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NBA Playoffs: You can’t tarnish the Lakers’ franchise legacy, but their team sure tried

May 8, 2011, 10:11 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Four Getty Images

So this is how it ends. What felt like an inevitable run to the second three-peat for Kobe Bryant, the fourth three-peat for Phil Jackson, and yet another championship for the Los Angeles Lakers, ended in nothing but misery and classlessness in Dallas, Texas. A Hall of Fame coach most known for his motivational tactics witnesses his team outright quit, then conduct themselves in a reprehensible manner, down 30.

Observe, first Lamar Odom, after getting words from Dirk Nowitzki after missing front iron on free throws. Yes, free throws.

This from a veteran, the guy who when plugged in is the difference between a Lakers win and a loss more often than not. It wasn’t the worst foul, it was just so blatantly intentional. Odom was ineffective, along with the entirety of the Lakers. But to respond with such a petty approach as he is being swept out? It’s not even outrageous. It’s just sad.

Not as sad as Andrew Bynum, though.

Classless? Check. Unnecessary? Check. Predictable? You betcha. This is Andrew Bynum, who put Gerald Wallace in the hospital, and cracked Michael Beasley on a similar play this season. He was excused for it being an accident both times, but this just reaffirms the fact that Bynum’s still emotionally volatile to the point of recklessness. It’s a shame because if there was one Laker who actually played with intensity and execution, it’s Andrew Bynum. But Bynum won’t be displaying those skills for several games next season as he’ll be serving a very well-deserved suspension.

So what was more disgusting? A champion going down in such an effortless failure or the players responding to said adversity by committing petty fouls and drawing ejections? The winner is no one.

But the lack of effort should be noted as well. Instead of fighting to the bitter end and making a simple adjustment: defending the three and forcing the Mavericks to beat them inside, the Lakers stood by and watched as Jason Terry nailed three after three after three. Derek Fisher occasionally strolled by to try and “run him off” but on several possessions, no one was there.

This is the franchise of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, of Robert Horry, the .04 shot, the Shaq alley-oop, and the past two championships. And instead the Zen Master watched as his troops failed to commit, then committed an epic display of petulance to send him off. Nothing can tarnish the legacy of the Lakers, arguably the greatest franchise in the NBA, in all of sports.

But man, did they try hard in Game 4.

  1. andyhr17 - May 8, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    Ladies and gentleman, you’re 2010-2011 Los Angeles Lakers!

  2. bj1980 - May 8, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    D’you think Bynum’s aware JJ’s had that shoulder pop out a few times?

    I do. The dirty [bleep].

  3. murphylee - May 8, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    That Bynum cheap shot was one of the most classless, bush league plays I’ve ever seen in my life…I think it’s safe to say he won’t be a Laker next year

  4. goforthanddie - May 8, 2011 at 10:56 PM

    Wow. Bynum’s a serious lil bitch.

  5. cup0pizza - May 8, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    Bush-league punks.

  6. redbear18 - May 8, 2011 at 11:09 PM

    @andyhr17 *your

  7. otisls - May 8, 2011 at 11:28 PM

    despicable, disgusting, classless, cowardly, and punk-ish behavoir by Odom and Bynum; congratulations to the Mavericks who came prepared and kicked the Lakers butts!

  8. jjared1101 - May 9, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    I like how he acts like hard ass by taking his shirt off at the end. Congratulations man, you put a cheap shot on a defenseless 6′ 0” point guard.

    JJ Barea was the subject of criticism in Portland when he ran his defender off a pick at the end of the game. Just like last time, if you think the game is out of hand, don’t pressure the ball like it’s a tie game. Steve Blake was all over him.

    • aboogy123456 - May 9, 2011 at 8:38 AM

      Steve Blake playing defense is not dirty, what the mavs did in portland was dirty, a hole.

  9. uk4ever - May 9, 2011 at 1:05 AM

    Give Dirk 40% blame for that collision. WTH was he going? Straight at Lamar with collision in mind.

    • delius1967 - May 9, 2011 at 12:46 PM

      You have to be kidding. DIrk wasn’t even looking at him, he was watching the ball. Odom was not; he had nothing in mind but a take-down.

  10. stewartma - May 9, 2011 at 1:21 AM

    I loved seeing the Lakers embarrassed, but did not enjoy at all their classless response in the last minutes of the game. There is no place for that in basketball at any leveI. I heard some appropriate comments from Odom, Bynum, and Bryant about the flagrant fouls, but did not get any sense that they REALLY meant what they were saying. Makes me despise their actions all the more. For Laker fans the worst thing was not that the team was embarrassed, but they totally disgraced the NBA.

