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. For Warren!!!

    And now for everyone on the team to pick up their game and let’s go Lakers!

  2. us lakers fans always like to say that this team plays best when their backs are against the wall. Well this is it, there is no bigger wall.

    Squash all the off court drama, play like the 17-1 team we saw after the ASG.

    Kobe lives for quieting hostile environments. Go get em Mamba!

    …let the legacy continue!

  3. I just can’t see lakers going down like this. I think they’ll pull this win out. But I’m still concerned with Gasol going forward.

  4. Funky Chicken May 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    If LO starts, Gasol spends the whole game defending Dirk, and that is not a favorable matchup for the Lakers. Pau cannot guard Nowitski on the perimeter as well as Lamar, and getting torched on defense is hardly the recipe for this fragile dude to regain his mojo on offense. Moreover, Pau’s passivity on offense allows Dirk to rest a lot more on that end of the floor than he would having to defend LO.

    Frankly, I’d rather see Barnes inserted into the starting lineup. Yeah, he’s played poorly in the playoffs, but he’s playing with a bench unit that is simply awful. Letting him get some burn with the starters might show him to be the effective player that he has always been–and would preserve LO’s status as your best reserve, and gives the Lakers the option of subbing LO for Pau to give Dirk a different and more difficult defender.

  5. Warren’s losing his touch.

  6. “In the big picture, I know that a series comeback is on all of our minds.”

    Wrong. Clearly, a lot of ‘fans’ have Dwight Howard and 2012 free agency on their minds instead.

    I love the breakdown of the big lineup. It definitely has a tinge of desperation, as Phil has never liked this lineup before. But I’m much more comfortable with Lamar out there than Shannon or Blake starting. Those two are barely rotation players right now.

    My main fear is spacing. If Odom tries to get Marion on the block, Gasol/Bynum will have to spread out to draw away the help, and be ready to hit that 15 footer. It could get awful cramped in that paint

    I’m just hoping someone can just bottle that 2009 Ariza magic from deep … just a few threes, enough to give Bynum/Pau a little space to work.

  7. Darius (or any other record/stat-geek)

    Any idea on what the “tallest” line-up to ever start a NBA game is? This has got to be close with LO at 3 and a decent sized Kobe at 2 making up for Fish not being overly tall for his position.

    I’m really hoping for a hell of a performance tonight, but share similar concerns as everyone else here. Apparently our “big (tall) three” have only played 2.5 minutes together all year.

  8. Taylor, if I’m not mistaken, I think the pistons set the record for tallest lineup to start. Or maybe that was the tallest backcourt to ever start with T Mac at pg. I can’t exactly remember. But ur right, this has to be up there. Hopefully it all works out. LETS GO LAKERS!!

  9. The bench can’t play any worse than they showed in Game 2. I hope that Steve Blake shows some warrior spirit and lifts his head back up, not only to get his confidence back, but to prove we didn’t waste our investment in him. Phil showed a lot of patience with Blake, and I feel he left him in to start the 4th so that he wouldn’t lose the fraction of confidence that he has left.

    Luke getting a few minutes cannot hurt either, since he’s capable and willing to kick the ball inside to the bigs. Fingers and toes are all crossed. GO LAKERS!

  10. Not NBA, but deng tall –

    “The Maryland Nighthawks, a team in the American Basketball Association, achieved a Guinness Book world record by producing the tallest lineup in the history of basketball.

    Their lineup – Center Sun Ming Ming at 7’9″, Forwards Gheorghe Muresan at 7’7″ and Ayo Adigun at 7’1″ and guards Deng D’Awol at 7’0″, and Barry Mitchell at 6’8″.”

  11. If the rift is between Pau and Kobe, this team is done. Maybe that is why Phil has been so relaxed, all the king’s horses and and all the king’s men can’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again, and he knows it.

    Let’s hope not.

  12. Darius,
    My love for Bynum is well documented. Such is my love for chocolate, beautiful women, and a glass of nice scotch in the hot tub. There is a reason why we love these things. I think we are watching two different games. Of course defenders slightly shade to the ball. That tales place every possession of every game. There is a difference between a hard double team and shading defenders to the ball slightly. Andrew Bynum is the only Laker that has seen hard doubles on practically a regular basis.

