Game 3 Preview & Chat: Lakers vs. Mavericks

Darius Soriano —  May 6, 2011

It’s better if this is no longer thought of as a 7 game series. In the big picture, I know that a series comeback is on all of our minds but  this series is now a one game affair. A Laker loss tonight puts them down 3-0 and unless you want to cite hockey or baseball statistics, puts the Lakers in a position where no team has come back from. Tonight, more than any other night (outside of an elimination game) is a must win.

And while playing hard and with poise will be a big part in winning this game, there were too many tactical errors in game 2 to think that adjustments can’t be made to put the Lakers in a better position to win. That starts with who will start for the suspended Ron Artest at SF. While early reports pointed to the Lakers throwing Shannon Brown into a small lineup, the word is actually that the Lakers will go big and start Lamar Odom at SF. In an email exchange, Reed gave his endorsement of this decision:

I would play try Odom at SF for stretches. Although that specific 5-man lineup hasn’t been on the court together, they are all very familiar playing together. Odom is certainly best utilized as a PF — we’ve confirmed that through prior failed experiments — but I still feel he’s our best option at SF given the other options. Dusting Walton off would reek of desperation. Barnes is simply not playing well. Odom is better at every aspect of the game, even 3PT shooting (despite the common perception). Odom is also smart enough to adapt his role to the needs of the lineup. Basically, I think there’s such a massive talent drop off from Odom to Barnes (or Walton) that I’d much prefer to put him on the court and trust him to make it work.

I think the plan should be to put your best players on the court together to the degree you avoid really bad matchups or skill deficiencies. Odom can defend any Dallas SF, and his help defense with Dirk would be helpful. If we had a traditional SF that could stretch the court on offense, I’d be worried about losing that, but we don’t.

Meanwhile, over at Pro Basketball Talk, Kurt gives some insight into how this might play out on the court:

It gives the Lakers options in dealing with Dirk Nowitzki, who has been the best player in this series. Odom has had more success as a defender on him than Gasol. On offense, this moves Kobe to more of a wing attack position, where bringing help defenders could be harder. Kobe has gotten just one shot at the rim in two games, this could give him more room to attack (if his ankle can support it). It also pretty much forces Dallas to guard Kobe with Kidd.

Not everything comes up roses should this be carried out, however. As Phillip notes, moving towards this line up definitely disrupts Phil’s normal rotations:

Who stays on the floor for the extra minutes when others get that 1st breather? This could cause some serious rotation problems and lead to fatigue during the waning minutes of the game — minutes that the Lakers haven’t played particularly well in the last month. I do believe that the Lakers have to be in that “nothing held back” mentality, but I fear this could backfire if bigs don’t get normal rest times. Pau has looked dreadful at the end of games, not just his play, but he looks downright gassed and he seems like the most likely candidate to get those extra minutes. Hopefully I’m completely wrong about all of this, but I do think this is one of the main reasons Phil hasn’t gone to this lineup more often.

Personally, I see both positives and negatives to this approach. As Phillip states, this does throw off the rotations and it leaves the Lakers thin in back up big men. Also, this is a line up that Phil’s  mostlyavoided for as long as it’s been an option and I feel like there’s some desperation/no where else to turn feel to this type of move.

That said, there are benefits to the move that the Lakers can exploit. As Kurt mentioned, this would allow Odom to guard Dirk for longer stretches. This behind Odom there would be two big men protecting the paint and that lends itself to better help on penetration as well as the ability to throw strong side zone looks at the Mavs should Dirk isolate on the wing. Offensively, Kobe not only moves to the wing but Odom plays up high with multiple post options to play off of with dive cuts and slashes into the gaps of the defense. Odom offers the best finishing option in these situations and his ability to get into the creases of the defense when Pau or Bynum post up offer potential benefits in big to big passing and better offensive rebounding.

Beyond the line up changes though, there are other tactical changes that need to be made tonight. Defensively, the Lakers need to do a better job of containing the Mavs pick and roll attack. In the last game J.J. Barrea carved up the Laker D, getting baskets for himself and his teammates. As you see in the video below, the Lakers coverage the P&R when Barrea handled the ball was dreadful:

In order to better contain this action I hope to see the Lakers go under the screen more often. Whether it’s Barrea or Kidd running this action, the Lakers want them shooting long jumpers, not getting into the pait to finish at the rim or collapse the D and hit open cutters/shooters. Even when defending Terry, I believe going under the screen is an option, if only to show him a different look than he’s been shown so far this series. Going under the screen also limits the hedge/recover action of the man defending Dirk. If the Laker bigs can better stick to Dirk while having guards recover to the ball handler, this will allow the ball to stay in front of the defense while also limiting Dirks ability to get wide open looks.

Offensively, the Lakers need to go continue to go into the paint even if the results aren’t pretty early on. Standard post ups for Gasol and Bynum (and Odom, if he’s starting) will put pressure on the interior of the Mavs defense to control the paint without fouling. Chandler is known for reaching in when beat but the Lakers did little to force his reactions beyond a handful of plays in the first half. Let Bynum go to work on Chandler early to see if he can get him into foul trouble and then when Haywood comes into the game, do the same thing. Dallas’ big men have held up well so far this series, but make them continue to prove that this is the norm and not the exception.

The Lakers also need to move the ball from side to side in order to get better post up chances. Too often the ball is getting stuck on one side of the floor and it’s allowing the Mavs D to set up shop ball side and make finishing difficult. What the Lakers need more of is quick post ups off ball reversals where the big men duck in to seal their man and get the ball in prime position to score. The clip below shows a perfect example of how the Lakers were able to accomplish this the last game:

As you can see, Pau started on the wing and then ran the standard cuts to the weak side. Once the ball was kicked back out and swung to the other side of the floor, he ducked in against Dirk, sealed him, and got the short jumper to fall. This should be a staple of the Lakers’ sets tonight to get Gasol and Bynum going.

Most of these things are simple to accomplish, but with the weight of a must win on their shoulders the Lakers will need everyone to be focused and prepared to perform tonight. That’s the beauty of a game like tonight’s, it really will be a team effort and if everyone brings their best effort and execution, there’s no reason to think the Lakers won’t win this game. The only thing left to do is to go on the court and accomplish it.


