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Category: Dallas Mavericks

Should Lakers fans root for the Miami Heat or the Dallas Mavericks?


Lakers fans are in quite an uncomfortable situation.

To root for Dallas or to root for Miami, that is the question.

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of cheering for a team that swept you, or to embrace a sea of trouble by siding with LeBron James.

Seriously, the options are dim.

James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh already ruined our Christmas, 96-80. And now they have a 50% chance of wearing those cute little championship caps that should have belonged to our boys in purple and gold. Not our summers too!

And the Mavericks, well, they made Pau Gasol look bad in the playoffs -- I hear "soft" has officially become a bad word in some school districts -- and they are the catalysts behind Magic Johnson saying that Jerry Buss needs "to blow this team up."

Wasn't Kaboom one of Shaq's nicknames at some point? We sure could've used the Big Fella during that series.

I digress. (Choosing another team really is that hard.)

Anyway, Game 5 is Thursday night.

Lakers fans: Which team will you root for?

-- Melissa Rohlin

 Photo: Lakers fans. Credit: Cary Edmondson / US Presswire

Oklahoma City and Lakers have similar problems with Mavericks

Photo: Dallas center Dirk Nowitzki, left, fights for position with Oklahoma City forward Serge Ibaka during the fourth quarter of the Mavericks' 121-112 victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals Tuesday. Credit: Jerome Miron / U.S. Presswire / May 17, 2011. No matter who guarded him, how closely his opponent contested the shot or how off-balance his jumpers became, nothing stopped Dirk Nowitzki from scoring.

No matter who guarded him, how hard his opponent tried to shut off the driving lane and how quickly the defense switched, nothing stopped J.J. Barea from driving to the rack.

And no matter who guarded him, how his opponent closed out on the perimeter and how long his shots from three-point range became, nothing stopped Jason Terry from firing from downtown as if he had the NBA Jam's "fireball."

It sounds like I'm simply rehashing the Lakers' problems when they fell in a four-game sweep to Dallas in the Western Conference semifinals. Yes and no. Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom surely felt overwhelmed and frustrated with Nowitzki's penchant to hit off-balance jumpers. No one put a stop to Barea's quickness other than Bynum's late cheap shot in Game 4 that earned him an ejection. And the Lakers' defense rarely closed out on Terry from three-point range. But the Thunder experienced the same problems in its 121-112 Game 1 loss Tuesday to the Dallas Mavericks as the Lakers did in all four games against the Mavs.

Nowitzki's 48-point effort features a playoff-record 24 consecutive free throws, making 10 of his first 11 shots and pulled off his acrobatic shooting despite six different players guarding him. Barea breezed past defenders with ease with a quick crossover and first step en route to 21 points. And the Mavericks' nine of 23 mark from three-point range may have paled in comparison to the 20 treys they made in Game 4, but it's clear that a 10-day layoff did nothing to quell their sharp shooting. 

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Andrew Bynum gets five-game suspension and $25,000 fine

Fabforum Lakers center Andrew Bynum was suspended by the NBA for the first five games next season and fined $25,000 for his flagrant foul on Dallas guard J.J. Barea on Sunday.

Bynum will forfeit $677,272 in salary. He apologized for the incident on Tuesday, saying it didn't reflect his upbringing or the Lakers' organization.

He also said he was relieved Barea wasn't seriously injured.

Bynum was ejected from the final game of the Lakers' season after delivering a forearm to Barea while the diminutive guard was in the air for a lay-up attempt.

 --Mike Bresnahan


Caught in the Web: Lakers begin their offseason

Exit interviews: Ron Artest emphasizes Lakers' recent success

Exit interviews: Shannon Brown says he hasn't decided if he'll exercise his player option

Photo: Andrew Bynum forearms J.J. area during Sunday's loss to the Mavericks. Credit: Tony Gutierrez, AP.

Caught in the Web: Reactions to Lakers' 122-86 Game 4 loss to Dallas Mavericks

61462290 Game stories

-- The Times' Mike Bresnahan details the carnage of the Lakers' 122-86 Game 4 loss Sunday to the Dallas Mavericks. Bresnahan also reports that the Lakers' main option to rebuild their roster entails trades because they don't have a first-round pick and can only sign a free agent using the midlevel exception.

-- The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding notes some admittedly embarrassed Lakers.

-- The Riverside Press Enterprise's Gregg Patton faults the Lakers for not trying in Game 4.

-- The Dallas Morning News' Eddie Sefko credits the Mavericks for staying humble and staying hungry. 

-- The Daily News' Elliott Teaford faults the Lakers' inability to defend Dallas' three-point shooting.


-- The Times' Broderick Turner details Jackson's post-game conversation with Bryant where both agreed it's better they lost now instead of in the NBA Finals.

-- The Times' Melissa Rohlin profiles Laker girl Katie Reynolds.

-- The Times' Jerry Crowe features former Laker Mark Landsberger.

-- Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick reports the Lakers will likely keep most of their roster intact.

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Lakers vs. Mavericks Game 4: Dallas sweeps Lakers out of playoffs with 122-86 win

Lakers1_510 Mavericks 122, Lakers 86 (final)

In a game not befitting the long and successful career of Coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers were embarrassed by the Dallas Mavericks, 122-86, and swept out of the Western Conference semifinals, four game to none.

It wasn’t that the Lakers played poorly -- although credit the Mavericks with an unbelievable three-point shooting game -- it was the total lack of class they showed down the stretch. Both Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum were ejected for cheap shots in separate incidents in the fourth quarter.

The game was essentially over at halftime, although the Lakers were able to cut their deficit to 19 points in the third quarter. The Mavericks outscored the Lakers, 36-16, in the second quarter.

