Sunday, May 8, 2011

Requiem for a Dynasty in the NBA: Lakers get swept in playoffs

imagesof a heavyweight

You get spoiled when your team wins year-after-year. It’s like supporting an undefeated  heavyweight champion. You know that the odds are against him from winning forever. Someday, someone will out punch him out. Today was that day for The Lakers.

It was a sad day for a lot of reasons. The two-time consecutive champion(s) looked old and were battered into submission.
One, was they way the Lakers got beat. It was humiliating. It was never close. The team didn’t (couldn’t?) rally for “The Gipper” aka Phil Jackson. No story book ending.

The Mavs made playoff history with a million 3-pointers! (At least it seemed like that many!) I lost count after they hit 11 of them in the first half! The 3’s continued to come down like rain in the second half with nine more 3s for a total of 20 in the game. The record is twenty 3s in a game. Ouch! That’s some slugging!

Two, what a sad legacy for Hall of Famer Phil Jackson, the most winning coach imagesCA1TQQAOin NBA history. His last team self-destructed. They were blown out in game four. I should say knocked out like a tired old heavyweight. Everyone thought the Lakers had plenty of fight left, and that no team could sweep them. He never coached another team that played so shamefully in the end.

Throughout this series with the Mavs, there was an undertone of discontent among certain players on the team. Rumors flew. Bad things happened. The players were defeated by toxic chemistry in the locker room. It was a poorly held secret. Kobe’s wife involved with Pau Gasol’s girlfriend in getting her to leave him. Pau was mad at Kobe. Kobe caught in between. Then Lamar Odom’s reality show with his famous wife was too painful for his team mates to watch. Just too much. All of this drama worked against Jackson who hoped for a better exit to his illustrious career. He certainly deserved better than this. he deserved professionals, but got a bunch of drama queens.

Three, where was the pride the Lakers have always shown in their playoff history? It wasn’t there. The players hung their heads like criminals awaiting execution. They were like deer frozen by the Mav’s hoopster headlights… then ran over. All but Kobe. He never gave up. He played his heart out. Like, or dislike Kobe, you have to respect the pride he played with. Right up until Jackson took him out.

When you’re a champion you have to lose like a champion. Odom was thrown out of the game for a flagrant II foul on Dirk. Then Bynum creamed J.J. Barrea (another flagrant II) and was ejected from the game a minute later! I never saw a more embarrassing playoff loss in my life! The Lakers were down by 27 points at the time frustrated and pissed off. Each player has to know their legacy has been tainted now as part of this 2011 team.

History tells me what will happen next. The Lakers management is going to dismantle this team (with the exception of Kobe). There’s a few other key players under contract for a year, but even they could become trade material.
It’s the end of an era. Sigh.
I wish it could have happened with more dignity.

As It stands,One thing won’t change today however…I’ll continue being a loyal Laker fan (over four decades and counting)  and hope for better days ahead.  

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