Darius Soriano

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297 responses to Game 3 Preview & Chat: Lakers vs. Mavericks

  1. All I want to know is, in the second half, why did Bynum only get about three touches in the post?

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  2. Depressing.

    All 3 games were lost in the 4th quarter. Lakers did not get 1 stop with 4 minutes or less. That rebound with 48 seconds left shoulda been Bynums but he couldn’t get it.

    Gah.

    It wasn’t the officials, Lakers got beat.

    And it wasn’t Kobe this time either, Lakers ran their 4th quarter offense through Odom and Fisher and got beat.

    What a waste of a very good game from both Kobe and Bynum.

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  3. a friends reaction to Kobe’s 4th quarter:

    “i’m sad that kobe has turned into michael Jordan… from the wizards.”

    i dont totally agree with it, but we couldn’t get bynum the ball in the post where dallas had no answer….

    im extremely frustrated.

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  4. Thats why the Lakers cant go Bynum/Odom/Gasol btw – Wide open shooters on defense all night. And Tyson Chandler was getting a lot of calls (with his flopping) that stopped Bynum from being aggressive in the post.

    DAMN.

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  5. ouch!
    i feel like the deciding moment was that one sequence where kobe threw a ball at the back of gasol instead of wide open fish on the left wing and the subsequent possession where this time he tried to force a shot when the clock was down to 5 instead of passing to open lamar.

    of course, dallas came back and scored on lakers mistakes twice. it’s really hard to guard a team that’s bombing away threes from majority of the players on court… not to mention, a 7 footer who could take on another 7 footer with dribble from the 3 point line.

    it’s like lakers fall under the spell in the fourth quarter where dallas’ mini runs completely suck the air out of the players. they need to focus on executing instead of hoping the game clock would somehow speed up.

    no real complaints against the officials. i think they are doing an excellent job. dallas is playing really well, converting when they need to and everyone hustling and defending really well. smart move to add tyson chandler who has length and athleticism to play defense against our 7 footers.

    this is another reason why i hate it when the media heavily favors one team over the other. they are always wrong. it happened with finals few years back when lakers met boston for the first time in recent years. it now looks like we are about to repeat history.

    forget about repeating history. we are down 3 games. no team has ever come back from being down 3 in nba. it’s time to make history. let’s go lakers!!! let’s win 4 straight!

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  6. Darius, this series is over. So please allow some talk about what the lakers need to do going forward.

    The lakers have proved all season that they can’t execute in crunch time, they can’t rotate on defense, and they can’t run the triangle. And Pau Gasol has completely fell off. They’ve failed to correct any of their flaws throughout the season and believed that there would be some magic elixir waiting for them when the playoffs started.

    It’s time to start thinking about getting a defensive minded coach like larry brown to compliment a guy like Dwight Howard.

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  7. What is so hard to understand about guarding the shooters?

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  8. Funky Chicken May 6, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Well, it was nice of Phil Jackson to make a coaching appearance this season. Too bad it was too little too late. Hopefully, the entire coaching staff will be out of here, including Shaw. This team needs a completely fresh start.

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  9. Well, we’re consistent. Our 4th Q execution has been dismal all year on both sides of the ball and low and behold…

    Oh, and conspiracy-mongers: that was unquestionably a foul on Fisher. A stupid, pointless, idiotic, undeniable foul.

    This team was good enough to win it all, but they are undisciplined, predictable, and ultimately, unbelievably infuriating. I’m going to drink some scotch now. It’s been a great run, but the last couple of weeks has been like watching the 2000 WCF in reverse….

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  10. 204 – OMG please do not mention Larry Brown in connection with the Lakers!

    Surely you jest.

    Right?

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  11. And you know what, gasol was pathetic! He is not the player I thought! We could have used you artest you bozo! So frustrating! A heat-mavs finals!??!

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  12. I don’t believe Andrew touched the ball down low in the 4th qtr. He did receive it out high several times and handed it back to a guard on a S&R, but he never got it back as he rolled.

    This wasn’t our defense that failed us. This was the fact that we refused to run our offense for much of the 4th qtr. It was ISO-ISO-ISO and more ISO. This is the easiest to defend for a good defensive team and Dallas is a good defensive team.

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  13. Dick Barnett May 6, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Who would have predicted a Mavericks sweep when this series began?

    This team is going to need a major overhaul they are just pathetic.

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  14. 208. Well give him a one year contract to teach this team defense and then get someone else.

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  15. There’s absolutely no excuse for Pau not closing out on Dirk’s 3 point shots. He helped close out on Jason Terry’s jumpers and he missed.

    The Lakers are not getting the concept of helping the helper. Thus the corner open shot or just a regular down screen is giving excellent shooters wide open looks.

    Pau was frustrated and lost his confidence because he was consistently getting burned on D. It just did not look like he had the fortitude to tough it out.

    There’s a time in the playoffs where you’re going to meet adversity. If there’s a key player on your team that can’t handle the intensity you’re toast.

    Before it was Radmonovic in the 2008 Finals. In 2004 it was Slava Medvedenko, and it 2011 it’s Pau Gasol.

    I love Pau to death and he helped bring 2 STRAIGHT championships to LA, but this playoffs he’s been in a funk and is a major reason for the team’s shortcoming.

    Still love the Lakers….let’s be civil and keep our head’s on and realize this is just a game and try to relax.

    ….exhale….

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  16. NO, don’t think of a sweep right now…

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  17. I don’t know why anyone would even want to bring up trades, we have ZERO pieces other than Bynum and Gasol. You give up Gasol you rely on an injury prone unproven player, you give up Bynum you rely on an aging nucleus to carry this team. We have so many more years of guys like Artest, and Blake there isn’t a team in the league willing to take any of them off our hands. So let’s be realistic

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  18. Dumb for thinking Odom can close out a game…even with the mismatch.

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  19. vhan @ 216 – Instead of a sweep, I prefer to think of it as a mercy killing …

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  20. All 3 games lost in the 4th quarter because we kept shooting contested jump shots. Another thing that’s been troubling and consistent all year. Dallas had a different bench guy step up in each game. It’s one thing for former sixth man in Terry in Game 1, but then their 10th and 11th men in Barea and broke down Peja. Pau Gasol picked the worst time to have the worst stretch in his career. What kind of player allows his shooting percentage to dip to 43% from the post. Shannon Brown is shooting about as good as he is right now and that’s saying something. The body language between Pau and Bynum are poles apart right now.

