Lakers/Mavs Game 4: A Premature End

Darius Soriano —  May 8, 2011

Well, it’s all over now.

The Lakers season. Phil Jackson pacing the Laker sidelines. The hope of another three-peat. All of it.

The Mavs completed what seemed improbable a week ago, sweeping the Lakers out of the playoffs with a dominant performance. 122-86 was the final count and that 36 point margin actually does sum up the game. The Lakers had their hats handed to them by the better team; the team that wanted it more. As I’ve said before, Dirk, Kidd, and Terry are three veteran players that have all been on the losing ends of countless high stakes battles and they weren’t going to fold this time. All congratulations go to them and the rest of the Mavs players and coaches for pulling out this series win.

This game truly was a microcosm of the entire series. Dallas’ ability to spread the floor with shooters and using the resulting spacing to beat the Lakers off the dribble was again the difference. Seemingly every Maverick was able to get by his man consistently and it collapsed the Lakers D, ultimately opening up shooters all over the court. The Mavs made 20 three pointers on the day with Terry (9-10!) and Peja (6-6!!) consistently reaping the benefits of a defense that had to be in too many places at once. The fact that no Laker could effectively contain his man off the bounce completely ruined any semblance of cohesiveness on the defensive end. The fact that the Mavs put on a shooting performance for the ages was just the rancid cherry on the Lakers’ poisonous sundae. They could have made only have their three pointers and the result in this game would have been the same.

To make matters worse however, is the fact that certain Lakers decided their frustration was too much to handle and sought out vigilante justice rather focusing that energy into playing hard down the stretch. Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum both got ejected on needlessly hard fouls, with Bynum’s being especially egregious as he threw a forearm shiver into the ribs of an airborne JJ Barrea that leveled him instantly.  Losing is never easy, but losing while committing the type of dangerous foul that Bynum did is even tougher to swallow as it paints him and his team in a terrible light. No one likes sore losers and that’s exactly what Bynum looked like.

In the end, this wasn’t the Lakers day, series, or ultimately, their season. They lost to a better team and while it was unfathomable to think that would be the case just a couple of weeks ago, it is the truth. Dallas had the ingredients to beat this Laker group and with players underperforming (Gasol, Odom, the bench in general) this team didn’t have enough to win this year.

For now, though, my disappointment turns to reflection. The core of this Laker team has brought us so many highs that I feel the need to take some time and let this loss settle before I think about the future. Despite performing poorly, the core of this team brought us fans back to back championships and three straight trips to the Finals. They were at the top of the league and spoiled us all with great success that we’ll all be able to look back on and appreciate one day. I must also give a special thanks to Phil Jackson. Despite this awful sendoff, his 5 championships and 7 Finals appearances in 11 seasons will live with me forever. His calm demeanor soothed me in the hard moments of games and his quips at post game pressers and interview sessions were the best. He’s truly been a special coach and the best I’ve ever seen. I’m truly sad to see him go.

I know that it’s hard right now – the shadows of a terrible loss are dark and cold. But I think back on what this team has given and I simply can’t throw them under the bus right now. Not with Phil on his way out and with big changes potentially looming. There will be time to discuss all that. But for now, I give a round of applause to the Mavs, but an even bigger one to our Lakers. At least this one last time.

Darius Soriano

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109 responses to Lakers/Mavs Game 4: A Premature End

  1. Andrew Bynum’s elbow was below low. Below uncalled for. Below justified. I don’t care how angry or frustrated he is, I don’t care how upset he is that he is losing… intentionally trying to hurt anyone on the court, no matter who, is always wrong. I’m all set to demand trading him just for that.

    It’s bad enough that we lost by nearly 40 points. Adding to the pain and humiliation by acting the way he did is just a severe insult added to an already grievous injury.

  2. Your in hindsight dallas was the better team and it wouldn’t shock me if they won the championship. Having said that there is no way the team should have swept the lakers. Something profound happened off the court that sapped the lakers energy and confidence

  3. Good post. I know we live in a world of what have you done lately, but, comeon, how many teams can say they went to the finals for 3 years? I am sad, but proud of this Laker team (well, except for 2 of the players in this game).

  4. Darius – well said. We went out with a whimper, but perhaps this loss will linger long enough to drive improvement in areas we’ve overlooked, namely a pg who can guard the speedier players and some reliable perimeter shooting. This is the best Laker site out there and let’s reflect on all the great things this squad and their great coach have accomplished. Go Lakers!

  5. Dick Barnett May 8, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Good review Darius, you run a classy blog; thanks for all the work you do.

    I don’t agree with you on a few things (I don’t like Kobe Bryant, never have never will. I don’t like ball hogs), but you are fair, and your analysis are top notch.

    I have been a Laker fan since the 1963-64 season, and these last 10 years have been the most successful since the Magic-Kareem era.

    So, with that said, I don’t think the Lakers need a lot of changes, but I do think they need another coach. Phil had lost this team, and socking one of your players in the chest on national television was an alarming sign of player and coach not on the same page. This team has chemistry issues, and it starts with Jackson. He needs a break from them, and they need a break from him.

    Mitch Kupchack is not to blame for this. He has done a terrific job as GM. He just misjudged the talents and abilities of Barnes and Blake. I thought they would be great additions too, but they don’t fit this offense.

    Start fresh next year.

  6. @johnhollinger RT @ArtGarcia_NBA: JJ Barea said Kobe & other Lakers checked how was doing after game & apologized for Bynum cheap shot

  7. Archon, i hope we find out what that profound thing was cuz i agree with you.

  8. Dylon, Dylon, dylon, JZ, Snoop May 8, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Phil Jackson’s exit from a glorious career as a head coach was marred by both this blowout loss and by the way Odom/Bynum acted (out). When I saw this, I immediately thought that the only exit that was more marred may have been Zidane’s from the world cup final. Luckily, I think we here (in the US) are more likely to remember Zidane for his actions than for the antics that went on during Phil’s last game.

  9. And you may tell yourself
    This is not my beautiful house!
    And you may tell yourself
    This is not my beautiful wife!

  10. Lisa Parker was saying something happened in the locker room. When is it going to come out?

  11. Grats to Dallas. In a seasons of ups and downs for this Lakers team, the Lakers entered the playoffs in a lull and never recovered. The defensive rotations weren’t crisp. The jumpshots were tentative. The rebounding came and went sparingly.

    The Lakers failed to successfully exploit any mismatch they had (Kobe/Kidd, Bynum/Chandler, Odom/Marion) successfully over the course of any game and especially in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. And when it came down to crunch time in the end, the Lakers could both not get a stop and not score.

    The Bynum foul was a cheap shot, but is completely blown out of proportion, If that same amount of force is used on any bigger guard (a Kobe, Lebron, DWade) etc, or god forbid a big guy like Chandle/Howard/Gasol, the player doesn’t go down as hard, Bynum is still kicked out, and people get over it. Trading a guy over a frustration foul would be a great way to become this decades Indiana Pacers.

    The Lamar ejection was silly – and not merited. The officials determined that the game was over (which it probably was) and let it be an ejection to protect Nowitzki, but thats a flagrant 1 in any NBA game at most. Btw, if that foul is done to Kobe, the announcers celebrate and exasperate at how the good hard fouls in the playoffs.

    I am looking forward to see the Lakers make some sort of offseason moves this year, though I don’t think they can make moves out of frustration. In a trade, the other team has to think they are getting a good deal too, so its not like we are going to trade Bynum+Shannon+Luke+Joe Smith for DHoward and Jameer Nelson. There are smart people in the NBA, so lets give them some credit.

    Also – don’t trade Gasol. Not only would we not get anything close to value back, but he has been by far our most consistent Laker since he was traded here and got in a funk this year. When he struggles, the Lakers struggle. Once Bynum was back, his defensive role changed and he was never as comfortable guarding agile bigs, and his offensive role changed and he couldn’t matchup as well for those easy tip-ins he used to get. Sometimes a guy plays badly for a few months, cant give up on him.

    And do not forget, despite how well Andrew played this playoffs, there hasn’t been a year where injury wasn’t looming over this team with him. That is a hard and dangerous prospect to build around. I also question whether feeding Bynum in the post (and the double and even triple post entries sent into him in this series) made the Lakers offense a little too predictable and negated any rythym that the Laker guards could get into. Many times in this series, there was the post up-ball entry to Bynum-pass out of the post to guard-look at Basket in fear of torture-and either swing the ball into a defending guard or back into the post with no shotclock left possessions that killed any Laker offensive rythym. I have no true statistics to merit this, and as well as Bynum did in the post, it was like we would score on 2 possessions, and then miss on the next four possessions (with no players in position for offensive rebounds) whenever the Lakers got into that sort of rythym.

    I loved having Bynum in last years playoffs because of the grit he went through with his knee injury, and how hard he played despite the pain. But you could tell with him healthy the pecking order was more than a little off, and the other bigs and player rotations didn’t fall as smoothly into place. The Lakers didn’t know this year who to play in the last 5 minutes, and you could tell that eventually it sapped their efficiency.