  13. I love it when my comments get deleted without a stated reason. It’d be nice to at least have the decency or courtesy to say, “hey, Simonoid, your comment wasn’t relevant to the stuff we discuss here”. So at least I can say, “my bad, won’t happen again.” But nope. Of course, when others post the same stuff, they get to stay on.

  14. #13. We must be watching different games. Bynum rarely sees a hard double team. The defense is sagging and digging down but not staying with him.

  15. #14. Sorry I can’t catch every single comment the minute it gets displayed. As you can see, the comment in question was deleted.

    As a general rule, we don’t deal w/ rumor mongering here at the site. Maybe I should add that to the commenting guidelines but I would hope that the general guideline that this is a basketball site continues to get lost on people. If you want to talk about that stuff, go to TMZ or another Laker board where they’re more than happy to entertain folks with rumors about peoples personal lives that no one from the mainstream press – as far as I know – has touched with a 10 foot pole.

  16. Also, if anyone has an issue with the way that I run this site, feel free to click that box in the right hand sidebar and email me. I try to respond to every email that comes to me and take my time to provide a thoughtful response.

  17. What ever happened to flipping the switch?

    Here’s to hoping that the Lakers play with a sense of urgency on offense and defense. Let’s get after it like we did during that winning streak!

    Let’s go Lakers!

  18. We are not going down without a fight!! Lets go Lakers!

  19. We all know Gasol can get tired, and he looks that way now. Phil intentionally scaled back Kobe this year, but Phil has still ridden Pau harder than any other player these past three years, and it’s coming back to haunt them.

    Another long term mistake Phil has made is not utilizing this big lineup we’ll see tonight. I think a large contingent of basketball fans have wondered what a Bynum-Gasol-Odom frontline would look like, either paired with Fish/Kobe or Kobe/Artest. Yet Phil hasn’t tried this lineup enough (or is it “at all”? it’s not in the top 20 lineups on 82games), and now this frontline will have to be a last, and depending on your view, desperate, measure when the team is down 0-2 going into a hostile crowd. Certainly worries about the rotation and fatigue would be less if the big frontline made an appearance every third or fourth game during the regular season.

  20. If it’s worth anything, Gasol looked automatic on his shots just now as seen through the courtside cam.

    Luke Walton, on the other hand, looks like he has a better chance of making a shot while submerged in a swimming pool than he does right now.

  21. What more needs to be said. Bottom Line: It’s Gut Check Time Ladies & Gentlemen.

    When your back is against the wall, there’s only 1 thing that an individual/team can do to get off that wall and that’s to come out swinging. Enough with the lame excuses (Tired) and child-like he said she said bitchin’/bickering. We need 48 mins of Maximum Effort, Focus and Execution. Can’t get Rattled or Demoralized. It’s not as if we haven’t performed in front of a hostile environment before and these Mavericks fans want blood.

    I’m of the belief that if we take this game, we win this series in 7. But if we happen to lose, not only will we get swept out of the ‘offs, we’ll get blown out of the gym on Sunday.

    Lets Get It. Gotta Show The Heart of Champions and It Starts Tonight.

  22. i’m reading this blog/site since 2007 or so,and i was never excited as i am today,i will go down with my ship if that’s necessary but that won’t happen today,today we’re gonna survive,it’s 3 a.m. in eastern europe and i can’t wait for start of the game,we will make a stand!GO LAKERS!greetings from croatia!!

  23. Lol it’s been a long time since fans have been this emotional about a game. Repeated success can make you numb.

    On a side note, I’ll admit I’ll be trembling in fear when either Steve Blake or Shannon Brown check into the game. My main thing will be seeing how our bench handles Lamar starting. Phil will have to shorten the rotation tonight.

  24. I hope that Phil’s pregame speech goes something like this:

    General MacArthur was over here two days ago; he is thoroughly conversant with the situation. He knows where we are and what we have to fight with. He knows our needs and where the enemy is hitting the hardest. General MacArthur is doing everything possible to send reinforcements. A Marine unit and two regiments are expected in the next few days to reinforce us. Additional units are being sent over as quickly as possible. We are fighting a battle against time. There will be no more retreating, withdrawal, or readjustment of the lines or any other term you choose. There is no line behind us to which we can retreat. Every unit must counterattack to keep the enemy in a state of confusion and off balance. There will be no Dunkirk, there will be no Bataan. A retreat to Pusan would be one of the greatest butcheries in history. We must fight until the end. Capture by these people is worse than death itself. We will fight as a team. If some of us must die, we will die fighting together. Any man who gives ground may be responsible for the death of thousands of his comrades. I want you to put this out to all the men in the Division. I want everybody to understand we are going to hold this line. We are going to win.