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  21. The stretch that lost us the game was in the 4th and the bench refused to get the ball into Bynum.

    We were up by 8 at the time and this was the stretch that could have put the game out of reach. When Shannon had the ball on the wing, he kept shying away from Bynum’s strong side in the post.

    3 consecutive possessions they took low % iso shots.

    Couldn’t agree with you more Craig W. I was pleading to get the ball to Bynum!

    Kobe played great, but man the officials are letting Kidd pound Kobe every single game. Are they just going to let Kobe be mugged the whole series?

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  22. Well, that’s it. Some takeaways:

    -We gave it a great shot. For three quarters, we used our strengths offensively. We clogged the paint fairly well. But overplaying Dirk (and then not closing out) in the fourth just killed us. They’ve been incredibly hot all series, but too many of their looks are wide open. That’s on us.

    -Bynum showed me a lot. Last year he fought bravely through a bad knee. This year he showed leadership on a team of veterans, his offensive moves were quick and decisive and varied, and all season long his defense and rebounding were key. He, at least, played like a champion.

    -Lamar Odom played a great early game, but he made several poor decisions at the beginning of the fourth quarter. A weak fadeaway jumper, a contested three, and then Bynum establishes deep position but instead LO calls him out to set a pick, so that Odom can force up a jumper. He did some great work in the post, but his brain farts early in the 4th killed us when we could have sealed the game.

    -Why did we go away from Andrew Bynum in the 4th? Was there a legitimate reason? Pau Gasol made one good play so guys got excited about getting him going? I don’t get it at all. I can’t fathom it. Bynum carried us offensively the entire game, and in the 4th so many of our guards (and Odom) looked away from him in the post. Disgusting.

    -This core is not done. Bynum showed me tonight that he CAN be the best player on a championship team. Can he sustain that over a season? That might be doubtful. But the potential is there. We don’t have very much flexibility, but if we can make some tweaks to the roster and come back rested, I think we can contend again next year.

    -I do not want Dwight Howard. I’ll get into why more in the offseason. Suffice it to say I get a little ticked every time I read his name on a Lakers forum.

    -We weren’t going to win the championship anyway. Not with fourth quarter execution and poor defensive coverage like that.

    -Historically, Kobe-led teams, when down in a series like this, flame out spectacularly. And tonight I thought we gave it our best offensively (within reason, unless some catches fire from deep). It’s looking more and more like a sweep.

    -There is no silver lining in a sickening end like this, but to be honest, I would have hated losing to Miami and Boston much more. Even OKC, with Perkins now. And – don’t jump on me for this – but losing in the Finals wouldn’t have given us any extra rest time. If fatigue really was an issue this year (debatable), losing in the 2nd round might help in that regard. Sorry, I knew how awful that comes out.

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  23. eh, I think the Lakers are simply worn out.

    Three straight Finals appearances … how long has it been since a team made it to the Finals four straight?

    Long, long time methinks.

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  24. The commenting guidelines will be in effect tonight. So sorry, no trade talk. We’ll have plenty of time to talk off-season stuff. Longer than we all would have hoped, I think.

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  25. Funky Chicken May 6, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Dirk is an amazing player. Better than I thought. Carlisle deserves credit for meshing all those players and getting them to play defense.

    Whatever Phil’s greatness is (and it hasn’t been on display at all this year) you cannot say that he brings his players together. He closes out his coaching run with yet another dysfunctional team that doesn’t play together. Bynum was right: this team has DEEP issues regarding trust.

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  26. gasol surely has fallen off the cliff…

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  27. Sorry Darius. I kno u want to keep it
    High brow for the 241 viewers but
    Let people vent. This season is pretty
    much over.

    The Lakers run here from 08-10 was
    remarkable. A testament to Phil, Kobe,
    Pau.

    But Kobe has to take on a subordinate role
    now. He was outplayed in each series by
    The other teams best player. Too many
    miles. Treat him like the lakers did
    kAreem in his late years. It worked.

    The future is Bynum. So fragile. It makes
    Howard so appealing. But yes get rid of
    everyone else–Blake, fish, Shannon, odom.

    I keep pau for now. I think he will be ok
    too many games including Olympic and intl
    Play

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  28. Pau looks more than tired out there. He’s ran out of Gas-ol.

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  29. So…..can we finally say the sky is offically falling in Laker land? Oh wait I guess not, if any team can come back from 0-3 its the Lakers. Oh, they almost pulled this one out, they can steal a game. If I am Dallas I would want to cream this team in game 4 and get that sweep after everyone gave you no chance against the Lakers, a team that had the same record as you in the course of the season. I like the Lakers, but I am kind of glad it shuts the arrogant fanbase up.

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  30. Omg. Can’t believe the church lady
    And her commenting guidelines.

    Maybe we should have run more
    Screen and rolls?? Silver ones?

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  31. R – The Celtics in the 80s were the last team to do it.

    This might be looking a bit too forward, but I really hope we can snag a speedy penetrator like Barea or Brooks or someone. Obviously we need shooting, but I’ve also felt we really lack dribble penetrators that can wreak havoc on a defense in a couple minutes and change the complexion of the game.

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  32. This team got us to the 2nd round of the Playoffs, no need to blow it up. I mean, there are a lot of other fans, in a lot of other teams that wish they could sill be rooting for their team now.

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  33. Gasol is not what we thought he was. Something is up with him, he is just flat out awful right now. Worst player on the floor. Couldn’t make a play to save his life.

    I think with Kobe’s youth leaving him, the problem this team has is there’s no one player that can play GREAT for an entire game. Kobe gave us 3 awesome quarters. Truthfully he gave us 9 great quarters in this series. We needed one more from him tonight and he can’t do that anymore. Unless Bynum can become that guy, the dynasty is done.

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  34. I think the reason Lakers go into ISO mode in the 4th is because of Kobe. But it’s not working anymore. It’s time to come to terms with the reality.

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  35. #230. Take shots at me all you want. I know all fans are upset. But I’m going to keep the integrity of my site and how I want to run it. If you don’t like that, cool. I’m not forcing you to stay here and talk about who to trade and who you’d get for them.

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  36. thanks Snoop, so it has been awhile …

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  37. Dick Barnett May 6, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Something is wrong with Pau Gasol. I don’t know if it is an injury, but he isn’t right, you can tell in the way he played.