    Here’s to Next year. Lets try to get a player who can shoulder some the offensive burden throughout the year so that Kobe isn’t playing on fumes and ready to play HoundDog defense by May.

  12. Mimsy, I couldn’t agree more.

    Very disappointed and angry at Bynum’s low act. (I didn’t see what Odom did). The biggest person on the court attacking the smallest person. Shameful.

    If Bynum isn’t ashamed, I’ll be ashamed for him.

    Is it asking too much to at least lose with some dignity?

    Evidently it is.

    The only positive is – for Aaron’s sake – that Bynum took his shirt off before he walked off the court.

  13. Dick Barnett, How can you call yourself a Laker Fan when you say you hate the best player on the team? what a disgrace you are.

  14. How about we get a real PG? Someone please give Fisher a fire extinguisher because he’s getting burnt out there pretty bad.

  15. I was going to watch the game today but Mothers day stuff got moved up. Missed the game. Sounds like I got lucky :(

    Bad enough to get eliminated sooner than expected, but far worse to embarass themselves like it sounds they did.

    At least I/we can still look back with great fondness for the last few years, and for Phil’s entire run in LA. We as Laker fans are *exremely* lucky to root for a team with as much success as LA has had. Most fans aren’t nearly so fortunate.

  16. Yeah I have to agree we Lakers fans are very lucky. I’m reminding myself of how sweet it was to knock off the Celtics just 11 months ago …

  17. #13…go back and read Dick’s post and find where he used the word “hate”, please. He doesn’t like Kobe, and he’s entitled to not like Kobe. . That said, I respect Kobe as a player far more than any other Laker, especially after this debacle. He played the best he could with injuries all over the place. What are Gasol and Odom’s excuses?

  18. Phil turned a good team to the worst team, he did lousy job. Dr.Buss gave him everything, love, money, and this is the way Phil return to Dr.Buss. The Chicago Bulls kicked Phil and MJ out, they did not appreciate them.
    Phil starts to coach Lakers on the road in Dallas, why ? He is out of his mind. Boston can’t win in Miami, Miami can’t win in Boston, it is not easy to win on the road.
    I begin to hate the Mavs low-class owner and players, the game is out of reach, why they should score more ? Thiis not game 7 of NBA Finals, they forgot they did not win any rings yet. I can wait the D-Wade and LeBron James kick their …. in Miami.

  19. Phil and Kobe deserve alot of blame for this season’s failures. Kobe needed to play a lot more games like he did in Game 2 versus the Hornets. And between the two of them, they should have acknowledged Bynum’s dominance in the PnR, especially in the playoffs… nobody can stop big ‘Drew. But instead we saw more triangle, if Kobe didn’t need to be the scoring star of his team, and they played more inside-out BB, they could have played Walton or Barnes in the starting 5, with Artest lighting up off the bench along with Odom. The complexity of the triangle and devotion to it, cost them again this year, just as it did in ’04…

    But most of all, these guys are just overconfident. Nothing worse than seeing the more talented team lose due to complacency. Give it up to the Mavs for putting on a clinic. Dallas and Memphis are playing the best team basketball in the league right now.

  20. Having trouble believing you guys who openly complain about Phil, as if losing this year completely overshadows his past accomplishments or disproves that his tactics work. The Lakers didn’t win. I know that’s hard for some to accept. But the fact that it did means that this team wasn’t good enough. For all the times that Laker fans are willing to claim that other teams weren’t good enough when the Lakers win, I find it crazy that every time they don’t it’s never because the other team was better but simply because the coach or the players sucked. Get real.

  21. The pain gives meaning to the joy. If we want to be fans of a championship organization, we get everything that goes with it. It hurts so much due to the value of what is being relinquished- back to back titles.

    The 72 title is incomplete without the heartaches of 69 (Don Nelson) and 70 (Reed and Frazier). 85 on the parquet floor isn’t as sweet without Worthy’s ill-fated pass and Magic’s missed free throws in 84. 87 was arguably the best Laker team ever, but would that title mean as much without the bitter 4-1 exit to Ralph Sampson in 86?

    The fall from the mountain top has to hurt. Rolling off the foothills isn’t as painful because no heights were scaled, no pinnacle attained.

    Yes, I will take the 15/16 three-point clinic from the likes of Terry and Stojakovic because I know Trevor Ariza’s and Derek Fisher’s 3′s contributed to the 2009 title in Orlando.

    I’ll absorb the sweep at the hands of JJ Berea and Tyson Chandler because I still see purple and gold confetti falling over Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher as they hugged at half court after rallying from 13 to beat Boston in game 7 last June.

    And I know from 40 years of being a Laker fan that the darkness that envelops us now will soon give way to the light of another championship run.

  22. well see you guys next season there might be a revamp with the roster but i hope it’ll strengthen the core of our team…..2012 go lakers!!!!

  23. Sharky towers May 8, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Exactly Darius. Come on people. Phil has given us so many great times. As have most of the players in thus team. It’s been a good couple of years.

    This was a meltdown, but we’ve had great times. Relax.

  24. This is not a knock against the Lakers but I have felt it this way over the past few seasons and I think it really rings true now after watching 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. If the Lakers play the Thunder they don’t have the threat of outside shooters all over the floor, if they play the Grizzlies it’s the same story. They ran into the worst possible team for them matchup wise, even if we had gotten past Dallas the result would have been the same with Miami.

    None of this is to diminish what LA has done the past few years because they were the champions and nobody can take anything from them but you can’t stay on top forever.

  25. Boy this felt like ’03 when it seemed like we just didn’t have it any more-like that Bob Seger song “Running on Empty”. I was downhearted after Game three and not really hopeful but of course I didn’t really think that we were gonna win….I mean…just percentages wise. Anyway.

    I just hope that no decisions are made in the next few weeks by Laker management. We have been in three straight finals and won two of them and had ‘drew been healthy in the ’08 finals, perhaps we’d have won all three also. That said, I really did not see this coming. I could see the Lakers not winning the championship because they’d been so lackadaisical at times during the season. Still, to get buzzsawed by the Mavs…….oh well.

    JJ Barea. Peja. JT. Kudos to all of them. I thought Blake, Barnes were good acquisitions last off-season although I was a bit worried this year by Shannon’s streakiness. Of all things, our bench was our shortcoming.

    I still think that breaking up the most formidable pair of bigs in the league would be possibly reason for massive regret down the line. I can never say a bad word about Kobe. Perhaps the Lakers really do a major upgrade at PG. I always thought that with our offense and given the triangle’s team-oriented schemes, Fish was fine. In addition, and this is probably part of my shortcoming as a fan, I don’t like to seem ungrateful to players who have given so much to the franchise and it was hard to wish for broader changes. But perhaps we do need to look for a more attacking PG who can play some D.

    Anyway, and lastly, as a Laker fan, and even more, as a hoops fan, kudos to Phil for everything. I’ve always liked his less-is-more, trust-your-players during game approach. His players seem to have liked it also. I have no anger at this loss. Let’s lick our wounds for a while and look toward the future in a few weeks.

  26. “I don’t like Kobe Bryant, never have never will. I don’t like ball hogs.”

    Then you must not have liked Michael Jordan either. For how idiotic is the ball hog meme, Michael Jordan’s career average FGA per game is 22.9. Kobe has exceeded that average on only two occasions (02-03 and 05-06).

    “Come on people. Phil has given us so many great times.”

    Sorry, but we’re taking Phil to heart and living in the now. How’s that for a cruel irony?

  27. @24

    It takes a lot of luck to win a title. Talent and determination alone are not enough. The good fortune the Lakers enjoyed the last two years was enjoyed in various ways by every championship team that came before them. Keeping injuries at bay and getting favorable match ups plays as much a role as talent and execution. That is not unique to the Lakers. We just notice it more because Laker fans watch more of their games and because they are the most recent team to win the title.

  28. I just got done watching the game, I did not know the result before hand. I lost the excitement of thinking the Lakers were going to win this game and extend the series, soon after the 1st quarter. I just accepted this fact before watching the rest of the game, that it was going to be all over now, today. I am grateful for what the team has given me the last four years. I expect PJ to retire and probably some roster changes, if they can be made. And, possibly/probably no season at all next year. I am going to go buy my back-to-back Lakers Championship gear soon, since I was holding out for three-peat stuff that will never come. Thank you Darius for another fine season at the best Lakers blog on the Internet.

  29. Blaming Jackson for the Lakers’ troubles as he exits from an unbelievable career is very short-sited. Thanks for the awesome memories, coach. He acted with a lot more class than LO and Bynum at the end. They shamed the franchise, especially Bynum.

  30. Sorry, to add to my last, Darius, they did suck. Their guard defense is simply pathetic. JJ Barea as second coming of the ultimate penetrating point guard. Pretty much says it all.