  25. I wish I could be optimistic, but I am not. Hope I am wrong.

  26. anyone have a feed?

  27. #27. Try espn3.com. They should have a stream going tonight.

  28. This season has made me feel a lot of different emotions, but tonight is the first night that ‘terror’ tops the list. come on, boys….

  29. Liking this lineup so far.

  30. Damn their 3 point shooting.

  31. Because of the spacing issues, we’ve decided to go with a lot of elbow screen rolls involving Odom. Mavs are switching and LA gets a mismatch as Odom flows into a post up off the switch.

    Example of Phil adjusting the offense to take advantage of LA’s size at the 3

  32. Oh No, Kobe with 2 early fouls, Shannon Brown in for Kobe

  33. Pau Gasol is trying to singlehandedly lose this game with his defense. Wow.

  34. Please ship Gasoft out of Lakerland.

  35. That 2nd foul on Kobe. Did he touch him? Yeah. But, Jesus if Kobe doesn’t get hacked on damn near every drive with no calls! It was bad enough before Kobe slurred that ref, but now it seems just ridiculous.

  36. It blows my mind that we chose not to guard their best player….back to back WIDE OPEN 3 pointers is unacceptable.

    The Lakers need to guard Dirk with the same tenacity the Mavs are guarding Kobe. Anything less means there’s no need to watch game 4.

  37. Excellent choice, Pau. We really needed a 3rd defender on Kidd while leaving Dirk wide open after he just hit a three.

  38. Wow. Clearly Pau’s mind is already on vacation. Back to back 3s by Dirk with Pau CLEARLY the closest defender and he makes absolutely no attempt to close out, he actually backed away both times. The first time he expected LO to come from the baseline? Really!?

  39. Pau looks lost. I’m glad pj laid into him. Let’s go pau, we need you!

  40. Well, I think we know that Phil does actually want to win. ;-0

  41. dude, wtf was that foul on bynum? this game is rigged

  42. That’s the phrase I wanted to hear. Absorb the contact.

  43. It’s disgusting that a Chandler flop has the potential to change the tenor of this game. Bynum is crucial to the way we’re playing right now.

  44. Is dallas ever going to go even marginally cold on their jump shots. There percentage outside of 15 feet this series is absurd, which is especially damaging when the lakers defensive philosophy has been to give the team long jumpy shots while protecting the paint.

  45. as long as shannon brown doesn’t shoot, i’m happy

  46. Bynum is playing well and getting good position, Lakers cannot forget to go inside to him. Lakers survived Kobe being out 5+ minutes and only down 2 with Mavericks 4-5 from three. Need some points production from the bench. Can anyone make a three for the Lakers?

  47. joe smith on dirk. i think phil lost all confidence on gasol’s defense

  48. mavs’ bench abusing lakers’

  49. BLAKE HIT A THREE!!!

  50. I don’t want to see gasol in a lakers uniform next year

  51. shannon brick another missed 3

  52. Q, what a stupid thing to say…

  53. Q50-That s a fine way of showing gratittude to a guy who has helped the team and Kobe to reach 3 finals in a row and is just exhausted.

    Anyway, the game looks terrible.
    The bench still struggles, no improvement in 3p, no defensive consistence whatsoever…and still just down by one.

    We all know this Dallas Squad.Put some pressure on them and they will fall like a house of cards.

    I say Lakers by 10-12.

  54. Brown after one good series.

    missed three, turnover, miss layup, stupid foul on dirk.

  55. trey johnson instead of brown?