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  38. Can somebody say it’s gonna be a rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals, My Miami Heat v.s. The Dallas Mavericks! And it’s gonna have the same result as 5 years ago! Well, just in case, I already got my tickets ( http://bit.ly/maveritks ) 🙂

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  39. Darius, please be strict on the commenting guidelines. I don’t want to talk trades. I don’t want to talk next season. I want to talk about how pissed i am tonight right now.

    theres a lot to talk about right now. on frustration. on my complete frustration on the inability of this team to run the triangle offense like it was new to them… makes no sense.

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  40. All I want now is for the Lakers to avoid the sweep and play one more game before the home crowd in Staples.

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  41. Funky Chicken May 6, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Oh God, here comes the fatigue excuse again. Fatigue from multiple title runs played NO ROLE in this team’s collapse.

    The Lakers just lost three straight games by not executing their offense in the 4th quarter. That is about a lack of discipline and a lack of trust (in the system and in your teammates).

    So, please, stop making excuses about how games played 10 months ago are causing the Lakers to lose this series. It’s almost as pathetic as blaming the refs….

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  42. are we really going to sit here and talk about how Lakers will win 4 straight games?

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  43. I can’t think of anything to say. I honestly expected the team to at least grind out this one win out of pride if nothing else.

    It’s not over yet, but we’re on life support and Dirk has his hand on the plug. I will admit to never considering the Mavs a serious contender before the start of the series.

    Eating crow now – Dirk has been great for them and Carlisle has done a fantastic job.

    Losing to any team would have been painful (obviously Boston and Miami top the list) but I have to put the Mavs third. It makes me ill to think of the smug expression on Cuban’s face, or that cheap shot artist Terry taking his I’m-an-airplane act into the WCF while we go home.

    If/when we are eliminated I will start pulling for the Grizzlies to win the championship. Strangely enough I don’t dislike Tony Allen any more since his emergence seems so random. I would have pulled for the Thunder except for Perkins.

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  44. You all are ridiculous Kobe is 32 years old he is not done, the guy can’t win for losing.

    Everyone says Kobe don’t shoot so much, Kobe pass the ball more.

    Games 2 and 3 what does he do? He does his best to get everyone else involved and that doesn’t do the trick either.

    I for one would rather have Kobe shoot 30 times like game 1 and have Bynum get the rest than to trust in the rest of the players the Lakers have right now.

    Kobe has always had the WORST double standard for a player, recognize him for what he is and always has been he is a SCORER, he leads by scoring he just cannot do it alone.

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  45. funky, i agree with you except that I think they haven’t been running their offense very well all game, and all series.

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  46. I never thought the lakers kryptonite would be a Spanish cheerleader

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  47. Funky – See, I want to believe you. But when you read Adande’s interview with Horry, Horry flat out says that 2003 was the most exhausted he’s ever been in a playoff series. Just one player? Yes. But I tend to take the word of a player who actually went to three straight finals, then a fan who sits at home but feels he can definitively say “fatigue from multiple title runs played NO ROLE in this team’s collapse.”

    I would love to hear about your experiences in three straight Finals.

    (FWIW, I completely agree about the poor execution. But I believe mental fatigue may have played a role in these constant defensive breakdowns. I say “may,” because frankly it’s my opinion. No one knows the truth except the players in that locker room).

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  48. Oh really, funky?

    Glad you are so sure of yourself. You must be a Laker insider to absolutely KNOW that “Fatigue from multiple title runs played NO ROLE in this team’s collapse.”

    Haha – gimme a break.

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  49. I know that this is Phil’s swan song, and its not a moment too soon. This guy is stubborn to a fault. The Lakers bench actually played well enough this game to win, but Phil kept them in too long. When the timeout came at 9:28 Phil should have gone back to his starters. Instead the bench comes back in, which in turn keeps the majority of the starters on the bench losing their rhythm for the game!

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  50. hehe Snoop – I guess we are on the same page so to speak, posting almost simultaneously (sic).

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  51. Funky Chicken May 6, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    @Lakers8888, actually, the criticism of Kobe is totally justified. Kobe played great ball through 3 quarters. Guess what? The Lakers were doing fine at that point. Then, Kobe went rogue in the 4th, and the offense came to a standstill and Bynum got no shots. So, yeah, I’m gonna call him out for being a ball hog when the team needed him to be a facilitator (or to get his shots within the offense).

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  52. 230. that was kinda unnecessary.

    But it is frustrating, and the series is all but over. But technically it isn’t. I want the lakers to at least go out like champs. Make dallas sweat.

    For next the game the lakers, phil jackson and who ever else needs to remember that KOBE is the lakers strength. I think Kobe has tried to play within the confines of the system to a fault. Kobe is still great so let him be great. Last season he was great, 09 he was great, 08 was the same. Now he’s almost taking a back seat to the lakers so called strength in Gasol/Bynum/and Odom. They have to allow kobe to set the table from the opening tip. No more coasting, playing with the flow of the game and if the games close hoping he’s going to close it out. He has to be aggressive from the get go and set the tone for himself and his teammates.

    Bench Gasol. He just doesn’t have it. He’s not going to get it either. Just hope he responds from coming off bench and wakes up.

    Then play artest over 35 minutes. Artest is the only player on the lakers that knows how to properly close out on shooters. Artest is the only fundamentally sound defensive wing the lakers have and he has to play. Matt Barnes hasn’t been able to give the lakers anything so Artest has to be the guy.

    and finally they need to pray.

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  53. give credit to the Mavs, i guess. they were cleary the hungrier team. Phil Jackson thought he could be in cruise control mode and zen the team to a title like poof. They never corrected the same issues that plagued them. Good game, guys.

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  54. One thing I think should be clear: this isn’t all about “not running the offense.” That is part of it, but for the millionth time:

    The Lakers are old and slow
    The Lakers lack perimeter shooting

    These are the kinds of things that show up in the playoffs.

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  55. Funky Chicken May 6, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    R, don’t be a punk. The fatigue excuse was trotted out before the all star break when the team lost 5 straight. Then, miraculously, the shook off all that 2010 playoff fatigue and went 17-1. But wait, now they are fatigued again. Yeah, that’s realistic.