  11. jstrizzle - May 9, 2011 at 1:39 AM

    So this is what happens when a bunch of pre schoolers don’t get their way. It was absolutely disgusting.

  12. davidly - May 9, 2011 at 1:43 AM

    All credit to the Dallas Mavericks. They really brought it! I think the “Lakers gave up” storyline is just a little bit tired. Dallas was the better team.

    If you build a lead and then, repeatedly, tentatively try to hold onto it in the fourth while the other team hustles and plays great D, then the other team was the better team. Period.

    If you are down by twenty and feel forced out of your game-plan, which puts you into a bigger hole, then the other team was better.

    Lacking effort had nothing to do with it. The Mavs came out and beat the two-time defending champs and all the sports urinalists can do is continue to mouth about how it was all because of the Lakers. Oh, the irony.

    Again, congrats Mavs fans. Your team deserves it.

    • jjared1101 - May 9, 2011 at 1:50 AM

      Well said.

      To add to that, I hope this doesn’t take away from the impact and the game of Dirk Nowitzki. He was amazing the first three games, and then let his teammates finish them off in game 4. When they needed a bucket down the stretch, they went to Dirk and he delivered. Especially game 3. They ran the offense through him and let him carve them up.

      For most of us Mavs fans, we’ve seen this from Dirk time and time again in the playoffs. This wasn’t even the best series of his career. So maybe this will get him some more national respect. Dirk, ring or no ring, is one of the greatest of all time.

      • davidly - May 9, 2011 at 1:59 AM

        Absolutely. So what if Dirk never does win a ring? Folks who hang their hat on winning only, miss out on the joy of great play. Dirk has given fans precisely that for many years now. Win or lose, no fan, especially no Mavs or Lakers fan, is going to forget what he did in this series.

  13. iwishiwasindc - May 9, 2011 at 2:08 AM

    As a lifelong Celtics fan I tuned in to watch the Lakers hopefully lose…at least I’m honest! What I discovered was a terrific team in the Mavs. If the C’s don’t make it, I will be rooting for this team to go all the way to win the championship. also, very classy of the owners to hand out those shirts the other night…that sea of blue was exciting, I don’t care who your team is!

  14. chargerdillon - May 9, 2011 at 2:35 AM

    Diehard Lakers fan, after they lost game 3 i knew it was inevitable. Lakers end the season in classless fashion.

    Props to the Mavericks for being able to point to the scoreboard because that’s all that matters.

    Of all the teams I didnt think would give the Lakers problems it was the Mavs, big mistake.

    I see Heat vs Mavs rematch coming, $$$ is on Lebron

    • paulfountaine - May 9, 2011 at 6:13 AM

      Dirk shooting his mouth off after being ahead by nearly 30 points at home falls into the classless category, get over the fact that occasionally men lose their tempers while getting their butts handed to them.

      The only way the Mav’s get to the finals is to continue to shoot high percentages from downtown – and personally I think it is a great strategy if you can do it. They seem to have the perfect trio to do so.

      As to LeBron – not so fast. My money is on Boston or Chicago, as LeBron looks like a bystander in the last game, and is bordering on disinterested.

  15. frankvzappa - May 9, 2011 at 4:57 AM

    lets not forget that Ron Artest clothesline from game 2, either…just like Wade, these primadonnas cant handle adversity and they are all just a bunch of thugs…try to imagine anybody on the Boston Celtics pulling a freaking stunt, you cant imagine it because it would never happen…its called class, and very few people in LA (athletes and civilians alike) have it…

  16. deenice810 - May 9, 2011 at 6:01 AM

    Seeing the Lakers getting swept and embarrassed on national tv

  17. paulfountaine - May 9, 2011 at 6:08 AM

    Mav’s looked unbeatable – 60%+ shooting, who could beat them. Now if they return to mere mortal %, either team that ends up their challenger has a chance.

    As to the ridiculous overstatements both in the article and by posters, you must all be children, or have no awareness of the NBA. Seriously, what Lamar and numbnuts did wasn’t even a bad game for Rodman, nor for the Bad Boys of Detroit fame.

    This constant feminization of the NBA has got to stop. Bynum never seems “in” the game, so I can’t read him – and what he did was cheap, no more no less.

    Lamar’s foul cannot be called a flagrant by any reasonable man – he threw an elbow – this is what normal men do regularly when they play basketball.

    The sissies seem hell bent on controlling all aspects of life, from thought to elbow…

  18. steelerdynasty2010 - May 9, 2011 at 8:11 AM

    somebody should’ve come off the bench and kicked bynum into retirement right in the side of the knee. he picks the smallest guy on the court to do that to? what a punk!

