Tag Archives: Kobe Bryant

Has Time Run Out on the Lakers?

Dirk Nowitzki pressured by Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol in the second quarter of Game 3. The Mavericks went on to win Game 3 98-92 and took a 3-0 series lead on the defending NBA Champions. (Image via John F. Rhodes SportsDayDFW)

After falling to the Dallas Mavericks 98-92 on Friday night, many Los Angeles Lakers fans must be thinking to themselves “Ahh! There are two red buttons! Which one should I press?”

The answer to that question all depends on who you are.

If you’re a diehard Lakers fan that considers themselves a part of the team, that goes through the ups and downs just as the players do, that loses sleep over every missed buzzer-beater and celebrates in jubilation with every made buzzer-beater then press the left button. If you’re a diehard Lakers fan that eats, sleeps and breathes Laker basketball then it’s about time you press the left “Panic” button.

If you’re the classic bandwagon fan that jumps on whichever team is doing the best, that acts like you’re a part of the fan base but runs whenever the teams starts heading downhill then press the right button. If you’re a bandwagon Lakers fan that isn’t emotionally attached the the team, you should definitely press the right “Eject” button to eject yourself off the bandwagon.

The Lakers headed into the season as the favorite in the Western Conference to make it back to the NBA Finals. After all, they were the two-time-defending NBA Champions with Kobe Bryant and a boatload of interior size.

As the Lakers’ season unfolded, some doubts squeezed their way into the heads of the fans, media and possibly even the players. Then, the Lakers went on a ridiculous stretch after the All Star break and squashed the doubts anyone once had. With the end of the season nearing, the Lakers tried to snatch away the #1 seed in the Western Conference from the San Antonio Spurs but failed and tumbled to the finish line.

Heading into the playoffs, the Lakers were still everyone’s favorite despite their inconsistent play. Everyone assumed the Lakers would flip the switch. Even if the switch stalled for a few games, they had Kobe Bryant, arguably the best player in the NBA. The Thunder were a year away, the Spurs were too old, the Nuggets had their “Melo-drama,” and the Dirk Nowitzki led Mavericks were your classic choke artists who were too soft to hang with the Lakers.

With the Game 3 loss in Dallas and the Lakers face a daunting task — to become the first team in NBA history to come back from being down 3-0 in a series — it’s safe to say we were wrong.

  1. The Oklahoma City Thunder are ready to contend this year. The maturation of Russel Westbrook and Kevin Durant has happened right before our eyes. The trade deadline acquisition of Kendrick Perkins makes the long, big and physical on the interior and a true force to reckon with in the NBA.
  2. There was more to the Lakers than just flipping a switch. After Game 2, Andrew Bynum noted “trust issues” in the Lakers’ locker room. It’s quite possible that a few of the Lakers flipped the switch, but the rest of the team didn’t.
  3. Most importantly, the Dallas Mavericks haven’t been choke artists and have proven they aren’t too soft to hang with the Lakers. In fact, the Mavericks have been clutch in the series against the Lakers. Twice this series, the Mavericks have come from behind in the 4th quarter to beat the Lakers. In the 4th quarter alone, the Mavericks have outscored the Lakers 82-55.

If you pressed the “Panic” button, you should be worried about the future of the Lakers. If you pressed the “Eject” button, don’t expect to be back on the Lakers bandwagon anytime soon. With a core group of players over the age of 30, the Lakers aren’t getting younger, and the West is only going to be getting better. The window of the Lakers’ dominance is rapidly closing and being swept by the Mavericks may only kick it into high speed.

Tonight, the Boston Celtics look to avoid falling into a 3-0 hole just as the Lakers did. With the series heading back to Boston and Shaq returning, the spirits of Boston fans must be higher than those of the Lakers. Talk about adding insult to injury.

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NFL Draft Rounds 2-7 and NBA Playoffs Round 2

The NFL Draft is officially over and there were multiple winners and losers in the draft.

The ultimate winner was us, the fans. The constant back-and-forth bickering between the NFL and the players is obnoxious. The state of the lockout changing what seems like every other day is frustrating. The fact that the NFL and the players can’t find a way to split 9 billion dollars is ridiculous.