  56. these are some of the weakest foul calls I have ever seen in a playoff game

  57. If I was in arm’s reach of a ref right now, I’d flatten him. Every. Single. Call. Is going the Mavericks way.

  58. Lakers lucky they’re down only by 3…

  59. Okay, just feed drew. Then work inside put. I am strangely liking their chances….

  60. The Mavs should hope that Gasol stays OUT of foul trouble.

  61. Well at least if we are still down in the 4th quarter we can say someone has comeback on the Mavs in that situation

  62. lakers are not getting any calls. tim donaghy really screwed the lakers

  63. bynum is clearly the #2 player behind kobe right now

  64. Bynum steal and slam dunk

  65. Bynum SMASH!!!!

  66. LMFAO BYNUM.

  67. It’s been fun guys. I just wish the lakers weren’t losing to Mark Cuban and the Mavericks of all people.

    Between the shitty officiating and the the disgust losing to the mavericks (would be so much more at ease if they had lost to the thunder or spurs or even grizzlies), I think I’m due for a break from the NBA.

    I’ve followed this core religiously since ’07, so yeah. God damn it it had to be the mavericks.

  68. LET’S GO LAKERS. And Pau you got take that to the rack!

  69. Lakers will win this series. Believe me.

  70. The lakers present and future is
    bringing it tonight. Way to go
    Drew!

  71. The Lakers should now accept the fact that Pau Gasol is no longer our 2nd best player. Andrew Bynum have stepped up to the challenge and he surely is our 2nd best player out there.

  72. Yeah drew! The steal that turned the series! (okay, I’m going crazy; live in Boston and I’m watching the game with you guys)

  73. this gasol effort reminds me of the old lamar effort of a couple years back. regardless of the outcome of this series or the finals whatever, I don’t want such a weak minded player like gasol. if ur girlfriend disses u, TAKE IT OUT ON THE MAVS!! don’t be a little girl on the court!

  74. I’m Proud of Drew. He can see Gasol is weak, and he’s picking up the slack immensely

  75. Pau sort of handed them game 1. He was terrible in the first series. He is playing with no confidence.

    I wish he would just relentlessly attack the basket with good strong moves, but it seems he has no fire in him.

  76. I love how Drew dunked on that bounce pass from Pau and Dirk deliberately grabbed him in an obvious intentional foul, and no foul was called. I guess it was a makeup call for their collision a minute or two before when Dirk shot an air ball with no foul called.

  77. The first half was a good one for LA in that LO’s size made an impact on defense helping to close down the lane and in grabbing rebounds. On offense, the Lakers dedication to going inside has been the difference for them. Also, LA has involved Odom in a lot of P&R’s as the screener and his ability to catch the ball on the dive and finish/create for others has been a solid option.

  78. Chris Mullen is the worst analyst in the history of basketball. ESPN, please fire him after this season.

  79. im really liking the emphasis on getting the ball inside.

    kobe is clearly looking to get others involved, but i wish he would drive against peja or back barea down when the opportunity is there.

    i dont wanna get ahead of myself, but does anyone else want to see the lakers continue using this big lineup for game 4?

  80. If the Lakers have ever had a 2nd in command that was Fish, not LO or Pau. With this game – and the comments after last game – Bynum is taking over that spot.

    I think that is a good thing – for now and the future. It will be Bynum that will close out games.

  81. Pau has been playing weak is this really the result of him breaking up with his GF? Now if only one of the Laker Girls or Kardashans sub-in for his GF so he can have that mojo back

  82. I am a fan of this Odom, Gasol, Bynum lineup, so far.

    I like the effort out there tonight, go Lakers!

  83. Harpoon (Fisher 3)

  84. You guys think we will see this starting lineup next game even with Artest coming back? It really seems to be working.

  85. Lets go Lakers!! Lets make some separation from this Mavericks team.

  86. There we go I think that jumper Dirk hit in Gasol’s face has fired him up a little bit, finally he is looking a lot better so far this half.

  87. 85 – No. I highly, highly doubt it. Phil is not known for that much flexibility. But even if we don’t start with it, I think we’ll see it that lineup at times.

  88. @85 No. PJ wont change things this late in the season especially considering he wouldn’t even change his “normal” rotation in the 4th quarter in game 1. Add in the fact that I think it would damage Artest’s psyche for the rest of the series I don’t think it’s going to happen.

