in head-to-head) by virtue of a better conference record. Looking at the schedule, I think the Lakers will either run the table or lose one game, and IMO the biggest trap game is the final day of the season vs SAC, as it’s the very next day after the upcoming beatdown of San Antonio.