    “Also – don’t trade Gasol. Not only would we not get anything close to value back, but he has been by far our most consistent Laker since he was traded here and got in a funk this year. When he struggles, the Lakers struggle. Once Bynum was back, his defensive role changed and he was never as comfortable guarding agile bigs, and his offensive role changed and he couldn’t matchup as well for those easy tip-ins he used to get. Sometimes a guy plays badly for a few months, cant give up on him.”

    Ask the obvious question, will he ever adjust? You seeing the problem but then you never address whether he will ever adjust. I made the point in a post that was pending moderation forever. May have finally made it out of moderation, but I’m too lazy to check. Bynum and Gasol won’t work. They are simply too similar and not at all complimentary. We need complimentary, like a Kareem low, a Worthy on the wing, and a Magic up top. Or a Garnett low, an Allen on the wing, and a Pierce up top. Will also be the downfall of the Miami 3, once some team comes up with a Big 3 of down low, on the wing, and up top. And just as the Mavs built their team to beat the Lakers, so too teams will built their teams to beat the Heat. So the day of their downfall is already being written.

    And when I say won’t work, don’t think broken down car. Not what I mean. We can never take advantage of the best of both, as we can’t run a down low post for both at the same time. One or the other, whereas a complimentary Big 3 can have the one soul down low, the other on the wing, and the other up top. If they move the ball, as the Triangle professes to do, to create open looks, such a team is in the best position, having elite at every area/position on the court. Our problem is not only 2 guys trying to fit into the hole for the 1 peg, but Ron really isn’t an effective wing player. Only Kobe’s penchant for playing on the wing has served to mask that deficiency to some degree. I have a trade in mind that might work, but I won’t post the same now owing to Darius’ restrictions. But this team has some fundamental problems that won’t go away with merely change of attitude and a new day.

    And so I cover another edition or example, Bird was as much wing player as post player, Parrish never complained about his touches, and there was enough for McHale to be happy with. 2 of our 3 can’t go a week without crying about touches. And if the one soul wants to speak about “trust issues”, he might review the box scores and see the 3-8 and 2-7 with deficient rebounding that he put up over 2 of the 4 games. Truly lastly, going back to Bird, his FGA per game average was something like 19.3 (Kobe’s is 19.4, though is skewed a bit by his first two years, nevertheless, his FGA per game over the last 4 years was: 20.6, 20.9, 21.5, and 20.0, so even discounting his initial 2 years in the league, 1-2 shots per game more than Bird, and if Pau and Bynum get all pouty and mouthy with Bird over touches, and they would, then we know who the problem is)(oh, and by the way, call Bird’s FGA per game vis-a-vis Kobe, just one more example of debunking the whole ball hog meme).

  31. I’m with Darius. You simply can’t dump on Phil Jackson after he helped bring five (Five!) championships L.A.

  32. “Sorry, but we’re taking Phil to heart and living in the now. How’s that for a cruel irony?”

    I gotta admit, that was pretty slick. Touche.

    Anyway, the core of this team is fine. We are bigger, stronger, and more talented than Dallas in 4/5 positions, and two of our bench players. What killed us was mental exhaustion, our awful bench, and really, the inevitable tuning out of a coach. PJ talks about it all the time.

    With a new coach next year, and hopefully some players off the bench that know how to play some team ball, we’ll be fine. This year just had a lot of things slowly go wrong, and it all toppled over before we could get to the Finals. Players just got tired of each other, tired of playing, and checked out. Three consecutive years of going to the Finals will do that to any team.

    Next season’s team will be strong, and an infusion of new blood and a new coach will spark our interest again. Gasol will have PLENTY of time to stew over his failures, Bynum has emerged as a beast, and both of them know Dwight Howard is on Buss’ radar. Age isn’t really a problem – pretty much everyone on the Mavericks is 32, 33, 34 or older – and we probably needed this kick in the ass, to be honest.

    Kobe is the only one with an eternal heart, perpetual fire, and relentless drive. There’s at least one more moment of glory coming for him. With the lockout season looming, 2012 should be an interesting year.

    These Lakers were awful these playoffs, and to be honest, I emotionally checked out about the same time they did; around the end of the season. I find it hard to cheer for a team that doesn’t really play like one. So being swept out may be a blessing in disguise.

    Next season’s motto: “False swagger got us nothing last year.”

  33. Darius is right. It wasn’t that the Lakers werent good, but other teams have not only caught up, but surpassed the Lakers. Dallas was just a better team.

    And this has just got worse, they are about to put the Lakers on the fishing boat on TNT. DAMN! lol

  34. T. Rogers I never said that formula was unique to the Lakers, being that my post on a Lakers blog it is simply directed towards their run. You are correct that every Championship winner runs into their own personal fortune and luck. The best teams do not always win however the teams that are champions know how to take advantage of everything that comes their way.

  35. “I must also give a special thanks to Phil Jackson. Despite this awful sendoff, his 5 championships and 7 Finals appearances in 11 seasons will live with me forever. His calm demeanor soothed me in the hard moments of games and his quips at post game pressers and interview sessions were the best. He’s truly been a special coach and the best I’ve ever seen. I’m truly sad to see him go.”

    my thoughts exactly.

    thanks pj.

    you were the tops.

  36. Dick Barnett May 8, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    “Then you must not have liked Michael Jordan either. For how idiotic is the ball hog meme, Michael Jordan’s career average FGA per game is 22.9. Kobe has exceeded that average on only two occasions (02-03 and 05-06)”

    Not because I think you deserve a response, but …

    I am not talking about FGA, I am talking about holding on to the ball too long, dribbling back and forth, between his legs, moving up, moving back, then going one on one while everyone else stands around and watches. Then, with the shot clock running down he throws up a “prayer” with three guys all over him.

    That’s what I’m talking about.

    No doubt the Bryant apologists will go ballistic, but I stand by my statement.

    Enough with that, let’s focus on next year.

  37. @11 i agree about the lo foul. it was nowhere near as malicious as drew’s. lamar didn’t take his shirt off in utter disrespect ala dennis rodman as he exited stage left. he admitted afterwards that it was the result of frustration.

  38. @33 – Agree. I will never forget Phil coaching against the Kings 10 years ago. When they appeared like they would buzz-saw us the way the Mavs did, Phil would calm everyone down. The ’02 Kings could have gone 3-1 on us and, upon reflection, remind me a lot of this Mavs team (Peja!!! You’re old apparantley). But Blake, Barnes and Brown are not Shaw, Horry and co. Somewhere Chris Webber is smiling tonight.

    So long PJ — it’s been a blast.

  39. lets all chill for a bit….

    but we need to find out what the locker room problems were…

    if i had my druthers it would be goodbye odom,
    bynum, blake, fisher, barnes.

    find out if pau is just in a funk

  40. @25 TC -
    What a classy way to express it all. There’s a wide variety of expression in the various comments and that is as it should be. For me, I’m just grateful for Phil’s two stints and all the guys who came to play. It was a big, crazy stew and the peaks and valleys came fast and furious – all the titles and headlines and battles and a guy with a soul-patch and a triple-post system that existed almost entirely out of the NBA mainstream – good times is putting it mildly.

  41. i am interested that nobody is mentioning magic’s remarks regarding this team how they should be blown up and they are slow and old. Am i the only one bothered by this stuff? um shouldnt magic have some respect for the team that were back to back champs. this type of ‘analysis’ is unacceptable for someone so revered in the laker organization. i am ashamed at magic just as much as the lakers

  42. i don’t take anything away from dallas and even if the best 3 point shooter was all by himself in a gym, he’d have a hard time hitting 7 of 10 three’s let alone 9 of 10. all due to jterry.

    yet this is the same jterry that a little over one month ago pulled his own punk-#$% move pushing a falling steve blake as he was going down. we all remember the lakers winning that night by 20+ points and the “dallas is soft” line resurfaced. two weeks prior, the lakers won a big game in dallas with drew being the main reason why despite kobe missing a big chunk of the second half with injury. the mavericks weren’t better than the lakers and never have been. we all knew it. there 4th quarter debacle to brandon roy two weeks ago confirmed it.

    the lakers were 17-1 and on a roll. and then april came and something happened. i don’t know what it was. was it the denver game when pau hurt himself and had to undergo an mri? nobody was asking what was wrong with pau before, because let’s face it, he’s been money from day 1. you want to reacquire kwame brown and javris crittendom? i don’t. i doubt memphis does either as that trade has allowed them to make other moves that have worked out for them. how fitting that the grizz were the team to beat san antonio and greg popovich who complained most loudly about that trade in ’08?

    perhaps we’ll never know. i agree that overreacting would be the worst thing they could do. coming down hard on drew for what he did as an organization regardless of what the league does will send a clear and good message to the players and to us as fans that we’re not being had.

    lastly, we’ve all known that pg is not the lakers strength. we love fish but father time has just about caught up with him. it did bshaw, bscott, michael cooper and other great guards not named kobe or magic. and for the rest of the time that kobe is good enough to be an elite player and give the lakers a chance at a title, they need to upgrade at that position.