  89. Guard the 3 point line, please!

  90. Dirk is the new Larry Bird or what? This guy can’t miss.

  91. Love Jeff Van Gundy calling out Chandler’s flops

  92. I dont care what anyone says this team is better without Artest. And this new mean assertive Bynum is just what this team has needed since Pau has regressed

  93. What is wrong with Pau’s competitive spirit?

    Just for once, please don’t think and attack. Don’t stop to survey the defense and let them shade towards you. Look at how Bynum attacks instantly, wants to go spin from the double team and still score.

    As for the rest of the guys, PLEASE stop feeding Pau (wow, I never thought I’d say that) at the expense of Bynum. The ball should go into Drew on every possession.

  94. gasol is weak. he’s playing weak and hurting the lakers. glad bynum showed up.

  95. Mavs getting every single call

  96. Phil Jackson is pissed off at Gasol all night. It’s about time.

  97. We are playing 4 on 5 on offense Pau does not want to take a shot and the Mavs now it and they are not doubling him.

  98. How do we shoot half the number of free throw attempts as the mavs when we are pounding it inside and they are shooting jumpers?

    Also i spoke to soon about Gasol get him the heck out of the game he is contributing absolutely nothing at the moment.

  99. we have to check the referees’ bank accounts after the game

  100. I’ve watched PJ coach for 10 years now, i’ve never seen him go at a player during a game the way he’s ripping pau gasol a new one… and its deserved.

  101. Just unbelievable calls in the last few possessions

  102. Watching pau is so frustrating. I haven’t seen pj lay into a player since Kobe circa 04. Come on, close out on dirk

  103. @96. Yeah I love seeing Phil lay into Gasol.

  104. what kind of officiating is this

  105. Bynum has been active tonight and the difference maker.

  106. very controlled game by kobe, good work

  107. Lakers need to continue getting into the paint, having good success there tonight

  108. Pau has needed Phil to lay into him all season long because he has been in this funk all year, people were just too quick to dismiss it as regular season complaceny rather than the more serious issue it was.

  109. Its quite puzzling that we are basically taking inside shots everytime and the Mavs are shooting jumpers but they have more freethrows than us.

  110. shannon brown finally did something

  111. Brown has been in the do something good do something bad then to something good then to something bad mode, all night.

    Now hopefully the bench doesn’t kill us tonight.

  112. Chandler has more free throws himself then our entire starting front line. Yes the front line who hasn’t hit a shot outside of the paint.

  113. Clutch, you are 100% right. If there were ever a time this entire season for the bench not to suck, this is it.

  114. Season on the line n this upcoming 4th. Can’t Fold. Curious 2 see how Phil uses Kobe, who played the entire 3rd, but has keenly been conserving energy.

  115. These last 12 minutes are “nervous time” as Chick used to say.

  116. Phil should bring back kobe at the 10 min mark

  117. Our bench is actually outscoring the mavs so far, I am counting Terry as a starter. and Stevenson as a bench player.

  118. stop shooting jumpers

  119. Samy Harmoush May 6, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    We’re going right back to mid range jumpers as soon as we got a lead… again!

  120. i like the Killer B.O lineup. CMON!

  121. Odom needs to attack the basket, and stop shooting contested jumpers.

  122. that’s what brown should do. drive to the basket.

  123. Here we go keep that lead baby!

  124. Shannon makes boneheaded plays but when he plays wreckless and uses his energy to make things happen instead of forcing offensive plays with his energy, he becomes a solid bench player

  125. that’s an interesting line-up. the o.b.ones.

  126. THAT is what Shannon Brown needs to do more of. He’s one of the very few players we have that can create off the dribble.

    Lamar with some bad shots in this 4th quarter. No more weak fadeways or contested threes. We have to attack, through the post and off the dribble. Get in the penalty early.

  127. Shannon Brown making a few good plays in a row. Plus the adjustment on the PnR. Keep it up.

  128. nice work brown on barea. let him shoot the jumper

  129. Stop shooting jumpers attack the rim!

  130. odom please stop it. we don’t need your jumpers

  131. Got to go inside into Bynum.

  132. Samy Harmoush May 6, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Kobe just yelled from the post – “get the ball into the f****g post”.