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  56. Celebrate the Lakers, don’t damn them. This has been a great run, and so much hasn’t felt right this year, so this is fitting.

    Bynum looks like he is ready to be the man, and Kobe has ample gas in the tank, LO has been great and Pau will be back.

    So disappointing, but hardly surprising, given what we’ve seen this year.

    Ample credit to the Mavs, to be sure.

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  57. Even with poor coaching the Lakers were in a position to win this game. Yet, poor decisions down the stretch by the veterans have doomed them this series.

    Further, I think we all knew this day would come. The Lakers have fooled themselves all season into believing that they were the best team in the league by virtue of the talent on paper. They forgot to play the games. Then they kept going on 7 game losing streaks and no one got upset, they just said, “its not the playoffs” or “all we have to do is win one game, people are tripping!” Well, whose tripping now, Kobe? Bounce pass behind the back to Pau whom proceeds to fumble the ball for a turnover as Terry takes it down court for two points.

    Further, on a high screen and roll, Kobe jumps in the air to pass the ball into Pau’s back for another turnover.

    The Lakers aren’t fatigued they’re just not HUNGRY!

    With that being said, we WILL NOT get swept, there will be another game at Staples. This will be a 7 game series! Sorry, I’m a Laker fan till its o’va!

    Go Lakers!

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  58. Like most everybody else… I have no clue why with the Gasol, Bynum and Odom lineup the Lakers stopped pounding the inside. There was no reason for them to deviate from the plan (at least with that lineup!) and switch to ISO/long jumpers to close the game.
    Bynum was very effective on offense and played with a lot of heart, it made little sense why in crunch time he wasn’t given the ball.

    Too many mistakes and Dallas did a GREAT job of capitalizing on them.

    A comeback is highly unlikely… but I still like our players and will try to enjoy watching them play the rest of the series.

    And yeah they lost but Bynum’s steal/breakaway dunk was one for the memory bank.

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  59. Funky chicken Kobe took how many shots in the 4th? 6? And two were three pointers after the game was over? How was any of that going rogue? He typically shoots 6-10 shots when he goes “rogue”

    2 of his shots were late in the shot clock that he had to force up because the ball was passed back out.

    The guy is a scorer, you ask him to play away from his strengths it’s hard to flip a switch at the end when the team needs it. ESPECIALLY when he is the only guy on the entire Lakers team capable of getting his own shot

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  60. Guys, lets not go at each other right now okay?

    And Funky Chicken, I’d say it’s less physical fatigue as it is mental fatigue. These guys are primed conditioned athletes and I think their bodies – relatively speaking – are in good enough shape to play these games. But, mentally it’s exhausting to continue to climb this mountain year after year and play games where the stakes are so high. Playing these games – games where many pin entire legacies on the results; games where guys are chasing that ultimate goal and failure means so much – can be overwhelming. I think that needs to be acknowledged when considering what the Lakers are trying to accomplish.

    And while I know you don’t agree, playing 100+ games each season when most teams play 80-90 is a real difference. If the Lakers do get swept that’s 10 more games this season pushing the playoff total over the past 4 seasons to over 70 games. That’s nearly an entire season’s worth of games. For an aging core, that’s a lot of games. Again, I don’t expect you to agree, but the premise shouldn’t be dismissed.

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  61. Funky Chicken May 6, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Going rogue means breaking from the offense and relying on dribbling instead of passing, and if you didn’t see a difference between Kobe’s play in the 4th compared tom the first 3 quarters then you aren’t paying attention. As for is 3 shots, I guess you aren’t counting the one when he dribbled out the clock then double pumped and passed the ball into Pau’s back as the shot clock was expiring.

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  62. One of the differences in this series has been the three point shooting, the Mavericks are efficient and the Lakers are not. The Lakers have not been great in the 4thQ crunch time the whole season as they go away from what got them the lead. The lack of outside shooting has finally caught up with them. The Lakers are a step slow in this series and late on defensive rotation leaving too many open jumpers for the Mavericks and the bench has provided the produced needed.

    Gasol has not produced like he has and deserves criticism on his play. If there is something truly wrong it will eventually be made known. I would like to see a little less Gasol bashing, he is not the reason for the Lakers loosing, he has helped get this team to three straight NBA Finals and two Championships.

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  63. Funky Chicken May 6, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Darius, I distinguish between mental and physical fatigue, but the general fatigue argument got trotted out last year in the first round against the Thunder–but the Lakers managed to overcome. Then, I heard it again midseason when the team was playing like garbage, but again they got past it and played some of the best ball they’ve ever played. Now, it’s an issue again. To me, this is just a convenient excuse that doesn’t address the real problems.

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  64. It’s funny when I said this series was over on Wednesday, lots of people jumped in, saying things like “it’s a roller coaster ride” or “let’s not be negative.”

    My remarks were written as a pragmatist. We’ve seen this before, and you can tell when it’s just going to suddenly unravel. It was clearly evident Wednesday; I didn’t even bother watching tonight. I knew better.

    This team has demonstrated some annoying, flat out disgusting tendencies this season and this series was where it all finally came to a head. And it was evident from Game 1, but became screamingly obvious midway through Game 2.

    * Inconsistent bench play, usually excluding Odom. But even he’s been off this time.
    * Poor outside shooting
    * Taking certain opponents lightly
    * Poor defense of the three-point line, allowing big runs
    * Simply not showing up some nights, or failing to respond when pushed hard
    * A complete inability to hold a large lead
    * A complete inability to hit big shots at the end of games.

    And the most inexcusable of all — a total disregard for what should prevent most of those flaws from becoming fatal flaws: failure to play to the team’s strengths, moving the ball inside then out.

    They shouldn’t even bother showing up Sunday. It’s going to rival Game 6 in Boston three years ago.

    Who know what’s in store for summer, but the future isn’t pretty. The best building block L.A. has is Bynum, and God bless him for the growth he’s shown this season. Aside from him, there’s lots of cap space eaten up by aging, unreliable players (Artest, Fisher, Walton). And Kobe and Pau aren’t what they were in the past couple of years, for whatever reason.

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  65. Dallas just has too many kockdown shooters, and the Lakers have none.

