Skip to content

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Hawks assistant Quin Snyder in mix for Jazz job, too

    Apr 23, 2014, 6:41 PM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Miami Heat Atlanta Hawks v Miami Heat

    Utah needs a coach good at player development, Synder could be a fit.

  2. PBT Extra: How ’bout them Wizards?

    Apr 23, 2014, 5:49 PM EDT

    Washington Wizards v Boston Celtics Getty Images

    CSNWashington.com’s Wizards insider talks about the best story line in the playoffs so far.

  3. Rockets coach Kevin McHale explains the difference between good and bad players

    Apr 23, 2014, 3:22 PM EDT

    Kevin McHale AP

    McHale jokes with a reporter by making a painfully obvious observation.

  4. Ron Harper expects to interview for Knicks’ coaching vacancy

    Apr 23, 2014, 2:41 PM EDT

    Ron Harper Ron Harper

    Harper worked as Pistons assistant for two years

  5. Flip Saunders on coaching the Timberwolves himself: ‘You never know’

    Apr 23, 2014, 1:22 PM EDT

    Flip Saunders Flip Saunders

    Timberwolves president coached Minnesota, Detroit and Washington before taking current job

  6. Report: Frank Vogel “coaching for his job” in wake of team’s slide

    Apr 23, 2014, 12:39 PM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Indiana Pacers - Game Two Getty Images

    It would be a mistake, but the Pacers’ slide has everyone on edge in Indy.

  7. Phoenix’s Goran Dragic runs away with Most Improved Player

    Apr 23, 2014, 12:05 PM EDT

    Goran Dragic, Anthony Davis Goran Dragic, Anthony Davis

    Lance Stephenson was second, Anthony Davis third, but they were well back of Dragic.

  8. Baylor’s Isaiah Austin declares for NBA draft

    Apr 23, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT

    Traevon Jackson, Isaiah Austin Traevon Jackson, Isaiah Austin

    7-foot-1, athletic with 3-point range — what’s not to like? A decent amount

  9. Frank Vogel not afraid to make adjustments, but the one he didn’t make might make the difference

    Apr 23, 2014, 11:05 AM EDT

    vogelhibbert

    Frank Vogel resisted the urge to do anything dramatic and trusted his team to make little changes. It worked.

  10. Mario Chalmers questionable for Game 2

    Apr 23, 2014, 10:32 AM EDT

    Toronto Raptors v Miami Heat Toronto Raptors v Miami Heat

    Heat will need point guard more later than against Bobcats

  11. Wednesday playoff previews: Rockets know they need a win

    Apr 23, 2014, 8:46 AM EDT

    Dwight Howard, Chandler Parsons AP

    Can Houston bounce back to even the series?

  12. Report: Pacers’ Lance Stephenson, Evan Turner got in fight day before Game 1

    Apr 23, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Indiana Pacers - Game One Getty Images

    Teammates reportedly broke up the fight, but I bet they really wanted to step back and let it go for a while.

  13. Tuesday NBA grades: Beal, DeRozan not perfect but good enough

    Apr 23, 2014, 2:34 AM EDT

    NBA: Playoffs-Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors Reuters

    Teams leading scorers were not perfect but they were good enough.

  14. Raptors even series with Game 2 win over Nets

    Apr 22, 2014, 11:08 PM EDT

    DeMar DeRozan DeMar DeRozan

    Raptors win Game 2, but it feels like this series is Brooklyn’s to lose.

Featured video

Wizards playing spoiler in East
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Durant (3066)
  2. A. Jefferson (3048)
  3. D. Wade (2986)
  4. D. Rose (2815)
  5. L. James (2668)
  1. J. Noah (2636)
  2. K. Bryant (2535)
  3. A. Bogut (2342)
  4. S. Curry (2193)
  5. N. Hilario (2168)