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NBA Playoffs: Mavs drop the Lakers in four, sweep away a dynasty

May 8, 2011, 9:42 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Four Getty Images

Somehow, it only took the Dallas Mavericks four games to prove wrong just about every prediction and every presupposition that existed going into their series against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers appeared bound for the Finals to pen a fitting final chapter of Phil Jackson’s coaching career. The Mavericks were supposedly the lesser team, haunted by ghosts of playoff runs past. Andrew Bynum was supposed to rule the paint, and Kobe Bryant the perimeter. There was talk of legacies and pedigrees, and the reigning champs were working toward a seemingly inevitable sprint into June.

The Lakers were the best team in this series on paper, but the Mavs created a disconnect between preconception and reality. There were close games and blowouts, but virtually nothing went according to plan. Bynum was largely contained, despite his precedent of excellence against Tyson Chandler in the post. Bryant had some big scoring nights, but occasionally hindered the flow of the Laker offense and barely attempted anything other than jump shots. The Mavericks were anything but the lesser team, and despite what any player or team’s reputation in this series would have suggested, the Lakers’ run ends here.

The defending champs were swept out of the playoffs in the second round in thoroughly embarrassing fashion, capped by a 122-86 demolition job by the Mavs. It was painful and embarrassing for the Lakers, but grant credit to the aggressors; while the Lakers disgraced themselves with their abysmal effort and lack of composure in Game 4, it was the Mavs’ execution that exposed the Lakers in every game of this series. L.A. was forced to respond repeatedly to Dallas’ ball movement and timely defensive rotations, and clearly wasn’t up to the challenge — a point made clear with each ridiculously open three that the Mavs took in Game 4, and the offensive possessions that grinded to a halt against Dallas’ defensive pressure.

The Dallas bench was incredible, as Jason Terry, Peja Stojakovic, and J.J. Barea powered the reserves to 86 combined points — the same as L.A.’s overall total. That’s an absurd boost from a group of non-starters, but not exactly inconceivable given the context of this game. The Lakers simply had no interest in chasing either Terry and Stojakovic around staggered screens — nor in stopping Barea on his drives to the rim, with the sole exception being Andrew Bynum’s cheap shot/flagrant 2 foul in the fourth quarter — and the Mavs offense swelled as a result. Terry tied an NBA playoff record with nine made three pointers (in just 10 attempts!) and Stojakovic made all six of his three-point attempts, most of which came without a defender in an eight-foot radius.

L.A. may have a fantastically talented core and the greatest coach in NBA history, but for 48 minutes — or four games, really — none if mattered a bit. The Mavs played as close to a perfect game as one could imagine, and scored 132.6 points per 100 possessions to the Lakers’ 93.5. That 39.1 efficiency margin isn’t a gulf or an ocean, but some expanse that doesn’t exist in our universe in physical terms. There are barely even words to describe how demonstrably better the Mavs were than the Lakers in Game 4, despite the fact that L.A.’s playoff lives were on the line, as was the last hurrah of a living legend.

No Laker is shielded from blame, and no Maverick should be without praise; this was a comprehensive team-wide dominance of the highest order, and the embarrassment in L.A.’s locker room should only be matched by the incredible pride of the home team.

  1. purdueman - May 8, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    Over the years, Phil has unfortunately turned into a pompous horses ass, and he’s the first rat to leave the sinking Lakers ship. Some legacy; your team flat out quits in game 4 of a semi-final playoff game. Zan my butt!

    To Phil:
    Na-Na-Na-Na, Na-Na-Na-Na, Hey! Hey! Good Bye!

    To Kobe:
    Na-Na-Na-Na, Na-Na-Na-Na, Hey! Hey! Good Bye!

    To Laker Homers:
    Na-Na-Na-Na, Na-Na-Na-Na, Hey! Hey! Good Bye!

    To Orange County, CA Laker Honks:
    Na-Na-Na-Na, Na-Na-Na-Na, Hey! Hey! Good Bye!

    To Laker bandwagoners everywhere:
    Na-Na-Na-Na, Na-Na-Na-Na, Hey! Hey! Good Bye!

    And for ALL of you, here’s a valuable web-link to a nice tall bridge in the greater LA metropolitan area for you to head out to tonight to “drown” your sorrows!:

  2. purdueman - May 8, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    I watched the end of today’s Laker legacy, er ah, playoff hopes, from a great sports bar in Orange County, CA, and one of the patrons there yelled out this gem when the buzzer went off finally signaling the demise of the once feared (but now old and dying), Lakers: “The Mavs took a dump on the Lakers home court, then wiped their ass with the Lakers on their home court!”

    Not something I would say, but somehow the shoe just seemed to fit!

  3. thekingdave - May 8, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    Are the Lakers really better on paper though?

    • purdueman - May 8, 2011 at 10:19 PM

      Bwahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahaha!! ROFLMAO!!!

  4. brady2welker - May 8, 2011 at 11:46 PM


  5. hnirobert3 - May 8, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    Lakers in 9.

  6. delius1967 - May 9, 2011 at 1:49 AM

    “The Lakers were the best team in this series on paper”

    No, they weren’t. And that’s not just 20/20 hindsight, either; the Mavericks are obviously the much deeper team as a whole. The only place where the Lakers have an obvious advantage is the 2 guard (giving Kobe his due), and even that is negated once you go to the bench. You’re picking teams, who are you going to choose: Jason Kidd or Derek Fisher? Dirk Nowitzki or Pau Gasol? Shawn Marion or Ron Artest? Tyson Chandler or Andrew Bynum? The first two are a clear win for the Mavericks; the third is debatable depending on the needs of your team; the last is probably an edge for the Lakers, but by no means is it a snap decision.