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  66. #263. Personally, I think the mental fatigue is what’s leading to the inability to perform as well as they’d like to physically. It sounds corny, but the body does not work without the mind. When we talk about Pau’s struggles, I think it’s easy to say he’s soft but I think the more realistic explanation is that there’s some mental block that’s getting in the way of his performance right now. The same could be said for several other players on the team.

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  67. The Mavs now have a great chance to get to the Finals. These Lakers are not the type of team to put any extra effort to avoid getting swept; they know they can’t come back from 3-0, so I doubt they will even try. They’ll win Game 4 only if the Mavs have a bad shooting night or if the Mavs take their foot off the gas.

    http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/05/mavericks-may-have-punched-their-ticket.html

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  68. Funky Chicken May 6, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Darius, I’d just like someone to explain to me how watching another team go deep into the playoffs generates so much fatigue (mental or physical) for Blake, Barnes, Artest or Bynum (who wasn’t much of a factor in the first two Finals runs).

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  69. Funky Chicken I edited my post go back and read it he had 6 shots. 2 were after the game was over when he forced up 2 3 pointers after the game was already over. One shot he was forced to shoot the ball because he received it late in the shot clock. Two of the other two jumpers he hit. So by no means did he ever “go rogue.” Yes he had a turnover by passing to Pau when he wasn’t looking but once again that isn’t going rogue he was looking for Pau on the play the pass was just off the mark.

    You expect perfection from the guy who has the hardest job on this team. He walks the line of being “too selfish” or not trying to attack and score enough.

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  70. Oh, good. A guy promoting his blog.

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  71. Nice savvy vet Fisher. Foul Terry and throw ball out of bounds. Still not calling out Mitch for this horrible bench and worst starting point guard in the league. I only hope that I never have to see sissy Pau, Blake and Artest every again in a Laker uniform.

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  72. As much as I hate losing to Cuban, I respect him as an owner who is willing to spend the dough and roll the dice. After the Lakers, Dallas has the highest payroll in the league. I have way more respect for him than the Sterlings and Dan Gilberts of the league.

    I thought Peja was a really good mid-year pickup for them…pennies on the dollar for what his shot is worth. The Lakers could have used his touch, for sure. The entire Dallas team has very capable shooters, at the 1, 2, 3, and 4 spots.

    This Dallas team was underestimated, perhaps from past history. This Laker team was also estimated (not necessarily over or under), but also from past history, and not current mileage. However, I must give credit as Dallas didn’t waver, or lose their focus, and my hats go off to them. They didn’t wilt as they would have in the past. These aren’t the Mavs of old, and it is apparent that they are hungry and focused. More hungry and more focused than a team that has been to the finals 3 straight times, and has had players play on Team USA and Spain in the off-season.

    Yes, there are a lot of things that the Lakers could have done better. The list is long, but does not matter. We competed in this game, and I will admit that we were beat by a team that could shoot the long ball, rather than battle us inside and fugly it up ala Celtics. Wow. The Mavs aren’t completely the anti-Lakers in a sense, but enough so. Both teams are built to win, in different ways, but the Lakers were a proven formula.

    If Dallas does go on to win this series (and it does seem unlikely for the Lakers to take 4 straight from this team), I would still rather them take the title over the Heat or Celtics. I think Cuban has finally put it together, as has Dirk and Kidd.

    As I write this, there’s still something that still doesn’t sit right as I don’t feel as though we were overmatched, especially watching our offense stagnate. We plain and simple looked like a tired bunch. You could say we were overmatched, in just a very different way. But really, they brought the energy, the focus, and the shooters, and we didn’t counter it with our game and force our game for 48 minutes.

    Do you blow this team up? No, that is completely knee-jerk ludicrous. You give them a break, bring in some shooters and some fresh blood and motivation, and keep on competing. There is plenty of life left in this core. Thanks for the run.

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  73. You know what?

    I’m sticking it out with the Lakers until the bloody end.

    I don’t care that a comeback is a statistical improbability. I don’t care that we would have to win four in a row, including two in Dallas, to avoid defeat. I don’t care that the bandwagoners have begun their exit, that the “analysts” have already written us off, or the fact that the Lakers played as well as they could, within their odd limitations, and still lost.

    I know it hurts like shit. Trust me, I’m feeling it. But I’m not going to take the easy way out, accepting resignation in hopes of preventing further disappointment and heartache. I’m going to gut it out.

    Until. The. Bloody. End.

    What I did not like:
    – Gasol. I can’t explain what happened to him along the way, but I am disappointed and frustrated with him, as I’m sure many also are.

    – Instances of weak defensive rotations gave Dallas ample opportunities for wide open spot-up 3’s. Nowitzki had plenty of open looks, and he made us pay, as expected. The Mavericks shot 41.4% as a team. Although most of the makes (6) were in the first quarter before the Lakers made adjustments, the defense was still not good enough.

    – Rebounding: Oftentimes, the players who were not in the paint simply stood and watched the trajectory of the ball, as opposed to putting themselves on a body or extending their arms to block out. This might have gone unnoticed due to the fact that the interior rebounders often ran and got to the ball before the unchecked Dallas players.

    – The Lakers stopped going to Drew in the second half. Bynum scored seven points (of his 21) in the second half on three buckets and a free throw. He was 3 of 5 in the second half. The last miss by Drew? 11:42 left in the fourth quarter.

    – Peja scored the same amount of points as our entire bench. That is unacceptable. Conversely, Odom did not continuously attack Stojakovic in the post, often dribbling out the clock and settling with a jump shot. At one point, Kobe clearly yelled at LO, “Get in the fuckin’ post! Post his ass up!” Lamar should have exclusively operated in the post on Marion and Peja. They can’t stop him.

    What I did like:
    – Phil Jackson finally showing some fire that I had never seen before.

    – Bynum. The single positive I took from this game. Drew showed determination, perseverance, patience, and effort. You can’t ask for more than that. I thought he played great, it’s just unfortunate that the Lakers decided to stray from the first half game plan.

    – The bench. I thought they played reasonably well. Blake showed his patented patience and discipline to run the Triangle. Shannon cut down on his bonehead plays and helped contribute offensively. Barnes led the Lakers with a +4; the only Laker not in the negative.

    – The Black Mamba played within the offense, all the while setting up his teammates. Offensively, the Mamba scored with great efficiency, making 8 of 12 at one point.

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  74. Credit to Dirk who beat us tonight and sealed the series. The man simply dominated.