  133. GIVE IT TO BYNUM

  134. Ball movement has stopped those last few possessions.

  135. Love seeing Kobe tell Lamar to get in the (blanking) post

  136. dirk is on some kind of fluke shooting streak. this can’t be real. we need to a drug test on him

  137. Nowitzki continues to amaze. The guy just barely misses. That was about as good D as you could play and he just nailed the shot

  138. WHY SO MANY DAMN JUMPSHOTS?!

    I’m glad Phil took Odom out of the game. Odom flat out refused to give Drew the ball in the post even though Drew had excellent position, and instead called for Drew to set a pick so he could force a mid-range jumpshot. We will not win with boneheaded plays from Odom like that.

  139. Up by 6 less than 7 min to
    Go

  140. The mavs are shooting a LOT of threes

  141. phil jackson is finally giving commands tonight.

  142. HORRIBLE DEFENSE WOW

  143. how is there another wide open three for dirk

  144. How the hell do you leave Dirk wide open.

  145. Gasol making some big plays over this last minute good job Pau.

  146. Welcome to the playoffs, Gasol. You finally came to play.

  147. The mavs just won’t miss a three this quater.

  148. Samy Harmoush May 6, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Let’s go LAKERS! KOBE BRING US HOME! BYNUM SMASH US THROUGH THE DOOR!

  149. odom poor 4th quarter

  150. I would KILL to have one 3 point shooter

  151. Lakers should make Peja pay on the defensive emd by having LO post him
    Up

  152. I’m pretty sure if Gasol broke his leg we’d be doing better.

  153. kobe forcing the issue

  154. Go to Odom or Bynum in the post please.

  155. Everyone is going to stand around and hope for kobe to do something mode. That is killing the offense.

  156. this is not good. kobe going into hero mode

  157. can bynum touch the ball in the post
    get him the ball???

    is that too much to ask

  158. Hey, innocent question – has Andrew Bynum (you know, the guy carrying us on offense the entire first half) been given the ball at all in the fourth quarter? At all?

  159. Wow this is some horrible officiating a simple touch on Mavs player and its immidiately a foul. While laker players are getting shoved and bumped all around. And why the hell are we not posting up against Peja? He cant guard LO down there all day.

  160. Lakers have stopped moving the ball, need to get into the post

  161. Oh man, a 1 point game, but we are still ahead. Kobe takes a bad hard to make shot and misses.

    Edit: Dirk at the line to more than likely take the lead by 1.

  162. Come on. Go inside!!!

  163. bynum won’t get the ball because kobe has to go into hero mode?

  164. who was supposed to guard terry?

  165. is this the end…..?

  166. NO BALL MOVEMENT

  167. WTF gasol got pushed and no call??? THIS GAME IS RIGGED

  168. Why try to jump that?

  169. ODOM is costing us the game down the stretch, he won’t pass the damn ball, its all one on one. What a way to give up a lead again in the forth

  170. Terry got breathed on so he gets to shoot Fts.

  171. Get off your knees ref, you’re blowing the game.

  172. Choked in the final quarter… This is not the team that I expected to come out game 3

  173. if this game is not rigged, i don’t know what it is. if lakers lose, i am not watching nba anymore.

  174. Dallas is just the better team, there is no way to spin it. The Lakers have 4 good players and at no point in this series have they all played well.

  175. Samy Harmoush May 6, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    How do you make that call REF? How do you try to decide the god damned game with that BS Call?!

  176. This series showed us a few things:

    1) Gasol needs to go.
    2) Phil is incapable of adjusting anymore.
    3) Lamar is still as inconsistent as ever.
    4) Kobe is getting old.

  177. Just bombing threes! I’m sorry but this Dallas team is a fraud. Which makes this even more aggravating! Wtf happened! Up 8. And they blow it!!!!!

  178. Wow. Wow. So Pau Gasol is shoved out of bounds and there’s no call, and Derek Fisher crowds Terry and they get 2 FTs.

    I hardly ever, ever talk about the refs, but we were handicapped by them in this one.

  179. ODOM is 1-5 with 2 turnovers down the stretch.

  180. What a PATHETIC performance. Truly abysmal. I know at the end of the day it’s just a game, but IT.HURTS.SO.BAD.

  181. The worst part about this is that the true reason the lakers lost (Gasol) will get someone who played their heart out (Bynum) traded.

    Like I’ve been saying all along after the first loss. If the lakers lose this series, they’ll get embarrassed. Which has happened every year Phil hasn’t won the championship. And history has repeated itself.

