What happened? The Lakers showed that they will not three-peat.

Yeah, I said it.

I’ll explain why after the votes. In today’s other game, Atlanta pulled off a major upset by beating the Bulls 101-94 in Chicago. The Lakers themselves went down 96-94 to Dallas.

3 Points – Joe Johnson. Almost impossible to split JJ and Dirk Nowitzki’s performances today. In the end I gave the points to Joe for one reason: we’ve come to expect this sort of excellence from Dirk. Despite Joe’s massive contract, he has never shown before this season that he can lead a team in the playoffs and be a go-to guy in the clutch. Today, he was.

I had the Bulls winning this series 4-0. Now, I still think they’re gonna win it as long as DRose’s ankle injury isn’t serious – but if JJ can pull out a couple more games like today (34 points, 12/18 from the field and 5/5 from 3pt range) then it could become closer than we thought.

2 Points – Dirk Nowitzki. Even though there were some good performances by other individual Mavs this game, as usual Dirk carried the team. 28 points and 14 rebounds looks nice enough on the stat sheet, but he also kept Pau Gasol (who wasn’t completely mailing it in) under control.
These playoffs, I’ve found myself doing a lot of questioning of different players and their legacies. You’ve seen the results. I found myself for a lot of the Mavs game thinking about Dirk’s legacy. How will we remember him as a player? Simply as a guy who revolutionized the power forward position? A terrific talent who could never quite get it done when it mattered? One of the best, but never the best player in the league (and yes, I’m aware he has an MVP award)? I dunno. You guys tell me.

1 Point – Jamal Crawford. With 22 points (8/16, 2/4 3Pt) in 35 minutes, Crawford was back to his Sixth Man of the Year form from last year. If he can keep this up, Atlanta may become more inclined to give him a new contract.

Anyway, on the Lakers. I don’t think they can or will win it this year.

I know everyone’s said “oh, they can turn it on when they need to” well they haven’t. They let Chris Paul and a bunch of D-Leaguers win two games off them in the first round. This game, they blew a 16 point lead against Dallas. You can’t blow a 16 point lead against a good team at any time in the playoffs and expect to win, and the Mavs (past playoff failures aside) are a good team.

Right now, no one on the Lakers other than Kobe seems to be giving any real effort. They’re all cruising through games and just expecting to win cause they’re the Lakers. I can only hope that (As a die-hard Laker hater) they learn nothing from this game and keep going like this, because nothing would give me more pleasure (Save a Warriors title) than seeing the Lakers (and a grade-A wanker like Kobe) lose in the second round to a guy who deserves a title more than almost anyone in Dirk. Anyone who disagrees with the last part needs to go watch the 2006 Finals again and tell me who the better team really was.

Kobe needs to do something to wake his team up, cause God knows they don’t seem inclined to do it themselves. Meanwhile, I laugh at their failure.

Playoff Retro Diary:
2009 Day 16 – Goodbye Mr Wade
2010 Day 16 - When the Hawks dignity was still intact

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