    Pau could’ve played better, but he was never a great 1 on 1 player, he was at his best when Kobe was penetrating. Kobe refuses to penetrate through three games, and makes too many mistakes on defense.. I’m not sure what is wrong but clearly if you are not doing these things you are getting beat. I’m finally coming to grips with the fact that the Mavs are a better team.

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  75. @ Darius… it’s about time someone agrees with me regarding the effect that four seasons of 100+ games has taken on the Lakers. As a C’s fan I find it interesting for the people who’ve ripped into Pau this playoffs (he only helped you get two rings the last two years). KG helped Boston get it’s first title in 22 years and even he hasn’t been throttled in his current form the way that Gasol has been.

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  76. This run is over. Period. Let’s see
    What they do now. Kobe act 4
    Is hopefully about to be launched
    next season ( that’s the Kobe who
    Is more Like ray allen). Not the main
    Guy but very important.

    And let’s face it, two titles is pretty
    Darn good, especially considering
    Game 7 last year could have easily turned out
    Way way differently. Imagine we only win
    In 09, Lose in 08, 10 to celts then lose
    To the mavs like this in 11??? Hope
    That makes u feel better. Think how devastating
    Game 7 was for the celts?! It was a near death
    Experience that sapped the lakers this year.

    Anybody but Boston; Miami. Prefer to
    See Dallas Memphis or okc win it.

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  77. Why were so many plays being run for Odom in the 4th? was it by design or what?

    I think out of all the lakers he was the most unmotivated and the most distracted player, I guess due to all is extracurricular activities, but regardless that’s not the type of player you want closing out the most important game of the season.

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  78. Is there a site that only charts over/under for a player on offense when he’s involved in a play (touches the ball or is passed the ball, along with the outcome if it results in a basket or basket the other way) + defensive when he’s the closest defender to the shooter? If so, I estimate that Pau was easily -30 to -40 tonight.

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  79. Funky I find it interesting that you imply citing fatigue is making excuses for the team. It’s not like the Lakers are my kids or embarassing relatives or something I assembled. I don’t need to make excuses for the Lakers!

    By the way, calling people names is a good indication of a weak line of argument. I thought you might appreciate that helpful hint. You’re welcome.

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  80. #268. The fact that few teams repeat shows that it’s hard. Sometimes it’s injuries, but a lot of times it’s dealing with the mental aspects of teams gunning for you each night and being up to that challenge game after game 100 times in a season. Every contributing player save Blake and Barnes (who have never been in a deep playoff run at all, so you can say they’re experience this type of mental test for the first time) are experiencing this right now. I’m not saying it’s the only factor, but it’s contributing. You know what’s also contributing? The Dallas freaking Mavericks playing top level basketball.

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  81. The premise holds no water when your number 2 player had the entire summer off and the guy who plays all summer gets the 6th man of the year. Pau did not come through when it counted. It is not the only reason why we are down by 3, but this is the guy so many people on this site worship but they can’t admit why a guy who is so smart, he could not get mentally accept the burden he would be asked to carry.

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  82. If he can’t handle basketball, how does he expect to be a surgeon?

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  83. I feel lucky as a Lakers fan to have Gasol on “my” team.

    Even though his play of late has been disappointing.

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  84. Funky Chicken May 6, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    @Lakers, Kobe had 6 assists (which would be six more than he had when he shot the Lakers out of game 1), which is very good. How many in the 4th? My point is that he, but also Fish and Lamar, spent three quarters executing the game plan and pounding the ball inside. Then the 4th quarter came and all that stopped. Tons of dribbling, little passing, and no attempt to get the ball inside. That’s why they lost, and it is almost always the reason why they lose.

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  85. So my wife’s little cousin (age 5) and her nephew (2) were getting into the playoffs last week and asked for Kobe player Tshirts. We bought them shirts from nbastore.com last Saturday.

    Unfortunately, they didn’t come in time for game 2 on Wednesday and as of tonight they still haven’t come in yet. Sad thing is that even if the shirts come by Monday or Tuesday, there may not be a game 5 to wear them at.

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  86. Dirk = Kobe + 6 more inches.
    This is a complete guess on my part, but, if true, it would explain a lot of things.

    Maybe Kobe’s mindset is “OK, Drew did his thing through the first 3 quarters, we’re up, now it’s time for me to close in the 4th”… EXCEPT, the difference is, it’s one thing when you’re a 7 foot closer like Dirk with an unstoppable shot, and another when you’re a guard, although unstoppable at times, like Kobe. And I think this difference has manifested itself in the Mavs execution and Lakers’ lack thereof during 4th quarters.

    Dirk and Kobe both can close, except Dirk has the added advantage of being 6 inches taller and MORE unguardable vs Pau/LO/Bynum than Kobe has been vs Stevenson/Kidd/etc. Add to that, the Mavs supporting cast, as a whole, has consistently proven to step up, while the Lakers supporting cast, outside Bynum, has failed to be anything but inconsistent, failing to step up and, for whatever reason, FORGETTING ABOUT OUR HUGE BEAST IN THE PAINT IN THE LAST 10 MINS OF THE 4TH QUARTER!!

    Additionally, for all the talk about fixing the P&R defense, I still counted 8-10+ shots when P&R def broke down. If Jason Kidd made even half the open 3s he had, we would have lost by at least 12.

    Finally, the Mavs are good enough where they can win with Dirk exploding for 50 points or with Dirk as he is right now (which is pretty dominant itself, actually). This Lakers squad, sad to say, are in a catch-22.. on the one hand, when Kobe dominates the ball, the Lakers build bad habits to eventually lose (if not lose right away), but on the other, if Kobe adjusts and facilitates (or has an off game), I don’t know if the Lakers are good enough to win, ESPECIALLY when there’s been a playoff-long identity crisis about who’s our 2nd best player, etc.

    Kobe has been as competitive and consistent as anyone from either team this series, but, we have, are and will win because of one main factor: OUR SIZE. Therefore, while we don’t necessarily need Kobe’s “closing”, what we DO NEED is continuous and consistent execution of getting the ball inside — particularly to Bynum.

    Just a few stats (@HoopData) –

    “Lakers were +6 over Mavs when Bynum had his last shot. Ended up -6 10 minutes and 0 shots later.”