    Then you get to the bench, and it is no contest. Jason, Peja, J.J., and Heywood, vs. Shannon, Steve, Lamar, and Matt? Come on. And that’s the team without Caron Butler, who would have shifted it even further in the Mavericks’ direction.

  7. davidly - May 9, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    Let’s see, the Mavs played as close to perfect as possible – yet the Lakers put forth an abysmal effort? If you wanna point out the lack of composure with the flagrants, sure. But abysmal effort?

    When the winning team brings it like they did last night, how can it look but anything like the other team was “abysmally over-matched”.

    In your attempt to sound like your giving the Mavs credit – it still rings forth like sports-urinalism 101: trash talk.

    The Mavs flat out beat them. End to end. End of story.

  8. txnative61 - May 9, 2011 at 3:18 AM

    For the record, Andrew Bynum mugged Dirk Nowitzki. It was Ron Artest flooring Barea with the hard forearm to the chest on a flying drive. Is it wrong to enjoy the Lakers turned into petulant children? Hope Mav players are OK though.

    • txnative61 - May 9, 2011 at 4:26 AM

      OK, it was Lamar Odom, then Bynum flooring Barea, my bad. I’m sure Artest is jealous, though.

    • florida727 - May 9, 2011 at 7:19 AM

      Go watch the replay. Bynum was the one ejected for the hit on Berea.

    • purdueman - May 9, 2011 at 9:21 AM

      Oh that mugging job didn’t go unnoticed. Steve Kerr said after the game that he’d be very surprised if there weren’t suspensions that will once again come down from the league on the Lakers that will have to be served at the start of next season… whenever that is!

  9. charris3330 - May 9, 2011 at 6:58 AM

    Thats ok we will be back next years LA all day baby

  10. geraldthecat - May 9, 2011 at 8:02 AM

    I missed the postgame. did they say that they would still win the series this time? Btw. I hope that Bynum takes some grow up pills during his time off.

  11. mrznyc - May 9, 2011 at 8:28 AM

    Remember when listening to experts – Experts exist only to cheaply fill up TV time.

  12. philiplewis1 - May 9, 2011 at 8:59 AM

    I was there for the very first expansion Maverick game against the Spurs (1980 I think) which they incredibly won. Since then, I’ve seen at least some games every year and Sunday’s game had to be the most enjoyable ever for Maverick fans.

    I think one of the overlooked stories of the game was how Dirk didn’t try to force anything once his teammates got hot. He stayed in the background and allowed them to take over, taking his points where they fell. His willingness to allow them to be the heroes is the mark of a champion and a Hall of Famer.

    Also, don’t underestimate the value of the weeks rest they will now have while OKC/Memphis battle it out.

  13. purdueman - May 9, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    I loved Steve Kerr’s comment made during his coverage of the Bulls-Hawks yawner last night (can’t anybody on either team put the ball in the bucket?). He said that “watching Dallas dismantle the Lakers was a beautiful thing to watch.” I totally agree!!!

    I just wish it had been a best of 9 so that the Mavs could have won a 5th consecutive game back at the Staples Center, as I would have reveled in the boos reigning down as all of the Laker pretty people start abandoning ship!

  14. purdueman - May 9, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    Make the world a better place; punch a Lakers Homer in the face!!! (if Bynum can mug a Mav, then you can certainly mug a Laker Homer!).

  15. piperbill - May 9, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Lou Holtz said: “I think everyone should experience defeat at least once during their career. You learn a lot from it.” I don’t know if the Lakers learned anything from their butt-kickin’ by the Mavericks but basketball fans sure learned a lot about the Lakers! [although many of us knew it all along! LOL]

  16. taxrate - May 9, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    Hold your horses Mavs fans, dont punch your tickets to the NBA Finals yet. The REAL Mavs will return!

  17. fouldwimmerlaik - May 9, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    Sorry I didn’t post all weekend. My parents wouldn’t let me use the internet all weekend after catching me bathing my Kobe Bryant Action Figure – Playoff Edition in the dog’s water bowl. Anyway, I did cry a lot this weekend. Kobe and Phil are so masterful together and they know everything there is to know about basketball and they are so much better than everyone else. I couldn’t understand it.

    But, after sitting alone in the dark in the basement closet for a few hours last night, it hit me. This is all part of Phil and Kobe’s master plan. They knew that Phil leaving was going to be tough. So, in order to make the transition easier and to set up another run of championships, they let Dallas win this series. That way, no one would worry about Phil leaving and everyone would think that the Lakers are past their prime and could never win again. Next year, they will be better than ever thanks to Phil and Kobe’s plan this year!

    Next year….number one of the next three-peat!!!!

  18. bigbwoy000 - May 9, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    BYE KOBE!! Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Karma gets to us all in the end, maybe his dumbass “Be Epic” jersey he sent to that POS Mike Vick was the downfall of his positive Karma & in the end, as MV did in the playoffs, Kobe gets his as well. Maybe there really is a Santa Claus & he loves his dogs & hates the mentality of todays athlete.

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