  43. Phil Jackson is a legend. Exiting the game this way won’t do anything to take away from that. The man won 11 championships in 20 years of head coaching in the NBA. That is better than one title every other year. The Lakers could have missed the playoffs this year and it would not have put a dent in Phil’s legacy.

    So long Phil. Enjoy those long days in Montana. You have earned it.

  44. LOL… the finger pointing by some of the fans is downright amusing. Pointing fingers never provides solid solutions. Stop it, kids. I’ll have to say good bye to FB&G if this nonsense continues. Be grateful for this run, and for what everyone has contributed.

    This team was built on being BIG, and LONG, and they were very good at it, offensively (whenever the offense was run), and defensively as other teams couldn’t attack the paint. But they weren’t perfect and we all know they weren’t perfect. We believed in them and we had every right to believe in them. It took a Dallas team with just the precise combination and execution to expose all that.

    That said, Dallas has a crazy combination. They’re not the best at being big and long, but they’re good enough at it (three 7 footers in the rotation), a world class floor general, and stocked with shooters who could drop bombs right over our fortress. They are not young, but they have practically have two starting fives (with Caron). It came together for them this year, with Chandler & Peja, and Terry and JJ sparking the bench. Wow, I am impressed not just with what Dallas has put together, but in how they are executing. They are playing some good f’in ball. Their bench worked us, and they’ll work anybody’s bench. Dallas is not the future. They are the NOW. At our expense. This is our new nemesis, with a Heat team not far behind. We were banking on our team being the benchmark for the next few years, but this Mavs team is good, and good for the next few years, and they have an owner who will spend the bucks for them. There’s a lot to contemplate. We still have an impressive core, which Buss spent the money for. We do need shooters though, and perimeter defenders. I do not envy Mitch right now.

  45. Something strange to me in all of this: if Dallas was just the better team, had the Lakers number, etc., why did the Lakers win by 25 or whatever just a month ago? Honestly, this series could just as easily have been tied at 2 right now headed to LA. The ball and the whistles just didn’t bounce/go the Lakers’ way this year.

    And come on people! Phil deserves our admiration and gratitude for a decade of service and five rings.

  46. Funky Chicken May 8, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Why is criticism of Phil Jackson off limits? It is not inconsistent to say that he is both the most successful coach in league history AND a guy who did a pretty terrible job of getting his team ready this whole season.

    Same goes for Pau Gasol. He is the reason the Lakers made three straight trips to the Finals. He’s also more responsible than any other Laker for this team going 4-6 this postseason.

    There is a whole lot of black/white thinking here, where great players and coaches are beyond criticism, and past successes inoculate players and coaches against current failures.

    After an 8-0 start, this team underachieved all year, and then got outclassed (in every way) in a 2nd round sweep. Like the 2004 team, they went out with a whimper and showed none of the character that is required of a champion. Big, big changes are needed.

  47. The Lakers simply weren’t good enough this year. Teams lose. Even the best of them. Players fail, even the greatest of them.

    Phil was the perfect coach for this core group. I’m sad to see him go.

  48. Bynums and to some extent Odoms foul were absolutely embarrassing, for the lakers, for lakers fans, for the league and for nba fans in general. I remember thinking that lebron walking out without shaking hands 2 years ago was about as low as it could get, the ultimate act of disrespect and poor sportsmanship, today I was reminded that it can get much much worse.

  49. Warren Wee Lim May 8, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Perhaps this loss would get me posting again?… Hi guys!

  50. HI Warren, how have you been. Yes, our honorary Warren 1st posts have not been working, only the real McCoy will, apparently.

  51. goodness gracious the haters are out in full force its sad though because they are grasping at straws. the only thing the lakers should be embaressed about is the way they lost the series. other then that the mavs still havent won a championship so what exactly did they accomplish? everybody loses at some point.this doesnt retroactively take away the last two titles, far from it. the lakers will regroup and go for it again next year. i for one am really looking forward to that

  52. another little mystery to me: why was phil fined for every ref comment he made but monty williams, for example, was allowed to say whatever he likes? it would seem that stern had an agenda.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/news/story?id=6507911

  53. The team just didn’t quite feel right this year, never did. Repeating is hard, or everyone would do it. It feels a lot like 1990, when all of a sudden Pat Riley wasn’t the right coach for the Lakers after being the perfect coach for a decade, Magic had lost a step and the pieces around him weren’t quite clicking, and the Suns bounced the Lakers out in 5 in the second round.

    Too much talent on this team to suddenly be irrelevant, and there will certainly be some fire and passion next year, regardless of the changes that will come.

    Thank you Phil & all the players for a great run.

  54. @25 “Bob Seger song “Running on Empty”.’ — nope, Jackson Browne !

    I’m with Dick Barnett about some of Kobe’s team-activity-killing offensive instincts. Kobe’s skill level is so far of the charts. So is his bball IQ, which makes some of his offensive choices very hard to accept.

    But this loss, this series, this year. Not about “someone’s fault” – not Phil, not Kobe, not Pau, the guards, etc. it’s a team, guys. It’s everyone’s fault, it’s circumstance and other teams, it’s fatigue, etc. It’s life. It’s been wonderful to watch it all. We notice all the breakdowns and disappointments because the bar has been set so high by all of them, yes – Phil, Kobe, Pau, the guards (i.e., Fish’s leadership), etc.

    Bring on the next iteration of the Lake Show – it’s be great fun.

  55. 52 – Probably because no one cares or listens to what Monty William thinks or has to say hahaha

  56. Ken from Newport May 8, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    I don’t blame Phil. I blame Hollywood? For turning LO into a embarrassing reality star instead of a basketball player first. For turning Ron Ron into a music producer and nightclub hanger. For making these guys gods and treating them like kings which caused them to end of with heads bigger then the doors and to stop working hard and caring.

    Please find a way to get rid of Walton, Blake, Artest and the horrible contracts Mitch gave them.

  57. In a nutshell: Stern has jumped the shark.

    He’s gone insane with ego.

    ect ect

  58. @# 41: Magic, the analyst has always been on the opposite end of the spectrum as Magic, the player.

    Who would’ve thought that Marc Gasol would have a deeper run into the playoffs than Pau?

    Pau’s funk is why we’ve gone fishing. His ineffectiveness has a cascading effect on the whole team. Some minor roster tweaks are necessary not a complete blow-up.

    We’ve got to give credit to the Mavs. They played like video-game characters today. The NBA All-Defensive team would’ve been blown out today. Appears Mark Cuban’s strategy of arms stockpiling over the years may finally pay dividends.

    JLV

  59. I’ve been a critic of Phil all season because I just think he wasnt motivated and his style which was perfect for the lakers wasn’t the right fit. The lakers were arrogant and complacent all season. The lakers really took on the character of Phil and it wasnt what the lakers needed this season. This team just never seemed interested in getting better and improving on their weaknesses. Phil was to stubborn to realize Pau wasnt right and he refused to give Bynum the torch until it was to late. All we heard from phil was wait to the playoffs. When asked a question about the lakers struggles after a loss he replied “are the playoffs here yet”. As a laker fan we all are grateful for Phil and the success he brought to the lakers and when we look at the big picture this doesn’t mean Phil was a great coach. It just means he didn’t do a good job this season. He made a lot of mistakes. The blame doesn’t end with Phil by anymeans.

    Also I don’t believe the mavericks were just the better team. I think they caught the lakers at the right time. Pau was a complete shell of himself. Kobe was really banged up and couldn’t carry the team. And the lakers defense was atrocious.

    But going forward they need a superstar. The NBA is about timing. To people saying we are dreaming to think we can get Dwight. It’s speculation and I’m not coming up with any dream scenarios. But again it’s perfect timing and perfect circumstances. I just think this team has to get more athletic, hungrier, and rededicated defensively.

  60. It’s funny the people thinking Kobe is done for.

    He is 32 years old and the hardest working player in the NBA (maybe other than Derrick Rose), don’t think for one minute this loss is going to sit easy with him. He will come back with a vengeance next year because he realizes just as well as everyone else does that his window to catch Jordan is closing.

  61. I disagree with the fact that Phil is untouchable due to his pedigree. The man has clearly demonstrated that he is a genius – but this season that aura was missing. To say that it isn’t is to ignore facts. Sorry. I firmly believe that Phil was at least “partly” checked out all season long, and the magic he was usually able to bring out was just not there this year. The game on Friday was the culmination of his frustration when you saw him lash out and bang Pau’s chest. What was he thinking? If Pau is really out of it mentally, was this the best approach to get his head straight?

    Look, I’m not saying Phill is solely to blame here. NO way. But, the lack of fire for him this season was a contributing factor that has to be analyzed.

    I’m sure in the coming weeks we’ll hear others. I suspect there may have been unknown injuries, infighting and personality clashes that will be exposed as the summer progresses and we find ourselves with nothing to report due to a player lock out.

    In the end, this was a sad end to a promising team. As a Laker fan, I’m disappointed and hurt. However, we say signs of weakness all season long, so this should not come as a “shock” to all of us. As fans, many of us ignored them on the basis that “the real season doesn’t start until the playoffs.” Unfortunately, the real season started and this team fell short of its potential.

