Game 1 was a hiccup. Game 2 was a disaster.
The Los Angeles Lakers are down 0-2 to the No. 3 seed, Dallas Mavericks in the Conference Semifinals. Who would've thought they'd be hearing that on the sports radio waves on Thursday morning? Well first off, the media has really overhyped this deficit. The Lakers are down by two games, but are by no means out of this series. Sure, it's a hole, but not a hole that LA can dig themselves out of. Let's start off, step by step, on what the Lakers need to do to beat the Dallas Mavericks and overcome this 0-2 deficit.
First off, if you happen to see a 7'0" Spaniard walking through the streets of Los Angeles, let him know he's got a must-win game he needs to play in Dallas on Friday night. Pau Gasol has been M.I.A. since the playoffs started. Kobe's "Scottie Pippen" has been playing like he should be the sixth man for LA. Pau needs to step it up. Simple as that. Play defense on Dirk Nowitzki and go to town on him on the other side of the court, down in the paint. He can do it. He's not running on short fumes. He's not that old. He can do it and he needs to do it now.
Second, Andrew Bynum needs a few more touches. I'm not saying they should feed him the rock almost every offensive possession, but get the big man a few more touches. He has strength on Tyson Chandler and Dirk Nowitzki, so he should be more assertive in the offense. But in order to get more touches on offense, Bynum needs to really step up on his defense. We all know Kobe Bryant. You don't play defense, you don't get the rock. Defense wins titles and defense comes first. Time to grow up, Andrew.
How will this series end?
Third, Defense-Defense-Defense. The show J.J. Barea put on the Lakers on Wednesday made me absolutely sick. Somebody needs to guard the point guard. I understand that Derek Fisher's legs aren't all that young, but the job still needs to be done. I wouldn't mind seeing Kobe play the point for a few minutes and putting Shannon Brown at the 2 until Ron Artest gets back. That sounds a little crazy, but something needs to be changed. Someone needs to stop the point and someone needs to slow down Dirk Nowitzki. That's how you get back into this series. But then again, that's what I would do. There is a reason Phil Jackson has 11 titles and I am typing articles from my couch.
Kobe Bryant has never won a title on his own, but if none of the above comes into play, he might have to dominate the floor for the next 4-5 games in order to just get out of the series. But even then, that is a stretch. Kobe would have a better shot at dominating the series 2-3 years ago, but he is now a 15-year veteran and past his prime. He cannot do it alone, but I wouldn't be shocked if he tries.
The bottom line is this. There is no way Kobe Bryant just gives in and accepts defeat, even if the Lakers lose Game 3. The guy has a legacy on the line. A legacy that would put him in the same category as Michael Jordan–a shooting guard who lead his team to six titles (Two three-peats) with Phil Jackson as his coach. Ironically enough, Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan were down 0-2 to the New York Knicks in 1993. What happened? The Bulls ended up winning the series. I don't think I need to say much more. I think the picture is clear. Could this be history repeated for Phil Jackson with a star shooting guard? Or will no one, not even Kobe Bryant, knock on the door of stepping into the same legacy as Michael Jordan?
Well, we're going to find out over the course of this series.