Lakers can't defend title

I never expected the Los Angeles Lakers to be gone this early in the playoffs.

Hell I never expected the Lakers to lose against the Dallas Mavericks.

Hell... who knew they’ll succumb to the Mavs via a sweep?

The Mavericks Organization has been hungry for recognition and so are the guys in their roster. At one point of their careers Jason Kidd, Peja Stojakovic, Jason Terry, Tyson Chandler, and Shawn Marion are star players playing for championship-bidding squads but in some point, they met either the Spurs, Heat, Celtics, and of course... the Lakers. Also let us not forget about Dirk Nowitzki who had to carry the stigma for years that Dallas will never return to the Finals with him on the roster.

Like I said, I am not a fan of the Lakers... in the Finals. I hate them especially when they are pitted against the Boston Celtics. However I respect everything that they are. They are multiple-time champions. The purple and gold colors are one of the most popular colors in basketball history. Their rich history spanned a lot of giants (George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and Pau Gasol) as well as big-time scorers in Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, Gail Goodrich, Norm Nixon, and Kobe Bryant.

For the seventh time in their history, the Lakers were swept in the playoffs.

It was surreal. Playoff time was Showtime. Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher will never let a sweep happen to their squad but it did via Dallas and it created massive heat amongst their faithful. However, aside from the fact that the Lakers were outworked and outplayed by the Dallas Mavericks, they still need to protect their tradition. Unlike the Bad Boys of Detroit or the fan-brawling Indiana Pacers squad led by the now-Laker Ron Artest, the Lakers aren’t goons.

And then... this happened.

Wow, really?

Ever since their locker room squabbles were exposed, trust issues flourished amongst the Laker strong. Andrew Bynum turned to the media and the rest followed suit. By the time Game 4 started, it looked like the Lakers were physically and mentally drained.

I know you are human and all but that was just... let’s just have former LA Laker legend Magic Johnson say it.

Honestly, these acts are grounds for expulsion. It was a bad send off for Phil Jackson who has since stated that this will be his last year coaching the Lakers. He has given the Lakers a bunch of accolades throughout his stay with the team and it is such a shame that he will end his stay in LA with a hefty 35,000USD fine and a sweep.

So what now?

Unlike the San Antonio Spurs, Kobe, Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum are still a young bunch. These guys are so used to winning that losing brought them to the brink. Mental toughness would teach these guys to be mature the next time they succumb.

Hell, they could be mature enough to not be stuck in this bind in the first place.

Just like what Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley were saying, the Lakers need to add speed and athleticism to their roster. Matt Barnes is a decent bench operator and Ron Artest can’t be traded (unless you buy him out and offer a veteran’s minimum salary for him) but the rest of the guys here need to go. If they can get Chris Paul to play for the squad, then that would be good. However, this can only happen when CP3 accepts a less than stellar salary grant.

Actually Fisher wasn’t the same player as he was last season. At least in their last title run, he produced big numbers during the playoffs but in this season he was missing in both the regular season and in the post season.

When Fisher moves to the bench, a point guard needs to step up. It can be Paul. It can be Devin Ebanks. Hopefully it will be a person that can move inside as well as shoot outside. They also need a scoring small forward. Dallas found a player in the free agent pool in Stojakovic and for sure there will be a player in that pool that they can use.

I am not sure if Dallas will win a championship. All I know is that they brought their “A” Game to dispatch of the defending champions.

The Lakers will eventually realize that they need to have their “A” Game all the time in order for them to reclaim their throne next season.

Game over.


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