    “Andrew Bynum with 16 FGA and 3 FTA in first 38 minutes of game. 0 and 0 in last 10 minutes.”

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  87. Some guys find a way to win when the opposition takes away their strengths. They find a way to channel that drive and make a positive impact. How many guys (coaches included) on the lakers did that? I’m not saying to throw out the game plan, but there are plenty of ways to tweak it.

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  88. Darius, this has been brought up before but dismissed by many people but I think it really rings true after this series.

    Basketball is all about matchups and how you can exploit them in your advantage. I have always felt like the Lakers have had very favorable matchups in their favor the past 3 years, unfortunately the luck has run out this season.

    in 2008, we played Denver (the Allen Iverson version), a Utah Jazz team that the Lakers have always had their number, the Spurs who had no size other than Tim Duncan that year to combat the Lakers advantage and finally they ran into a nightmare matchup in Boston and we saw how that turned out.

    in 2009, we played the Jazz again, a deadly Rockets team that took it to 7 games and had Yao stayed healthy who knows how that series would have turned out but they had the talent to beat the Lakers, then they played the hot-headed Nuggets (Chauncey version) who on top of losing their cool, they didn’t have the size to compete with LA. In the Finals against the Magic the Lakers really played I think their best overall series in the Gasol era because neither team had much of an advantage over the other.

    in 2010, the Lakers played an overachieving youthful Thunder team that probably peaked a year too early with no size to combat LA, then they played the Jazz again (once again no contest), then the Suns and while they had the 3 point shooting to bite the Lakers they never had a “closer” or the size inside to negate LA’s advantage down low. Finally in the Finals against Boston the Lakers had a size advantage down low against a team with a still hampered Kevin Garnett, injured Perkins, and an ineffective PG in Rondo who was never really an offensive threat to LA which allowed Kobe to roam to help on Ray and Pierce. It was close but the Lakers had just enough to win that series.

    And that brings us to this year, we won’t begin to discuss the mismatch that LA was for New Orleans. But in Dallas that was a whole other monster, a team that would have given LA trouble in any of the previous 3 years but only with their current lineup. Dallas has the size to limit Gasol’s effectiveness by being physical with him, they have 3 point shooters anywhere you look (which ALWAYS causes the Lakers trouble), they have savy-veterans all over the floor. The play incredibly sound defense, they have a PG (Barea) who is quick and can cause havoc in the interior of the defense. They have probably the deepest bench in the NBA and finally the have Dirk, who while people want to hate on him sometimes he truthfully is one of the best PFs in the NBA and one of the greatest shooters ever and he has proven he is an effective closer.

    My whole point is this was the perfect storm to beat LA, they had all the tools from the beginning and as much as I hate Cuban he built this team to beat the Lakers and that is exactly what has happened. Sports are alot of luck and fortune and the Lakers have had plenty of both. The ride was great but quite simply the Mavericks are the better team, you don’t basically sweep a team otherwise. Just my 2 cents

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  89. Sorry fellas, missed the 2nd half and just got home. I haven’t read the other 200+ posts, but I love what ifs? Do you believe the outcome would have been different had Artest been in the game?

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  90. At some point, these Lakers need to stop talking about knowing the adjustments to make (ie – a complete dedication to proper P&R defense, an inside-out offense, etc), and just do it.

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  91. Here we go with the “they can’t possibly be tired” line. Stop. When anyone on this board plays 100 NBA games a year for four straight years and makes that comment I’ll take them seriously. Until then, I take it as the frustrated talk of a serious Laker fan.

    Honestly, I am disappointed. But I am not too mad. I have seen my favorite team hang multiple banners in my lifetime. It had to come to an end at some point. And make no mistake, its about to end. It is what it is folks. But the Lakers are still my team. I will be rocking my Lakers T-shirt all weekend. Because if they are team when they are back to back champs, they are my team now.

    Los Angeles Lakers forever…

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  92. Funky Chicken May 6, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    R, I’m pretty confident that my argument is sound. The Lakers had a week off before the playoffs started, then proceeded to lay an egg against a severely under matched opponent. That wasn’t fatigue, it was typical Laker arrogance that didnt take an opponent seriously enough. That has been a hallmark of Laker teams under Phil Jackson. Now, they are getting outworked, outplayed, and outcoached by a very talented and very deep team that, as Darius pointed out, is playing great ball and making unbelievable shot. And yet we keep hearing the excuse (yes, it is an excuse) that this is due to fatigue. Maybe it’s the fact that the Lakers coasted with a 16 point lead in game 1 and let the Mavs get comfortable and confident. Maybe it’s the fact that the Lakers have the worst starting PG in the playoffs. Maybe it’s the fact that the Laker bench consists of one guy. Maybe it’s the fact that the team has absolutely no outside shooters that can be relied on. Maybe it’s the fact that the Lakers don’t exploit their biggest advantage by pounding the ball inside. Or, maybe it’s the fact that late in games their offense goes stagnant and everyone just watches Kobe dribble around the perimeter instead of passing and cutting.

    I don’t think any of that has anything to do with fatigue, because these are all problems that have plagued the Lakers for the last three years–it’s just unfortunate that this year they are playing a team that can exploit these deficiencies.

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  93. 287, very well put. I agree completely. This Laker team never matched that Laker dynasty back from 2000-2003. The only team giving them any trouble, the Kings. Oh and Portland that first year who had an incredible team. Besides that, the team just dominated with Shack and Kobe as the 1 2 punch. This Laker squad HAS benefited in favorable matchups the past seasons and while still a great team, definitely not what people make them out to be.

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  94. @293

    Are you sure closing out games has been a problem the last three years? In 2008-2009 the Lakers actually had a very good record in close games. The following season Kobe buried several game winners. That is an issue that really popped up this season. And I know you don’t want hear this, but it usually is related to the mental fatigue Darius spoke of. Mental mistakes are what loses close games. The Lakers are clearly making more mental mistakes this season. Do the math.

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  95. Funky, I think you are confusing basic fatigue with age and mileage.

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  96. @294

    Come on. The teams play who is front of them. Let’s not penalize the Lakers because Cleveland lost in 2009 or Boston lost Perk for game seven last year. Boston benefited from a weak Eastern Conference in 2008 and Laker team whose second best player had only been with them a couple months. Are we taking some shine off their trophy as well? An NBA champ is an NBA champ.

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