  19. loungefly74 - May 9, 2011 at 8:21 AM

    Big Laker fan here…

    Congrats to the mavs for moving on in the playoffs. they deserved it and wish them the best. a combination of the Lakers not caring/wanting it (that is exactly what they did as odds makers don’t make bad betting lines on purpose) and the mavs just shooting lights out the entire series destroyed any chances of another 3-peat. obviously, internal issues wrecked their chances too. BUT again, congrats to the mavs, they are moving on. i hope dirk wins his first title.

    now…i know all you laker-haters are just loving this. good. soak it up right now cause best believe, we will be back.

    see you guys next season!

    • massivedick - May 9, 2011 at 9:05 AM

      naw …. may be back but when … kobe slow’n … fisher slow’n … bynum headed for prison … odom gonna get an STD from a 3 way with them kardass hoes … artest, who knows … fearless leader gone

  20. omniusprime - May 9, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    The highwater mark of this Laker dynasty came in the 3rd quarter of game 1 when they were up 16 while making the Mavs look utterly hopeless. At that point I thought the Lakers had the game and series well in hand. Then they collapsed and lost the game, their confidence and their poise. This wasn’t any one player’s fault, it was the whole team that just plain quit on Phil. The way they didn’t bother to show any heart, much less the heart of a champion, in game 4 was an insult of major proportions to Phil Jackson. The whole team of players should be ashamed of the totally disgraceful way they lost game 4.

    Congratulations to the Mavs who came into this series to win while the Lakers just went through the motions and emotions of losing. When down 16 in game 1 they showed the heart of a champion and came roaring back and then kept their newfound confidence throughout the series.

    The Lakers have some retooling to do. For one they need a fast small point guard, say like Chris Paul. Time to trade away Fisher to get someone much younger and quicker. The bench needs a major remake, time to get rid of the old and bring in newer players with a real drive to excel. The core of the Lakers outplayed the core of the Mavs, but the Laker’s bench was horrible this past series. The Lakers were the oldest team in the playoffs and they sure looked the part of an aging geezer team as they were always a step late and a few inches short of making a basket or a stop.

    Still it was a good ride the past 4 seasons with 3 trips to the Finals and two championships. In a way it’s best for the Lakers to lose now so they have more time to rest this summer and stew in their juices about how they totally collapsed against the Mavs. Plus Mitch Kupchak now knows it’s time for him to get busy finding a host of new younger players who have the fire in their belly and the desire to win a championship next year. I’ll be looking forward next season to the retooled Lakers coming back to avenge their loss against the Mavs, next year they’ll be far hungrier to prove themselves.

    Go Lakers 2011-2012!

  21. tsi4431 - May 9, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    That Odom foul was nothing bad at all. Maybe more flopping by Dirk then anything. Bad officiating on calling that a Flagrant 2. I have seen much worse with only a foul called.

    The Bynum foul was inexcusable, and sickening, and I am a huge Lakers fan. There goes the whole Bynum for Howard trade. No one will want him after this, not even myself.

  22. thekingdave - May 9, 2011 at 10:50 AM


  23. thekingdave - May 9, 2011 at 10:55 AM


    This isn’t NBA 2k11 with trade restrictions turned off. The Lakers have no one of comparable value the Hornets would want back(don’t mention Bynum, he’s long been overrated for simply donning the purple and gold). I guess the Hornets should just ship them Paul because it’s just the Lakers God given right to acquire who they want, when they want. The only way Paul is coming is as a free agent in 2012, IF the Lakers find a way to unload a myriad of awful contracts.

    • dunkmaster912 - May 9, 2011 at 2:22 PM

      it worked in the trade for pau gasol

  24. kyleortonsarm - May 9, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    The L.A. Lakers are scum. Always have been, always will be. They’re the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NBA. What a bunch of trash. Where do they find all these players with such huge character flaws and dysfunctional personalities.

    • steelerdynasty2010 - May 10, 2011 at 11:20 AM

      the steelers of the nba? care to back that up with some facts or are u just a bitter fan of a team that cant measure up?

  25. donkeyball - May 9, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    Ah, Laker haters of the world are partying now. Have fun. Join hands in hate.

    No team wins every year, but only The Lakers are expected to do it and they are chastized when they don’t. It’s been that way since the early 80s. Go ahead and take shots at Laker fans, too. It’s really easy to do right now.

    As for the flagorant fouls, I see them as evening the score from when The Mavs were on the other end of the cheap shots at the end of a Lakers blowout win against Dallas near the end of the season. Take your medicine. As a Laker fan of 30+ years, countless times I’ve seen other teams hack with the intent to injure or try to bait The Lakers into fights at the end of a series. It’s nothing new.

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