  182. Another 4th quarter choke. Been happening all season long. Fitting that it’s still burying them when it matters the most.

  183. Well we’re sucking, but at least y’all are too!

  184. Seriously this is making me sick. We outplayed them and Pena starts going all Bibby on us. Odom with a stupid shot. Fish will a stupid foul. Ball game.

    And lest you think this team is gonna go 2004 red sox on us, next game they’re gonna get blowen out!!!!

  185. gasoft and odom need to go. at least odom can look forward to doing his reality show full time now

  186. REFS CAUSE ALL LOSSES AND EVERYTHING ONE THE TEAM IS AWWFFULLL!!!! — Signed impetuous Laker fan.

    Seriously some people need to get a hold of themselves

  187. My soul feels destroyed at the moment, and I am very bummed out. Heck, I have still not gotten over Wednesday’s loss.

  188. I’m embarrassed to be a Laker fan right now. The Lakers choked away another 4th quarter lead. Wow.

  189. It’s Over. We Folded Once Again N The 4th. Time To Start Thinking About Next Season And The Moves That We’ll Have To Make To Get Back On Top. Basically, Time To Destroy And Rebuild.

  190. Congratulations to the Miami Heat on their first NBA title. The way is officially clear.

    Excuse me while I cry a little.

  191. Lakers once again with terrible execution in crunch time, late rotation on defense leaving wide open 3′s for Dallas. Mavericks were better when it counted as Lakers went away from what got them the lead.

  192. maybe the worst officiated game i’ve ever seen.

  193. the bench needs a serious facelift. problem is, who wants steve blake or shannon brown right now?

  194. like i said, we need to check the refs’ bank accounts after this game

  195. And that’s the season.

  196. Well, at least the Lakers are close to the Summer break they so clearly need. Of course, with the upcoming lock out it may be longer than anybody really wants. Hey, Stern can’t fine me, can he?

  197. Lakers cough this game away. Shame, they played well to win, but execution down the stretch was poor and cost them not only the game but almost certainly the series.

  198. Can’t say I didn’t see this coming, it had all the storylines leading into it, Kobe vs Dirk never having happened before. I thought back in November that Dallas was the best team in the NBA when Caron Butler was healthy and they have shown they have every tool necessary to compete for a title.

    You can’t stay on top forever

    BTW Don’t crown Miami winners yet, Dallas beat them both times they played this season. They have no answer for Dirk either

  199. #194. Q, we don’t do trade speculation here. Feel free to see the commenting guidelines at the top of the page.

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

  201. 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.

  202. 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.

  203. 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.

  204. 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!

  205. 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.

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

  207. 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.

  208. 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….

  209. 204 – OMG please do not mention Larry Brown in connection with the Lakers!

    Surely you jest.

    Right?

  210. 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!??!

  211. 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.

  212. 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.

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

  214. 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….

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

  216. 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

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

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

  219. 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.

  220. 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?

  221. 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.

  222. 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.

  223. 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.

  224. 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.

  225. gasol surely has fallen off the cliff…

  226. 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

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

  228. 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.

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

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

  230. 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.

  231. 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.

  232. 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.

  233. 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.

  234. #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.

  235. thanks Snoop, so it has been awhile …

  236. 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.

  237. 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 ) :)

  238. 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.

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

  240. 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….

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

  242. 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.

  243. 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.

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

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

  246. 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).

  247. 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.

  248. 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!

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

  250. 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).

  251. 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.

  252. 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.

  253. 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.

  254. 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.

  255. 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.

  256. 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!

  257. 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.

  258. 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

  259. 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.

  260. 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.

  261. 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.

  262. 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.

  263. 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.

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

  265. #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.

  266. 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

  267. 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).

  268. 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.

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

  270. 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.

  271. 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.

  272. 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.

  273. 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.

  274. @ 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.

  275. 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.

  276. 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.

  277. 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.

  278. 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.

  279. #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.

  280. 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.

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

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

    Even though his play of late has been disappointing.

  283. 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.

  284. 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.

  285. 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.”

  286. 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.

  287. 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

  288. 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?

  289. 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.

  290. 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…

  291. 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.

  292. 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.

  293. @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.

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

  295. @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.