As Bad As It Looked

May 10, 2011

In every way, the Dallas Mavericks sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers was as bad as it looked. They were dominated throughout the series, and it would have been a tragedy had the Lakers moved on any further in this year’s playoffs.

Maybe, such an embarrassment will be the catalyst to cleaning up an organization that showed its true colors when it was down.

Forget about the performance from a purely basketball standpoint for a minute. Yes, that was bad as well, but that can be fixed much more easily than the other part where Los Angeles received a failing grade. Their failure came in that area of having or reflecting high standards of personal behavior, also known as class.

Some may want to rationalize the two flagrant fouls that caused Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum to be thrown out of Game 4 within a minute of each other. It’s just frustration that boiled over. Some may want to chalk up Ron Artest’s ejection after clotheslining J.J. Barea to Artest’s personality. Come on, he’s done it before. Some may want to attribute Pau Gasol’s poor play to the fact that he’s European and therefore soft, or to the rumors of off-the-court issues with his fiancé . Hey, he’s shown to be unpredictable in the past.

Save the excuses. There is a very simple reason for the Lakers’ collective performance. They don’t know how to lose.

Everything has looked great in the City of Angels in the almost three years prior to this series. Why wouldn’t it? It’s easy to hold your head high and put on a good show when everything is going well. But when adversity…yes, this time, real adversity…was staring back at them, they turned their backs and threw in the towel. The 36 point loss to the Mavericks on Sunday was the second worst playoff loss in team history. The worst loss was a 39 point defeat to the Boston Celtics in the 2008 Finals, which also happened to be the series clincher for the Celtics.

Apparently, when the times are tough and the outlook is bleak, quit. Don’t stop there, though. Not only do you quit, but you make it look as ugly as possible by throwing elbows, committing hard fouls, and by transfer the focus on yourselves, even if that means looking like a thug.

Judging by Phil Jackson’s quotes about returning and speculation about at least partial overhaul of the roster, it looks as if this is the end of an era in Los Angeles.

Here’s to the hope that with the new regime comes some class and respect for the game, in both good times and bad.

– K. Becks

2 Responses to As Bad As It Looked

  1. Matt on May 10, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    The team is going to look completely different next year. Jackson is gone, Fisher is most likely gone, Pau is clearly not happy there, they need someone other than Artest at small forward, and talk is that Bynum’s going to be in a trade to Orlando. Dominant Orlando center coming to L.A.? Seems all too familiar.

    • K. Becks on May 12, 2011 at 10:04 am

      There are arguments to be made from both sides. Some say that completely blowing up this team is the answer. With Jackson likely on his way out, that seems like it would fit, considering the wholesale changes that will arise from a coaching and team philosophy perspective.

      However, Kobe is still the core of this team, and will be for at least a few more years. Possibly a trade for Dwight Howard will do the trick. Get him, rid themselves of Bynum and Gasol, and let Artest fizzle out on his own.

      I don’t see the Lakers being contenders next year, save they actually pull off a trade to get Howard. Building for the future, even if it may be the near future (two years out), looks like the answer regardless of what changes they make.

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