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NBA Playoffs: It’s not all about the Lakers… but it’s close

May 4, 2011, 3:43 PM EDT

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers - Game One Getty Images

I don’t want to write that Game 2 is really about the Lakers — how they adjust, what effort they bring, whether they stick with their game plan. Because that is dismissive of a very good Mavericks team. This version of Dallas is different — past Mavs teams would have lost Game 1, not taken advantage of the Lakers many miscues down the stretch. These Mavs are not soft (Tyson Chandler sees to that).

But really, it’s about the Lakers.

Because it was about those miscues. About being clutch. When these two teams play their best games, the Lakers will win. And while Dallas was not at its best, the Lakers were farther away from that ideal Monday. If Los Angeles acts like the veteran team, comes out and plays with some real desperation and passion, Dallas will not be able to stop the series from being tied 1-1.

But we don’t know what we will get from the Lakers. What’s more, this year’s Lakers have been so inconsistent that to expect a switch to be flipped would be the big mistake. The question is how many chances does Dallas get and can they capitalize on enough? If they capitalize on Game 2 they will be a long way to a huge upset.

There will be a few adjustments for Game 2. One is talk that the Lakers may give Ron Artest some time on Dirk Nowitzki, who put up 28 and looked like he could get what he wanted for much of Game 1. Pau Gasol struggled to slow Dirk, Lamar Odom was the better matchup. Artest is physical, maybe that bothers Nowitzki, but the fact is a 7-foot guy who can shoot rainbow fadeaways cannot be stopped on a hot night. Doesn’t matter who is on him. But the Lakers will try some different looks.

As for the Lakers, look for them to return to getting the ball inside. They did a reasonable job of that in the first half (Gasol had 9 points on 5 shots, plus 6 rebounds in the first 24 before his error filled ending) but after a Lakers run at the start of the third Los Angeles fell in love with the jumper and stopped feeding the beast in the paint. Look for Los Angeles to assert Andrew Bynum early and often, to go right at Tyson Chandler.

Also, look for Kobe Bryant to attack off the dribble and try to draw contact, not just shoot jumpers. Well, unless his ankle is worse than everyone lets on.

None of these adjustments are really a surprise. It’s a matter of execution and focus.

For the Lakers, they better have enough to get the win. If they go down 0-2, there should be real desperation in L.A.

  1. zaarnak - May 4, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    Artest will be in foul trouble for attempting to break through screens. If Bynum tries too much muscle, he will probably be hurt and must sit out. If both these events actually happen, Chandler will go wild. If the Lakers win – carried through by an ailing Kobe, it should be very close.

  2. jjared1101 - May 4, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    As a Mavericks fan, i still don’t feel like we are in any position to take the series. Most of us (Mavs fans) hope for the best but don’t expect to get past the Lakers.

    With that said, it is sad that most of the talk the last couple of days reguarding the Lakers/Mavs series has been about what went wrong with the Lakers as opposed to how good Dirk Nowitzki was Monday night. He gets a lot of hate, mainly from the playoffs against Miami and Golden State, but he routinely plays out of this world durning playoff games and series but never gets a lot of praise.

    But on to the next article about what the Lakers must do to advance to the next round.

    • rapmusicmademedoit - May 4, 2011 at 7:08 PM

      Dirk has game but he is soft, look how far he is from the fight against the Lakers.

      I loved that call against Pau and the non call on Kidd on the Bryant trip.

      Lakers in 6

      brooklyn Laker fan

      • jjared1101 - May 4, 2011 at 7:29 PM

        I guess it’s all in how you look at it. If your logic is based off of situations involving a fight, I’ve seen KG get jawed in the face by Anthony Peeler and just stand there. But I doubt you think KG is soft.

        Dirk has been fairly injury free most of his career. He’s just not a banger inside that paint. Doesn’t make him soft. Game 5 of 2006 playoffs against the Phoenix Suns. Tim Thomas blew a kiss to Dirk and got in his face. Dirk turned around and dropped a “soft” 50pts in his face.

        I’d rather him do that, then turn in to a junior high kid and puff out his chest like he’s a pissed off gorilla.

  3. fouldwimmerlaik - May 4, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    Oh yes it IS all about the Lakers. Everyone knows it. The Lakers are the cream of the NBA.

    I wear my Kobe shirt to bed every night not because I am a fan, but because he IS the face of the NBA! When I have enough money to maove into my own place, I will paint Kobe’s picture on the wall, not because I am a fan, but because Kobe is the face of the NBA.

    • rapmusicmademedoit - May 4, 2011 at 7:11 PM

      you should wear a tee-shirt with Kobes face on it, you would look lovely in it.
      you should buy 7 of these shirts, 1 for each day of the week.oh my gosh

      buh bye.

      • fouldwimmerlaik - May 5, 2011 at 12:57 PM

        I only have five of them. But I have Kobe undies and a Kobe pillow for my bed.

  4. sydneysachs - May 4, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    I’m a Lakers fan (though looking for ways to avoid going home after work today so that I don’t have to watch tonight’s game… they must be the single-most aggravating team in all of sports), but I do agree with you, jjared1101 about Dirk being a terrific player. And I don’t think that was lost on anyone watching Monday’s game.

    As for you, fouldwimmerlaik, me thinks it’s time to “get a life.” Yes, Kobe is absolutely one of the all-time greats. But maybe you could just get a nice Chagall or Picasso when you get your own place. ;- )

  5. avermaver - May 5, 2011 at 2:39 AM

    Best thing that can happen for the NBA: Celtics and Lakers don’t make the conference finals let alone the finals, enough already with these two franchises

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