The following is a vitriol laced column detailing my feelings toward the 'bully-in-the-sandbox' Lakers and the disgraceful end to their season. Just so we're clear on where this is heading...
The Los Angeles Lakers, after losing the first three games of a seven games series to the Dallas Mavericks barely managed to lace up their shoes for the series deciding game four on Sunday. Instead, they mulled around the court apathetically, taking little interest in playing defense and opting for the "me-first" approach on offense (7 foot center Andrew Bynum was literally shooting turnaround, fallaway jumpers from 17 feet).
I'm reminded of Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter series who, upon finding out he 'only' got 26 presents for his birthday declares, "I want another! I must have more than last year!"
This self-entitled Lakers team has been disillusioned to think they can hide behind Kobe's greatness and bully all opposing teams as they walk their way to another three-peat championship. "But I want another title! I deserve it because Kobe and Phil Jackson are on my team!"
Once Kobe stopped being the best player on the court the facade fell that the Lakers had any semblance of depth or support from their bench. And as soon as things stopped going their way they self-destructed and quit on each other, much like a group of strangers playing pick-up. Acting as though there is no loyalty and no bond between them. They just showed up to play ball for a little bit
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't just the role players who let this get out of hand. I blame Kobe himself. What? You don't remember that time when Jordan let his team get swept out of the playoffs, losing game four by 36 points? You don't remember when Jordan let his team quit on him and didn't will them to victory all by himself?
Kobe sits in his snarky tower barely giving notice to us commoners down below. Issuing a disrespectful quote here and there, never admitting fault or defeat. Stating that he wants to win more championships than Jordan so he can (in his mind only) become a greater player than the immortal MJ. Yet did Jordan ever let this happen? Did Jordan ever quit in a game? Even when he had the flu? Even after his Dad died?
In reality, the Lakers couldn't shoot the ball effectively, they couldn't guard an order of Mushu Pork if it ran a pick 'n roll against them, and they didn't get anything out of their two 7 footers. They had no answer for Dirk and showed great immaturity in handling crunch-time situations and, ultimately, defeat.
Despite having four of the five best players on the court almost all the time, the Lakers couldn't put anything together and, in the face of adversity, collapsed.
And really, none of that is what makes this Lakers season a disgrace. Sometimes teams don't shoot well in the playoffs, sometimes they collapse under pressure. It's not easy to win a championship, let alone three in a row.
But when you act like Veruca Salt, shouting "I want an oompa loompa, NOW!" you show what you're really made of. "If I don't get my championship ring this year I'm going to throw a tantrum like you've never seen!"
And they did. First Lamar Odom body checks Dirk Nowitzki on an inbounds pass and gets ejected, then the real Big Baby in the NBA, Andrew Bynum, frustrated that things weren't going his way and that he wasn't being used effectively, elbowed JJ Barea into next Friday while he was in the air driving to the hoop. Bynum was immediately ejected and promptly shed his jersey as he stormed off the court.
A class move, really.
Fitting though, the Mavericks were shooting so well that 5'11'' JJ Barea after being hit-sticked by 7'0'' Bynum still made the layup despite being driven through the hardwood. Karma, perhaps.
At least we know Lamar did it so his "hit" reality show Kholoe & Lamar will have a great season ending cliff hanger..."When Khole goes shopping without telling Lamar he takes it out on the court!" Followed by a slow-motion shot of Odom slamming into Dirk and knocking him over. "What will happen next season on...Khloe & Lamar?!"
What's ridiculous is that Ron Artest wasn't even the craziest guy on the court! He barley made a headline until he tried to rip JJ Barea's face off in game three McGruber style (note: also leading to Artest's ejection/suspension).
Just like a bully picks the smallest guy in class to abuse, the Lakers beat up tiny JJ Barea repeatedly but had no answer to a real threat like Dirk or Jason Terry even! Jason Terry! A guy coming off the bench!
I can't wait to watch the season in review DVD for the Lakers. The final montage played to Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" and filled with slow-motion clips of Artest, Odom and Bynum intentionally slamming into Dallas Mavericks players because they didn't get their way and, really, they ought to because they totally deserve it!
And, much like Biff Tannan, when all is said and done, Marty McFly walks away the hero and Biff is left behind covered in horse s-, poop.
Kobe is no longer the best player in the NBA and he was drastically outplayed by Dirk in this series. The baton has been passed and the reign of terror is over.
In the end, someone stood up to the bully Lakers and at the first sign of resistance they backed down, cowered in the corner and took a few cheap shots.
They went out like cowards instead of losing with class and dignity.
Like the Wizards do every year.