    Oh well. There’s always next year.

  62. “Well first of all you don’t smoke peyote.”

    Thanks Phil! We will definitely miss you! :)

  63. Ah well. I’ll miss Phil – the greatest coach, and I hope he’ll come back as some kind of writer/commentator (though that seems unlikely).

    Having said that, even Phil has been saying his hip-hop doesn’t hop anymore, so it’s about time the time turned a new direction. I suspect Buss has had enough of the Tri which may make B Shaw not a lock for next year.

    On the series: Dallas clearly deserved the series victory, but there wasn’t a sweep’s difference. Lakers just choked on two wins and Game 4 was insanely accurate, pumped-up play, the hunger of a team that’s got a choker’s label unloading on a team that’s tired, injured, complacent, discombobulated.

    Next move for the Lakers will be fascinating. And I’ll be satisfied for any remaining team to win it (except of course for the Cs).

  64. The problems of the lakers are evident. The solution is not wholesale changes. We need a defensive minded coach (My first choice is jeff van gundy), we need our trainers to commit some time with our players. Ron artest needs to lose 15 lbs and work on his jumper, pau needs to hit the weights. Kobe needs to get lighter and we need to get an athletic big and a shooter (preferably a big). We need to get rid of luke walton, joe smith and replace them with quality players who can give us 5-10 minutes a game. We dont need wholesale changes, although i am in favor of trading bynum while his stock is high. Bynum is a good center who can take advantage of teams without a legit 7 foot center, but he does not draw double teams and when he does, he does not how to pass out. Trade bynum.

  65. Hopefully the rest will do Kobe and the rest of the lakers good.whether there are changes or not hopefully they play with a chip on their shoulders and compete a lot better than this year because it’s plainly obvious that this team just didnt compete on a consistent basis. Combine that with the fact they were fatigued, injured and/ordistracted, it just caught with them.

  66. polly wrote on May 8, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    “Something strange to me in all of this: if Dallas was just the better team, had the Lakers number, etc., why did the Lakers win by 25 or whatever just a month ago? ”

    The answer to that is twofold:

    A) The lineups the Mavs were playing in the last 2 regular season games against LA were different than the playoff lineup. Mavs were trying to work Roddy B back into the lineup from his broken foot and he never was never quite right. They started him until the last game of the season giving him more burn than he earned trying to get him right. It didn’t happen and he has been inactive the first 2 rounds.

    B) Schedule. The Lakers had the least number of back-to-backs in the NBA at 15. The Mavs had 21. The Bulls had the most with 24. The Mavs are an “old” team when it comes down to it. If you look at the schedule when the Mavs and Lakers last played in LA – the Mavs played the night before against the Clippers and were playing their 4th game in 6 days on the road when they played the Lakers, followed by a day off and another back to back in which they lost both as well and looked awful doing it (6 games in 9 days with 3 back to backs). The Mavs were just trying to get to the finish line at that point and were gassed. Jump shooters have trouble on tired legs. That’s why after LA – Dallas shut down JKIdd for a week to rest his 38 year old legs.

    Contrast this to the Lakers who had been home since the Mar 12 game @Dallas. Thats 19 days straight at home – with zero back to backs during those 19 days and 3 full days off before playing Dallas (6 games in those 18 prior days). It makes a difference…especially looking at the team makeups and ages, etc….and point blank LA is a good team and you need to have a full tank to beat them. Its similar to when LA lost to Cleve and the games before the All-Star break…back to backs and road games for a team getting older and needing a break loses games.

  67. Was Bynum’s foul a cheap shot? Maybe.

    My main problem with Bynum’s foul was it wasn’t done in Game 1 or even in the last series for that matter.

    If you cant stop little guards from getting into the heart of your D then you have to make them think twice about going in the paint. A couple of nice hard fouls usually does the trick.

  68. The distracted part of all this is starting
    To come into focus. Very ugly involving
    player wives and girlfriends. This whole
    thing looked wierd (just Like lebron and the
    whole delonte west stuff).

    But if Vanessa Bryant was behind this…..she
    might as well been the mavs sixth man err..
    woman

  69. Currently, the NBA salary cap is about $58 million with the luxury tax at $70 million. Where it goes next season is anybodies guess. More than likely we will see a “harder” cap and those numbers could very well come down. The luxury tax itself could be history.

    For next season the salaries of Kobe, Pau, and Andrew alone total about $59 million. Really, we can’t even speculate about what kinds of move can be made until the next CBA is determined.

  70. I mostly agree with Cdog (11) and TB 8788 (21).
    I’ve been a Lakers fan since around 67 (pre-Wilt).
    Of many many hits and collisions I’ve seen in the NBA, Bynum’s hit was a love tap.
    Everyone should stop trying to outdo each other by saying how bad it was.
    Don’t believe me?
    Just ask Charles Oakley, Bill Laimbeer, or Kevin McHale.
    It only looks bad because it’s a center taking down a guard.
    But if Fish puts a linebacker’s block on Scola, he’s our hero.
    How many times have fans asked for this exact thing?
    “Why do the Lakers let these guys waltz down the lane for layups?”
    “Somebody needs to put them on their ass.”
    “The Lakers aren’t tough enough”.
    Speaking of which, if an Eastern Conference team did this, it’s showing how tough and determined they are.
    But if it’s a Western Conference team, it’s a cheap shot.
    Anyway, it wasn’t that bad. Get over it. I hope Bynum continues to play “Eastern Conference” style.

    The Lakers ran into a team playing very well and shooting even better. And it wasn’t just Dirk and Terry this time. Five or six guys have been shooting well since late in the season. It’s hard to beat a team that matched up so well and shot so incredibly good.
    The Lakers have some weaknesses and they were exposed.
    They need a reliable outside shooter (ala Nick Young) and a better PG, with Fish moving to a backup role. Also, a more athletic defending small forward.

    And last, thanks to the Lakers for this great run the last four years. It’s been fun to watch. And I’ll never forget that they beat the f***ing Celtics in a game 7 in the Finals.
    The burden of 69 was finally lifted.
    For that alone, this group is not allowed to be criticized.
    As for next year …

    Thanks Lakers.

  71. I will not accept any criticism of Phil Jackson unless people have first hand account of practice, preparation, and halftime/pregame/post game speeches from this season. Without that, then everyone is just assuming that Phil did not do enough this year.

    So unless you have something first hand, please don’t criticize.

  72. Where can I watch the post game interviews in their entirety?

    NBA.com and Lakers.com only have “highlighted” clips from Kobe and Phil, but none at all from the other players.

  73. @67

    The word you are looking for is yes, not maybe. The vast majority of players don’t have a reputation of throwing elbows in the chests of opponents while in a vulnerable mid air position. Bynum rightfully has such a reputation. There is a huge difference between a good hard message foul and bs like what he did tonight, or what he did to Gerald Wallace or Beasley. Don’t defend ugly, dangerous basketball.

  74. Adande:

    I hear all kinds of mixed messages on Howard. One person told me Howard wants to be a Laker. Someone else said he wants Chris Paul to join him in Orlando. Another said his top priority is to sign a maximum contract, which would make a trade (either in-season or a summer 2012 sign-and-trade) the only way for him to land in Los Angeles.
    —-

  75. @ronartest Ron Artest
    Thanks for all the your support during the 2010/11 season. We will work very hard not let you down next year. Blessing from Ron Artest

    @ronartest Ron Artest
    Next year it is super on.!!!!! It was sick n frustrating leaving that arena and hearing the fans taunt !!!!!!

    @ronartest Ron Artest
    Me and derrick caracter just came from gym. Getting ready for next season No bicep kissing next year Business All business!!!!!!!

  76. People love bad news. This site is jumping again. I love it.

    * The Bynum foul was pathetic. If it wasn’t the last game of the season it would at least send a message. At that point in a close out game there wasn’t even one percent of anything resembling a positive effect for Bynum or the Lakers.

    * Kobe is no longer capable of carrying a team to a championship as the loan #1 option. The Lakers need Bynum to develope into that or trade for one. Bill Simmons who usually is very off was so very much on when he put this upset propper perspective. “The Lakers are being swept by a team where their 4th best player or maybe fifth best player in these playoffs would be the second best player ahead of Jason Terry on the opposing team.” That pretty much sums it up.

