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As painful as it gets

The defending champions were swept from the Western Conference semifinals by the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday. 

On Sunday afternoon the Dallas Mavericks received the Los Angeles Lakers for game four of the Western Conference semifinals at the American Airlines Center. With a 3-0 lead Dallas had the chance of sweeping away the defending champions and securing a NBA Playoffs Conference Finals berth, to be disputed against the winner of the series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies.

Aware that allowing the Lakers to react could make them go through much more trouble that if they ended the series as soon as possible, Dallas didn’t want to take the chance of playing game five against the defending champions and resoundingly defeated them by 122-86.

A humiliating 36 point deficit ended with the dreams of the defending champions of winning their third title in a row, which consequently represented the end of a cycle since it was coach Phil Jackson’s last season in charge of Los Angeles.

Far from their level this was the only way that things could have ended for them. Against the New Orleans Hornets they showed signs of no longer being that strong team that could always overcome any adversity. Despite finding themselves down by two and coming from behind to win the series 4-2 their problems were evident. Key players were not performing according to the needs of the team, and the bench didn’t offer reliable solutions.  If it wasn’t for the Hornets lack of experience in this type of games -Playoffs- the Lakers would have fallen eliminated in first round.

Experience was something that the Dallas Mavericks did have, therefore controlling a 2-0 lead was something that they were prepared to do, unlike the Hornets.

If there was a lesson that they learned pretty well during their first and only NBA Finals, disputed in 2006 against the Miami Heat (lost 2-4), is that when you are ahead by two, you better don’t let your rival recover, for the boost that coming from behind gives could end up being lethal.

With 20 three-pointers Dallas decided to finish the business with a weakening Los Angeles. Like during all the Playoffs only Kobe Bryant stood up for the team, but winning the series on his own was simply impossible. Dallas depth as a team was just too much for a single Laker to handle.

With a great game from Puerto Rican J.J. Barea, that raised himself as the top scorer of the game with 22 points, followed by Peja Stojakovic with 21 and their franchise player German Dirk Nowitski with 17 points the Mavs made things happened against the defending champions and exposed all of their deficiencies.

Frustrated and without answers the Lakers began to lose their heads, and ended up with Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum ejected. Both of them showed a lack of sportsmanship by committing useless fouls that did nothing but sink the ship even more.

It was a sad way to end with Coach Jackson’s career, but not every story has a happy ending. Maybe Dallas’ story will by winning their first championship ring in franchise history, but it’s too soon to start talking about it when the Conference Finals haven’t started yet. 

When it comes to sports, Andrew Hill is more than just a passionate fan. Despite being in the early years of his career as a journalist, which began in 2006, he has proven that he can translate that passion into truthful and objective information of interest for the sports betting industry. As of today he specializes in the coverage of European soccer and NBA and NCAA basketball for BetIAS‘ website.

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