Game 2: The Lakers were blown out at home.
Game 3: The Lakers once again blew an eight-point lead coming into the fourth quarter.
Games 1, 2, 3, and Games 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 against the Hornets: 2008 Pau Gasol is resurrected.
The Lakers have a cool and composed attitude facing elimination. You could see it in Bryant's smiles with Mark Cuban. You can see it in PJ's sarcastic attitude. You could see it in Pau Gasol's screw-ups.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been exposed by the Dallas Mavericks. The once soft, choke-artist Mavericks have pushed the defending back-to-back champions on the brink of exclusion. They have shown that Bryant is no longer able to carry an entire team in a series. They have shown that Pau Gasol still cannot get over baby mama drama. They have shown how horrible our bench really is. They have shown how careless and lazy the Lakers really are.Bynum has played amazingly well for the struggling Lakers, but his youth and inexperience won't get him any late-game minutes. That's why Phil took out a hot Bynum and put in a cold and passive Gasol, who committed terrible mistakes in the final minutes of the game. Kobe Bryant went out of his way and facilitated the offense to get the post players going, but Gasol did nothing but make it stagnant. Gasol is folding under the pressure of Dirk Nowitzki and the playoffs. The Lakers are as good as dead right now...
But think again. This Lakers squad contains the most talented basketball players in the world. The Lakers hoist the undisputed greatest coach in NBA history.
They hoist the greatest shooting guard in history not named Michael Jordan. They have arguably the best and most skilled power-forward in the game today. They have a veteran marksman who hits clutch shots as a living. They have a valuable '7" foot tall prospect with a tremendous upside, and an old-school feel of the game. They have the best physical and mental defender in the league who has tremendous will. They have the most versatile and best player coming off the bench in the world. Can anyone win four straight games against a great team in Dallas? They have a chance.
In order to triumph over this task, a number of things must be fixed. Gasol must snap out of it; He needs to make Dirk work defensively, and cover him better. He needs to regain the Gasol of the past two postseasons and throw away the "soft" moniker. Bynum must continue his path of destruction, and Bryant must score efficiently. Odom, Brown, Blake, and Brown must bring in energy off the bench, and Derek has to hit shots. The Lakers need to hustle defensively, and make shots. In a seven-game series, the Lakers at their best can sweep any team in the league.
How fitting would it be, that in Phil Jackson's last season, to win a championship? It would complete Jackson's fourth Three-Peat, and Bryant's second. It would tie Bryant and Jordan in terms of rings, as well as the coveted Lakers and Celtics rivalry. It would bring championship rings to ring-seekers in Barnes, Blake, Theo, and Joe. How great would the tale be if the Lakers overcame a 3-0 deficit; a predicament in which NO Basketball team has ever conquered.At the same time, if the Lakers defeat either the Celtics, Bulls, or the Heat, it would cement Bryant's legacy in the Top 5 Players of All-Time.Bryant would have slain the Celtics once again, the up and coming Derrick Rose, or Miami's Big Three. The headline would be amazing.
Now, I'm not saying they will. If there's any team that can do it, it's the Lakers. The chances however, are highly unlikely. Laker fans, just keep the hopes and positivity up. So hopefully, the Lakers can find the hunger and will to hoist that 17th Championship Banner in the Staples Center. Lakers, it's time to Go Hard, or Go Home. Make History, or Be History.