  77. Everyone needs to relax… the lakers dont need a bunch of new players… they just needed a reality check and i think they might have gotten it:

    http://25twofour.com/2011/05/08/swept-mavericks-end-the-lakers%E2%80%99-bid-for-a-three-peat/

    kobe and the lakers need to know that Kobe isnt the best player in the league anymore and it would suit LA if they all acknowledged that

  78. I just have to get this off my chest. There was no defence this series. WHY? because with the exception of game one and even the final minutes of game one our lake show couldn’t play our physical d. Stern probably made sure of it. Lakers play physical and Mavs get mad and start fights. Blake Barnes Brown and terry and haywood in one game is prove. But by calling it this way it took away our edge. If we get hacked and still play then brush against some one andget called we will loose. Bynum and odom shouldnt be suspended. FIned yes. They were frustrated cuz they got swept due to the way the games were called. its part of the game ya gotta play through. But 4 games in a row.come on sterns step up to the plate and due something. I was waiting for artest to go to the stands and give cuban what he deserves. Im shocked you did start a riot. Rather then give the mavs a huge advantage for all 4 games try maybe only 3. If not for the sake of the game maybe for the greatest coach of the game. Phil made players what they were. Jordan, Kobe and to a degree shaq were all great without him.but phil can build a team and get players to be the best they can. He deserved to go out at home at least. They could have beat us by 100 at home as long as Phil got some respect. If it wasnt for greedy people like stern. Players and owners are all included. Phil may not be leaving. Picture Bynum kobe artest fish odom and howard with phil there to guide them. Magic is right time to build give up anything for howard. I dont like the guy but he is a great version of lebron. You no, big ego. Thinks there better then they are. Has talent but thinks they got alot more. And if by some chance phil should see this. Im hoping ya come back to montana. Me and my brother idolize you for the small town to the big time move you made. and my rant is over

  79. If somebody clearly states he does not like once a two generation player that had obvious impact on the decade of a team, I say he is Abboted or Dwyered or both or simply jealous or hater in disguise.

    Thanks PJ and Kobe,it was hell of an era.

  80. I’m embarrassed to be a Laker fan today.

    Just shameful. Our guys just quit. All game, they left Peja and Terry wide open from the arc. Never made proper rotations or anything. Most other teams would have shown more fight than us out there.

    To top it all off, Bynum and Odom had to go commit those bush league, classless fouls. Bynum for his deserves a 10+ game suspension. He also showed zero remorse for his mistake in the postgame pressers. Shows how immature the guy still is. You think he would have learned his lesson after mauling Gerald Wallace and Michael Beasley.

    As for Phil, its sad to see him go out on such a bad note. His team completely let him down.

    Anyway, thanks for everything, Phil. It was a great run.

  81. I think it’s pretty premature of people to want to blow up the team so fast, especially you Magic Johnson. I think the core is really good-we need major bench changes however, maybe trade away one or 2 core players. I really do not want to see Gasol/Odom/Bynum go. This WAS the team that had it for 3 straight years. I feel like something bad happened off the court though. I also feel that the Lakers exited way too prematurely this year. This does not feel real.

  82. Even tonight Kobe Bryant was kind of calm and accepting after the loss. No anger!

    It has been like that all playoffs. Kobe doesn’t seem to have this angry drive he used to have, and maybe it is tied to him no longer feeling like he can beat the rest of the league on his own.

    Phil never had to coach without a mad alpha-killer on his team, which made his layed back Zon-style possible. He kind of played the good cop to Kobe/Jordan’s bad cop. It is only a year ago Kobe was (half jokingly) threatening to kill his team mates if the f*d up. Now he is just smiling and accepting…

    Shaw also pointed to a lack of killer instinct after the loss, something he had seen in the team all year. I think this quote from Shaw (from Adandes article on ESPN.com) is very telling:

    “There were flags, I guess, all season long,” Shaw said. “Laker teams that have won championships in the past lose a game, they get mad, they come back and do something about it the next game. This team went through streaks where we lost three in a row, four in a row, even five in a row toward the end of the season. To me, we just never really had the get-back that other teams of this magnitude have had. That part of it was always perplexing. We kind of always had a really cool, laid-back attitude. In the meantime, other teams were gunning for us and they were building their teams to beat our team. And maybe that came back to haunt us a little bit.”

    And I think that anger and fire used to come from Kobe, but didn’t in the same way this year.

  83. @66 interesting theory. i don’t buy it however. the ups and downs of the regular season and scheduling does matter and i think fans too often just look at a game and think the better team should always win when back-to-backs and days off and days on the road can and do catch up with you.

    however, that wasn’t just any late regular season game. most people understood that it would likely determine the 2 seed in the west, and this series aside, it did. that made the game that much more important than it would have been had it been say in january or december.

    two, if dallas were fatigued, they would have been blown out from the beginning. they made it a close game through halftime and then the route was on. kind of like the lakers today. when your body or heart isn’t in it, the other team is going to get you sooner than later.

    and even if you are right they played in dallas two plus weeks before and the lakers won that game too, by out executing the mavs down the stretch. that was the same week they pulverized san antonio and then split at atlanta-miami. they had been away from home for the better part of a month due to the grammy’s and the oscars and all the other things that take the lakers and clippers and kings away from staples center come february (now i know why they get so many home games in november) yet that didn’t stop them from showing up and outplaying a good home team on the road.

    if they out execute them in the final minutes of games 1 and 3 at a minimum this series is 2-2 just like the one against NO was. that close to getting back to the western finals and that much closer to a 3peat, i doubt anyone here thinks they lose 2 of their last 3 with games 5 and 7 at home. no way no how. the mavericks aren’t a better team than the lakers now, yesterday or a week ago. but one of the great things about sports is that sometimes the better team doesn’t always win.

    someone said on abc at the end of the game, it might even have been pj that he thought a couple of the players looked like they thought the task in front of them was daunting. that’s an apt way to describe it even if the difference between being down 3-0 and up 2-1 was about five minutes on monday and again on friday. it doesn’t take much to go from commanding to daunting in a seven game series.

    their what looked like a lack of effort was certainly disappointing, and reminiscent of game 5 of the 04 finals when that group came to an end and game 6 of the 08 finals, the beginning of this run, but nothing was as bad as the lack of composure and raider like acts of aggression. what lamer did was bad. what ‘drew did was much worse. all that said, they need a younger, deeper bench, but so do most teams in the league.

    what they need most is a younger, quicker starting pg. this league is moving away from rules that favor the big man to rules that favor the pg (kind of like the nfl has gone from a running game to a pass happy one). father time has caught up with dfish, at least as a starter. if he’s willing he can still add value and be a good hand off the bench. if not, forget all the talk for dwight howard as that would mean swapping one seven footer for another. they need either chris paul or deron williams. cp3 is quicker and more versatile. dwil is a little bigger, more physical and more durable. they can’t go wrong with either.

  84. Ever since the title in 2000, I can’t help but think a supernova is very similar to this Lakers era:

    “Supernovae are extremely luminous and briefly outshine an entire galaxy, before fading from view over several weeks or months.”

  85. More than anything, this season has been the season Kobe was forced to take a step back, not so much because he didn’t have it anymore, or lost a step, or didn’t have the team to get to the top… but because his body started breaking down for good. It is not about injuries, it is lack of cartilage in his joints, it is his fingers crumbling after the hours and hours of training, and he knows it, he knows there is no recovery from wearing down.

    What pushed him this far, what his talent was nourished by, now finally has started to consume him.

    Kobe could no longer train all offseason, no longer eat away at his team mates all season, keeping them lean and mean, he couldn’t keep pushing, and as soon as he lifted his boot from the neck of his teammates, they floated back to the pack. Sure things still might have played out a little different in the playoffs, but it really seems like the Lakers have lost that power and drive, which installed fear in all opponents.

  86. Dylon, Dylon, dylon, JZ, Snoop May 9, 2011 at 5:44 am

    79.

    I don’t blame Kobe for not being angry. I think he may have realized that an angry tone would lump him into the Odom/Bynum category of sore loser. He took his lumps, convincingly, and decided that. I think that helps set Kobe apart, realizing the moment for what it means to everyone involved.

    I’m likely WAY off on this

  87. I had to take a deep breath before reacting to all this. Obviously I’m as frustrated as everyone else is.

    But I have beef with Magic Johnson because he is very knee jerk when it comes to the Lakers. We can’t blow up the team. We don’t have the contracts or the assets to completely tear the team up and get back what we need to in order to be an elite team again.

    We HAVE to get at least 2 gems in the draft. Young athletic players who can guard multiple positions. Other than that, we are going to have to wait at least another year until we get salary cap relief.

  88. @24 This was a bad matchup for the Lakers, Dallas was making tons of 3s, and still I felt like the Lakers could easily have been 2-2 had they played smart in the fourth quarter of games 1 and 3.

    We’ve been blessed with some great moments from the Lakers. Living in an NBA city without any chance of sniffing the finals lately (SLC), you learn to appreciate what you have. This has been a great run. And it may not be over — maybe a new coach will put in some better schemes. I think they’ve got the talent to make at least another run or two.

    You just can’t expect each run to be unimpeded. Remember how hot Dallas was to start the season? They’re going to be tough again next year, as will OKC and several other teams.

    Rest up, guys, and thanks for another fun season.

    Darius, thanks for a great blog. You guys do an awesome job and I look forward to you continuing your amazing run this offseason.

  89. DirtySanchez May 9, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Well the lights have been turned off and there is no one left in the room. A culmination of things happened on this journey that has brought LA tis conclusion. The blame cant be placed upon one single act, but of many potholes that LA couldnt seem to swerve and miss this postseason. I would like to congratulate Dallas for their effort and wish them luck going forward.

