|(AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)|
Kobe Bryant and the Lakers will not be three-peating this year
after getting swept by the Dallas Mavericks.
After barely sneaking out of the first round against the New Orleans Hornets, the Lakers did not have the will power or determination to get by the Dallas Mavericks. The Los Angeles Lakers, who have won the Western Conference the last three years, and the last two NBA Championships, will see their streak come to an end, after getting swept by the Mavs.
A sweep is hard enough to deal with, just ask any Knicks fan, but when you go out losing by almost 40, you know something is up. The Lakers were 57-25 this season, finishing second in the Western Conference and were given the #2 seed. They were expected by many to go back to the finals, and even win. They had all the pieces they had last year minus Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar, and i doubt that is why the Lakers will not be playing for another ring.
Is it Kobe Bryant's age that is finally getting to him? What about Phil Jackson? The Lakers looked miserable out there in Game Four, getting shots knocked down on them from all areas of the court.
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas' best player played great, but his 25 points and nine rebounds a game, definitely was not the answer to the defending champs. It was the bench.
The Dallas Mavericks are owned by one of the richest men in sports, Marc Cuban. He loves his Mavericks, and will buy as much talent as he can (within the hard cap) to make them title contenders. The Mavericks have one of the deepest benches in all of the NBA. They have at least eight players who would start on any average NBA team.
Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler, Jason Terry, Peja Stojakovic, and arguably JJ Barea are all exceptional players.
The Lakers also have their depth in Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, and Ron Artest, but they simply do not have the energy that the Mavericks have.
Throughout the short four game series, Jason Kidd was lighting up Derek Fisher, whose career looks like it is finished. Dirk and Tyson Chandler looked to be too much for Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Kobe Bryant also couldn't dominate this series, like he has been able to in the past.
Is it time for the Lakers to trade Bynum or Gasol, and others for Orlando's superstar, Dwight Howard. Right now, that looks like the only bit of hope the Lakers have left in them.
After watching their rival Spurs go down in the first round vs the Grizzlies, the Lakers too would fall. Both teams were arguably the best two teams of the decade, but now the NBA and America thinks their time is done. The future of the NBA lies in the hands of the Heat, Grizzlies, Clippers, Thunder, Knicks, and other young teams.
Many sources are saying that Phil Jackson, the "Zen Master", as called by Ron Artest, will finally call it quits. Jackson has 11 NBA Championships, the most of all time, and has three-peated three times in his career. Jackson has had the oppurtunity to coach arguably the two greatest players to ever play the game, in Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, but no doubt he is one of the greatest coaches in all of sports.
The Lakers' biggest problem in their series vs the Mavericks was perimeter defense. The Mavericks were unstoppable from beyond the arc. In Game Four, Jason Terry went 9-10 from three point land, and Peja Stojakovic went a perfect 6-6. Also, throughout the whole series, Dirk was left wide open from three with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum not daring to go out of the paint.
The Lakers were definitely beaten badly this series but they had their chances. In two of the games of this series, the Lakers were leading in the fourth quarter. In Game One, the Lakers were leading the whole game until the final minute. The Lakers were outscored in the fourth quarter in all four games, and by a total of 41 points overall. Kobe Bryant who has been the clutchest player in the league over the last five years, simply was not there in the final minutes of the game.
The Mavericks will go on to face the winner of the Memphis Grizzlies vs the Oklahoma City Thunder, two of the youngest and most talented teams in the league. Currently the series is lead 2-1 by the Grizzlies, who have had tremendous efforts from Zach Randolph in the postseason.