There’s no shame in losing. Everybody does. It’s how you handle the loss that matters. The Los Angeles Lakers being blown out and swept in four by the Dallas Mavericks means there will be a new champion this year. It’s just too bad the Lakers decided simply playing terrible in being a lopsided 122-86 massacre wasn’t enough. They had to humiliate themselves and legendary coach Phil Jackson in what was likely his last game.
Even more remarkable to me was this was the first time I can recall in many years sitting in a room full of family watching a NBA playoff game. I’m not a Laker hater, but I have grown tired of them. As I settled into a chair in my brother’s living room I said I expected the Lakers to stave off elimination and win at least one game to send the series back to L.A.
The Mavericks had other plans and executed them to perfection.
Nothing could save the Lakers. The Mavs strafed them from the outside and penetrated the paint at will as the Lakers’ big men flailed helplessly at the streaking guards. They looked old, old, old and slow playing lethargic, ugly basketball. Even Kobe Bryant seemed to know there was no point in trying.
There was no denying the Mavs who essentially gave star player Dirk Nowitzki the afternoon off. Nowitzki finished with 17 points, but it was the bench players who carved up the non-existent Lakers “D.” Peja Stojakovic was 6-for-6 in dropping three pointers, but even his perfection took a back seat to Jason Terry’s monster 32 points and 9 out of 10 daggers from deep. The Lakers never seriously threatened to make the game close and even if they had, they were totally outgunned by the Mavs shooting 60 percent.
The Mavericks not only won, they SWEPT the defending champions! The Fakers kept saying they let the Mavs off the hook in Games Two and Three. Pride goes before the fall. The Mavs were OFF the hook in Game Four and nobody more so than Jason Terry and J.J. Berea. If they weren’t stroking sweet threes from the outside, they were slicing up the soft interior of the Fakers in the paint.
Andrew Bynum’s cheap foul was a punk move and deserving of a nice long suspension and fine next season (if there is a next season. Pau Gasol played small. Ron Artest was garbage and Derek Fisher is ancient. He shouldn’t be a starting point guard anymore. The bench is garbage.
Kobe needs to hang a “Help Wanted” sign outside the Staples Center. This team has gone as far as it can go. Nobody’s scared of the Fakers anymore. Well, unless they’re afraid of catching a stray elbow somewhere it might hurt.
I watched the game in a room full of people including some kids and we were ALL disgusted by Bynum’s thuggery and the sore loser cheap shot from Odom. Apparently, whatever crazy pills Artest takes (suspended from Game Three after he clotheslined Mavs pesky point guard J.J. Barea), he shared a few with his buddies Odom and Bynum.
Los Angeles was already getting embarrassed by the way the Mavs exposed them as old, slow and soft. Then they upped the ante and decided they could embarrass themselves even more.
I watch pro ball to see a good game and it WAS a good game if you enjoy watching a guy like Jason Terry get in the zone and impose his will upon a game. Unfortunately, Terry’s great game was overshadowed by Bynum’s bitch move.
I call them “the Fakers” because REAL champions exhibit grace (and class) under pressure and when they’re losing. Anyone can be classy when they win.
Phil Jackson’s Lakers and Chicago Bulls teams won 11 championships and Jackson never had a losing season as a coach. He’s going straight to the Hall of Fame as arguably the greatest coach in NBA history, but Sunday he got completely outcoached, his team was outplayed, and the organization outclassed as the Lakers unraveled into dirty goon ball.
The saying goes “Sports doesn’t build character, but reveals it.” Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest,and Lamar Odom revealed they have no class. That makes them not just losers, but fakers.
Throwing an elbow and then walking off like a punk is something a first-class organization like the Lakers should not tolerate and I bet they won’t.
The Lakers lost their cool, their championship, and their coach. Nice way to start what’s likely to be a long and difficult summer.