With the state of the NFL season up in the air, the draft was a chance for fans to attempt to forget about the lockout. Whether your team drafted someone you loved or hated, it was nice to think about your team’s issues on the field football, rather than off the field. Here are some of my thoughts from Rounds 2-7:

  1. Detroit Lions: The Lions made a risky, but great pick in Nick Fairley. Fairley could be a bust or he could be terrifying for opposing offenses. In the second round, the Lions drafted WR Titus Young from Boise State and then traded up to select RB Mikel LeShoure from Illinois. Last year, the Lions struggled on defense, not so much offense. I  like the picks, just not where they were selected. If the Lions wanted to reach or take a chance on a player, it should have been on defense. Either Suh and Fairley along with the rest of the D-Line will have to get immediate pressure on the QB, or the secondary will struggle again.
  2. New England Patriots: Another team that made some interesting picks that surprised many people. They selected one cornerback and two running backs in the middle round. One of the many needs experts felt the Patriots needed to address was their inconsistent pass rush. Apparently, there wasn’t a player on the board the Patriots liked.  Once again, they compiled draft picks for the future and now have two picks in Round 1 and Round 2 in 2012.
  3. Ryan Mallet: If I was a QB, who had off-the-field issues, and wanted to make a smooth transition to the NFL, the one team I would want to be drafted by was the New England Patriots. Well, Ryan Mallet got Christmas in April. Mallet gets to go the Patriots, learn from Brady and Belichick. Whether Mallet is the successor the Brady is questionable, but whether he will learn and become a better QB is almost certain.
  4. Da’Quan Bowers: Bowers, who was once considered to be the #1 pick in the draft, fell all the way to the 51st overall pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers win with the pick but the fall for Bowers must’ve been disappointing. With health concerns surrounding Bowers, teams must have been scared to take a chance on his risky knees. Bowers will have a chance to succeed in Tampa, and it would not surprise me if he is beyond motivated in his rookie season. The rest of the NFC South better look out.

Today marks the start of the second round of the NBA Playoffs and there are some interesting match-ups. After going 6-2 in the first round, I was feeling pretty good about myself, but these series could go either way. Here are my picks:

Eastern Conference:

1 Bulls vs 5 Hawks

The Bulls beat the Pacers in 5 but did not look impressive while doing it. The Hawks were impressive in taking down the Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard but Kirk Hinrich sustained a knee injury at the end of the series. Hinrich-Rose was going to be a huge key for the series but now Rose will dominate. The Bulls got some needed postseason experience and will dominate the Hawks.

Bulls in 5

2 Miami Heat vs 3 Boston Celtics

Do I need to say more about these two teams? If you followed basketball this year, you know that these two teams hate each other. The Heat’s Big Three looked good in the first round against Philadelphia and will take on Boston’s Big Three + One that was just as impressive in the first round. The Celtics won the regular season series but lost the last time these two teams met. The Celtics aren’t as big as they were last year after the Perkins trade, but the Heat aren’t the team that will exploit their weakness.

Celtics in 7

Western Conference

2 Los Angeles Lakers vs 3 Dallas Mavericks

The Lakers gave everyone a scare when the Hornets tied the series up 2-2 heading back to L.A. The Lakers then turned the switch and dominated the Hornets to take the series in 6. The Mavericks beat the Blazers in 6 which came as a surprise to me. The Mavericks were a dangerous team throughout the year but tailed off heading into the playoffs. Kobe looks healthy after his foot injury and Bynum looks healthy after his knee injury. The Lakers won’t bow out this early and have the experience to come back if they happen to fall behind.

Lakers in 6

4 Oklahoma City Thunder vs 8 Memphis Grizzlies

The Thunder took down the Denver Nuggets, who many pegged as a dangerous team in the Western Conference. Kevin Durant looked mature and calm while leading his team to multiple close fourth-quarter wins. The Grizzlies knocked off the Spurs who were the #1 seed in the Western Conference. They were physical inside on defense and offense and got consistent play out of Zach Randolph. Shane Battier gives them another shutdown defender and a veteran presence in the locker room. The Thunder may be young, but they are big and talented. The Perkins trade was pure genius by the Thunder and it will pay dividends immediately.

Thunder in 6

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