But, in the end, the Mavericks were unbelievable in shooting threes. They were 20 of 32 with Jason Terry making nine of 10. Both tied playoff records. And Terry isn’t even a starter.

With four minutes to play, both coaches were playing reserves. Of course, in the Mavericks' case, it was the second-teamers who won the game. They outscored the Lakers bench, 85-37. In fact, the Mavericks reserves outscored the starters.

Terry was the game’s leading scorer with 32 points. Jose Barea had 22 points and Peja Stojakovic added 21. None of the three are starters.

The Lakers were led by Kobe Bryant with 17 points. Shannon Brown added 15.

It was a most unmemorable finish to Jackson’s career, since he has stated he is retiring after this season.

It seemed as if the Lakers retired even before the end of this game.


Lakers-Mavericks Game 4 box score

Lakers-Mavericks Game 4 photo gallery

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Lakers Chat: Lakers vs. Mavericks Game 4

Lkwi3cnc Will the Lakers extend their 2010-2011 season? Join the chat box below the jump!

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Caught in the Web: Lakers prepare for Game 4 against Dallas Mavericks

Photo: Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd forces a jump ball with Lakers forward Lamar Odom during Game 3 on Friday night in Dallas. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times  --The Times' Mike Bresnahan says the Lakers' struggles against Dallas has a similar feel to 2004 when the Lakers lost to the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals and then made significant roster changes.

--The Times' Broderick Turner explains how the Lakers are preparing for the difficult task in overcoming a 0-3 deficit to the Dallas Mavericks.

--The Times' Mark Heisler notes that the Lakers and Celtics are on the decline for similar reasons.'s J.A. Adande looks at the end of the partnership of Jackson and Kobe Bryant.

--Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick details how Pau Gasol's handling the criticism for his poor postseason play.'s Ken Berger looks at the possibility of the Lakers getting Dwight Howard in the offseason. 

--The Daily News' Vincent Bonsignore says an 0-3 deficit will be too hard for the Lakers to overcome.

--ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher argues the Lakers need to make plenty of changes during the offseason. 

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4 things the Lakers need in Game 4 against Dallas

Photo: Lakers Coach Phil Jackson shares some thoughts with Kobe Bryant during a timeout in Game 3 in Dallas, May 6, 2011. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times 1. Play with composure. The Lakers' 98-92 Game 3 loss Friday to Dallas had some vivid images -- Phil Jackson thumbing at Pau Gasol, yelling at Gasol and Andrew Bynum and the players arguing back. Yes, Jackson deviated from his calm approach; the Lakers' season likely hinged on the outcome of Friday's game -- no NBA team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit. Still, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant expressed incredible optimism, telling reporters, "I might be sick in the head or crazy, but I still think we're going to win the series." Plenty of fans and members of the media, including yours truly, doubt that will happen. Winning four consecutive games against a quality playoff team is a daunting task, and the Lakers' have some deeply rooted issues not so easily or quickly overcome. Still, they have to take each game as it comes. And it's essential that they play with composure.

No doubt, the Lakers will be tested with a loud crowd at American Airlines Arena and obstacles to overcome including defending Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki. Still, the Lakers can't be overcome by anxiety -- not something you think would be a danger for a two-time defending championship team laden with veteran players. But this team has shown fragility. Pau Gasol's sudden disappearance, Andrew Bynum's revelation of the team's "trust issues" and Ron Artest's one-game suspension in Game 3 because of a clothesline in Game 2 on Dallas guard J.J. Barea all reflect examples of the Lakers' lost composure. Letting that happen again in Game 4 would  be, to understate it, counterproductive.

2. Trust one another on defense. Bynum's contention that the Lakers had "trust issues" must have referred to their lapses in Game 2, when players, including himself, rarely helped on rotations out of frustration, having received little help on previous plays. The same scenario played out in Game 3, when Nowitzki scored 32 points on 12-of-19 shooting and the Mavericks went 12-of-29 (41.4%) from three-point range. The loss in rotation usually happened on the second switch, reflecting the Lakers' inconsistent recognition and the team's failure to communicate properly on defense. Artest's appearance in Game 4 should help alleviate that problem because he's the team's best perimeter defender, and the Lakers won't be exposed as much with their "Triple Tower" lineup on transition defense. But it's more important that the Lakers communicate.

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Lakers Chat: Examining the Lakers' issues

Lots of stuff to discuss, vent and argue about regarding the Lakers. The chat box will be alive and active throughout the Heat-Celtics game. Join below the jump

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Should Lamar Odom keep his starting spot in Game 4?

Photo: Lakers Lamar Odom is forced into a jump ball by Maveicks Jason Kidd in Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference semi-finals in Dallas Friday. Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times The move always proved wishful thinking among fans and even Lamar Odom himself.

The idea of featuring Odom, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum on the floor at the same time conjured up images of a triple-tower lineup powering over opponents, proving impossible to stop and providing an endless array of hook shots, slam dunks and post up moves. Fans e-mailed Lakers media members as soon as the Lakers acquired Gasol in Feb. 2008 and Odom even shared his wish to General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Coach Phil Jackson during his exit interview following the 2010 NBA championship.

"Just our team and when I think about the triangle offense, I think about size and I think about ball-handling," Odom said at the time. "I think about us posting up and using the ability to post up to slow teams down. Our defense is predicated on our offense; I feel like we could help this team if we go toward a big lineup. It could be one of the lineups we go to to slow the game down and make the game more methodical."

The Lakers fielded that lineup in the Lakers' 98-92 Game 3 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the wake of Ron Artest's one-game suspension over clotheslining Mavericks guard J.J. Barea in the final seconds of Game 2. But with Artest back in the fold for what could be the Lakers' final game of the season, should they go back to normal or perhaps keep the same combination?

Below the jump, I'll size up each scenario and then give my take

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