    Nothing last forever or stays the same, its a fact of life that we all must deal with. I am thankful that I was able to share in the joy that this particular LA team has brought me over the years, but I must say I am sad to see what the future entails. No coach, player discontent, and an aging superstar at a crossroads in his career. I would not want to be in managements position on making some tough decisions this offseason.

    Enjoyed reading very insightful post this season by Darius and company. A wide spectrum of opinions has always made for an entertaining read that allows you to step back and think for a moment about how hard it is to be the king of the hill. The fall is always harder to grasp than the climb up.

  90. Collin Cowherd had a great point today that losing like we did does one great thing for the Lakers management: it brings clarity.

    If we go 7 games and barely lose to the Mavs, we walk away thinking we don’t need to do much of anything, we just got a little unlucky (though I still believe that we did get a bit unlucky with going frigid cold from outside while Dallas went nova) and things will sort themselves out.

    I think changes need to be made, but I agree that this isn’t a “blow it all up” kind of problem. We have two of the best bigs in the league and Kobe Bryant. One would think we could build around that – though that all sort of depends on the CBA next year.

  91. I don’t think we should blow the team up either. However, we need some quickness and some shooting. We’re probably not getting that with the MLE. So, that means trading trading Odom.

  92. kehntangibles May 9, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Like others here, I’m not going to sugarcoat how bad this season ended… because there’s no amount of lipstick that’d make me want to kiss that pig. Still, if you ask any NBA team fan to sandwich 2 title runs in between 2 season-ending playoff debacles and he would do that in a heartbeat. Like I’ve said, the Lakers are what they are and while it’s cliche to say that you take the bad with the good, we’ve been uniquely privileged to have some high points that most fans will never get to see. The Sunday loss slammed home the cold reality that the 2009 champion squad was in fact not walking through that door, but it doesn’t take away the title we earned in 2009 or in 2010.

    I’ve often said that the Phil/Kobe Lakers are the most irritating sports dynasty anyone could ever be a fan of – a sentiment that – I think – others here have shared here. It’s been spells of Forum Blue brilliance punctuated by head-scratching moments of disinterest and turmoil on and off the court. It’s been Shannon Brown never meeting a three-point shooting he didn’t close out on. It’s been Kobe shooting off-balance contested jumpers with 13 seconds on the shot clock en route to a 5-20 night. It’s been Pau’s finesse layups that get swatted away by a shorter center who’d have no chance at stopping a simple dunk attempt. But it’s also been Shannon’s 2009 dunk that sparked the team to a 6-1 blitz to close out the 2009 championship season. It’s been Fisher’s cold-blooded 4th quarter heroics. And it’s also been Ron Artest blowing kisses to the crowd after beating the Boston Injury-Card-Playing Leprechauns last June. Another team might have given more consistent effort every night, but considering what we have gotten from this team, I’m not going to complain. Much.

    I’ve also said – as has everyone else on here, and multiple times on multiple game threads – that a championship team wouldn’t play like this. I’ll say it again next season, when we sleepwalk through another slow-motion fourth quarter meltdown against the freaking Charlotte Bobcats. But what we’re missing this underlying truth – winning an NBA championship is *hard* work. That we know that truism better than any other fanbase is itself a blessing. Championship teams *do* play like that. It’s what we signed on to when we became Laker fans and if it’s the price you pay for multiple championships, then sign me up again.

    Even when we were down by twenty in the third quarter of Game 3, I still thought we had a chance. Didn’t most of you? I waited and waited for the gears to fall in place, for the post All-Star Lakers to remember who they were, for that inspired 4th quarter comeback that never came back. From everything we’d seen this season, there was every reason in the world not to expect it. But from everything we’d seen for the past decade, there was – and still is – the ghost of a hope that it WAS in us to pull it off. That’s about as much as you can ask for.

  93. I choose to remember 4 years ago when the ESPN crew picked the Lakers for 10th in the Western Conference.

    In that, or any other light, this last 4 years has been a rousing success. In the era of the salary cap this is about as much time as any of us have a right to expect.

    Thank you Lakers!

    Now on with the rest of our lives.

  94. There is a reason that Phil wanted to retire at the end of last season. He clearly vocalized his trepidation about this team’s age and will going forward toward another championship run. I don’t blame him.

    I am not ready to think about coaching or roster changes yet; I need time to deal with the way in which this team lost this series. Ironically, if we would have known that this series was going to end in a sweep, 95% of people (including analysts) would have seen Dallas on the losing end. Sigh. Some remote part of me hopes that Memphis can be a Cinderella story usually reserved for the NCAA.

  95. I’m hoping this sweep gets rid of every band wagon, drive by, analysis by highlights and trade machine GM fan from following the Lakers for a while.

    This type of ending hurts deeply on many levels. But a lot of the fan bs is much much worse than the hurt I’m experiencing as a fan of the team.

  96. Thanks for all the write ups Darius, Phillip and Zephid. That was one hell of a ride. From those miserable years of losing first round playoffs against the suns to a sudden turn around on 2008 and winning it all on 2009&2010 is something that all nba teams should envy. Champions do fall but I just cant seem to understand the media crucifying Kobe and Phil Jackson for the end of the dynasty. When was the last time an NBA Team who have won a championship title and won it again the following year? Also when was the last time that an NBA TEAM who have won a title have comeback the following year and defended their title in the finals? Only Kobe and Phil have done this for the last 10 years and they are being blamed by these “nba experts” if they come short the fourth time they try. Take San Antonio Spurs or Miami Heat for example. Both teams have won Championships and kept the same roster the following year. Not only did they fall short in defending their titles but they even failed to make it to the NBA finals the following year. Did these “experts” crucified them and blamed them? When San Antonio won the 1st seed this year and was upsey by Memphis did the “experts” came back at them the way they crucify the Lakers? Today is a sad day for Laker fans but we dont have anything to be ashamed of our team. They gave us a very good ride in four years and our future doesnt seem to dim with our current roster. A little tweak here and there would be fine and we can have another run for the title.

  97. Couple of things fellas:
    Dallas was a bad match up as posted by Darius: The Lakers play defense using a SSZ and will only get beaten on the defensive end through 3s and spot up jump shooting. Dallas thrives on this offense and is it any surprise that Miami does as well?

    Also, PJ should have made adjustments during the series, but failed too. Many people are frustrated with this. Maybe Lamar should have started over Pau, since he was ineffective. Chase the offense off the 3 line as they were making buckets all series.

    Oh well, I will wait until next year for the Brian Shaw or JVG era to start.

  98. Karma’s a b**ch. This is the gods punishing Stern for the lockout that’s coming. Hawks-Grizzlies finals anyone?

  99. @Paul,
    I would love a Hawks-Grizzlies finals… better than any finals with the Lakers. After how disrespectful this team was to the game, they do not deserve to go to the finals…

  100. The Lakers broke up a championship team after flaming out in the 2004 Finals. Four years later they were back in the Finals with an entirely different team save for a couple of players. Most other organizations would have spent a decade or more trapped in mediocrity after breaking up a multiple championship winning team like LA did in 2004. Look at the Bulls. It has taken them 13 years to become contenders again.

    We Laker fans have had it good. Let’s remember that. No matter how bad that loss was (and it was bad) it still doesn’t take down those banners at Staples. It still doesn’t take away Kobe’s five rings and two Finals MVP trophies. It sure as heck doesn’t make a dent in Phil’s legacy. Dr. Buss has consistently built winning teams over the years. It may take more than a tweak or two to get this team back to the Finals. However, if there is any owner who can be trusted to build a winner it is Dr. Jerry Buss. This is my team. If I can claim them when they are winning titles, then surely I can claim now. In fact, being a fan actually means more in times like this.

  101. As much as we all don’t like to admit, Aaron was right about this Laker team. Even if they had made it to the Finals, Miami is a bad matchup for them and would have beat the Lakers in a 7 game series.

    I hate that it had to go down like this with a sweep and the Lakers losing their composure but in the end it’s better than if the Lakers had lost in the Finals. If they had lost in the Finals then no major player moves would be considered and Shaw would be a shoe-in as head coach.

    I don’t buy that they are too old – just look at the Mavs and Celts. This team as currently constructed has just been the same for too long. Even if it’s a “lateral” move as far as talent, they need to make a move to mix it up. Nothing against Shaw but he’s just not the fit at this time for this team. JVG! JVG!

  102. While I’ve had some tremendous fun #anticoping on Twitter, in my opinion, there were a couple strong reasons why the Lakers fell short this season that don’t revolve around the obvious, ambiguities, or tautologies: (Warning: this post is a doozy. Speed-readers or those with lots of time on their hands only)

    1) Exhaustion

    I think we’re all aware of the physical ailments of our team: Kobe’s ankle, Kobe’s fingers, Kobe’s knees, Matt Barnes’ knee, Bynum’s knees, etc.

    Kobe seemed to lose about 20-30% of his explosiveness after the most recent ankle injury, especially on defense, highlighted by his complete inability to close out Peja in the help defense scheme. The result caused our other guys to have to scramble much further than they otherwise should have, basically giving the Mavs Games 1 and 3 from the three point line. His ballhandling was not much better, as he seemed reluctant to go to the paint or dribble in close quarters, as he seemed to do for most of the few past seasons.

    Matt Barnes was clearly not healthy after his return from knee surgery. He was completely ineffective during the playoffs, a sharp contrast to early in the season when he provided instant energy and defense off the bench.

    Mental exhaustion, however, seemed to have an even greater effect on Pau Gasol than any physical ailment. You could tell by the end of the series that Pau was letting all the scrutiny and criticism get to him, as every move he made seemed to be calculated with the expectation that everyone was watching. Every pass was hesitant, every drive was nonaggressive, every shot was forced. You could tell how badly he wanted to win, but he just didn’t respond to the pressure at all. You would hope that after so many years of being called soft, he would just say enough and learn how to assert himself without forcing the action. I do think he’ll come back sharp next season, but he was clearly hampered by the knowledge that every movement he was making was being scrutinized.

    Lastly, everyone seemed to say that Lamar Odom’s participation in Team USA fueled his great play through three quarters of the season. But as I said during pre-season, Odom’s regular season play means nothing if his playoff play isn’t as good as it had been the past two years. During the playoffs, it seemed like Odom completely ran out of gas. Maybe his new celebrity lifestyle and reality show are to blame, but I think playing continuous basketball almost a year finally caught up with Odom at the end of the season. To my point, I expect Odom to start off slow next year, like he usually does, then come through late in the season when we truly need him.

    2) Lack of Improvement

    I don’t want to say that Phil Jackson is to blame for this loss, even partially. I don’t believe that coaches can “lose” games, let alone seasons. But I do think they can “not win” games. Maybe it is because our expectations for Phil are so astronomically high (and deservedly so), but his performance this year was less than Phil-like, highlighted by a number of players’ lack of improvement in certain areas.

    Case in point, Shannon Brown started off this season absolutely on-fire from three. He was shooting some ridiculous percentage, like 67% from three through November. But Brown started jacking up every three he saw, and started missing. Soon those misses started adding up, and ended by completely crushing his confidence from three. His shots were no longer as smooth, no longer as free, which is the hallmark of a shooter who is over-thinking a shot. I wish Jackson would’ve curtailed Brown’s shot selection earlier in the season, preventing him from spiraling into ineffectiveness. While the majority of the onus for such a loss is on Brown, I do believe that Jackson could have done a better job in alleviating the issue.

    Steve Blake began the season with a bang, hitting a key three pointer to win the season opener. However, in learning the new offense, he was completely passive, trying to make the right play and continuing to move the ball. Due to his lack of aggression, he relied heavily on his outside shot, and when it stopped falling, he became a one-dimensional player whose one-dimension was below average, rendering him mostly ineffective on offense. Phil Jackson should have stepped in and made it a point to force Blake to be more aggressive during the season. We saw during the season closer at Sacramento how effective an aggressive Trey Johnson was in the Triangle offense, curling hard off screens and getting into the paint. Blake never learned that level of aggression, and many of the Triangle sets were reduced to time-wasters due to Blake’s reluctance to make a play for himself. Like Brown, the majority of the blame for this goes on Blake himself, because anyone could watch film of him and see that his problem was lack of aggression. However, had Phil made it a point to fix this during practice (which he may have), I think Blake would’ve had a lot more success.

    Lastly, Ron Artest was put out of position repeatedly along the perimeter. As we here at FB&G highlighted when we first acquired Artest last year, he is immensely more effective from the wing and the top of the key than in the corners on offense. Yet, Artest was repeatedly set up in the corners for threes, many of which were completely wide open, only for him to clank the shot long. Not only did this take away from easier shots, it also completely imbalanced our transition defense, leading to many easy buckets for opposing teams. Naturally, I think it is Artest’s job to work on his corner three so that he can become more effective in the Triangle sets. However, I think Phil should have forced the players to run sets where Artest would end up on the wing, at the top, or in the paint, where he would be effective shooting threes or getting offensive rebounds in the latter case.

    Conclusion
    All-in-all, I believe that while this season was disappointing, it is impossibly greedy to “expect” four straight Finals trips from any team. This Laker team, old as they are, have played almost an entire extra season over the past 4 years compared to their peers. It is tough to swallow losing in such a pathetic fashion, this rebounded mentally and physically from their last playoff beating in the 2008 NBA Finals.

    With the NBA’s future uncertain and a lockout seeming imminent, our Lakers may seriously benefit from an extended rest. Give Kobe time to heal his various injuries. Give Bynum time to strengthen his knees. Give Gasol time to grow a set of balls and be a man (BAM! Right in the kidneys, Pau. Have fun pissing blood for a week). I do think this core will have a strong chance to win it all next year, provided we have some improvement from guys like Blake, Barnes, Brown, Caracter, and Ebanks, plus an injection of youth from either the draft, signing, or trade.

    Whenever next season is, I think these Lakers will be mostly intact, and ready to go. I feel they still have a couple more years of strong championship contention with this core, and only need a few minor tweaks to push them over the top again.

  103. @83 – Let’s examine a bit more…

    The Mar 12 game also was more favorable going into it schedule-wise for the Lakers than the Mavs – besides for it being a home game for Dallas. LA played 4 games in 7 days with that 4th game being Dallas with a day off prior and zero back to backs. Dallas was playing its 5th game in those same 7 days with 4 of those games being Home/Road & Road/Home back to backs with one day off prior to playing LA.

    But that was not the biggest factor in the outcome. That was the lineups played. Roddy B had one of his worst games as a Pro and admitted afterward to being nervous and starstruck playing the Lakers. And one key Mav was injured for that game. No one will ever confuse Brian Cardinal for Peja – and that’s exactly who got the minutes. I’m aware Kobe was injured in that game and miraculously recovered to lead the Lakes to victory.

    The Mavs played with different lineups in each game of the regular season and then the same one in the playoffs. The Lakes essentially played the same lineup every game. Good coaches will exploit matchups where possible and Carlisle did just that based on regular season film with different players. I actually expected to see a few more lineup tweaks by the Lakers …especially after losing Game 2 at home – but it was more the same except for the self-imposed change due to Artest’s suspension.

    I do think the Mavericks are a better team than the Lakers this year because they are deeper. The Mavs played 6 more sets of back to backs than the Lakers this year and finished with the same record as the Lakes. I think the Lakers were a better team than the Spurs, who had the best record in the West. I think the Mavs are a better overall team than the Heat. I thought the Bulls were the best team in the NBA going into the playoffs – right now I’m conflicted due to their up & down play. Memphis and OKC worry me. But I like the Mavs with this rotation that they’ve established in the playoffs and am just enjoying the ride.

    I do think that blowing up the Lakes is premature and a knee-jerk. Dallas ‘fans’ have been calling for them to be blown up since 2007, including Dirk being traded for younger players. They’ve definitely remade the team in that span with Dirk and Jet being the only ones left from the 2006 Finals run..but when you have players as talented as Kobe, Gasol, Bynum , & Odom – you don’t blow it up. You re-tool. Fisher should be coming off the bench. There should only be one “B” coming off the bench and thats Brown. Blake and Barnes are spares. Ratliff and Joe Smith are done. A legit back up center to Bynum and decent PG (Felton?) and the Lakes are right there again. If the Mavs win it all – I don’t see Kidd or Peja coming back to play another season. Barea and Chandler are both FA’s after this season. But I would take 3 straight finals trips and 2 championships in that any day. Keep your chin up – you are still the Lakers.

  104. Chance of Pau being trade is high after this season.

  105. Zephid. Thats exactly what what I was thinking.

  106. Zephid, thanks for a solid nuanced take that didn’t depend on sexy simplistic story lines.

  107. And can we please stop with the melodramatics on Andrew Bynum’s foul. Yes, it was dumb. I make no excuses for him. I just know I have seen a lot worse over the years. The self righteousness is a bit much.

  108. Zephid-

    very nice. measured, thoughtful and fair. also I liked the intro from darius although it gave the team & phil more of a pass than i feel is called for. This difference aside FB&G remains the best laker’s blog extant.

    On the topic of phil jackson- he is hands down the best NBA coach ever. Not arguable. And this game & series will not diminish his amazing legacy. But he bears some measure of accountability for the performance of his team in this year’s playoffs.

    yet he and the Lakers have given us much to be proud of over the years. we do not need to “blow up” the roster. playing the equivalent of an extra season over the past 5 years is an enormous burden which simply cannot be ignored. we are fortunate to have a strong core…committed ownership and a rich tradition. these factors alone are more than enough reason to have confidence going forward.

  109. Wow, Zephid, what a comment. I saw it earlier, but did not have the time to read it until now, good job and I agree with all of it.