They lost, and they lost bad.
For the first time since 1999, the Lakers were swept in the playoffs on Sunday, dismantling any hopes of a three peat. Down 3-0 in the series, going into Sunday’s game, the Los Angeles Lakers had been playing anything but spectacular this post season. Their only hope stemmed from a statement made by Kobe Bryant in a press conference after Friday’s loss saying that he believed they could come back.
Now, coming back from a 3-0 deficit is not just difficult, it’s near impossible. No team in the history of the NBA has ever rallied back from a 3-0 record in the post season.
Winning all four games by an average of 14 points, the Dallas Mavericks fired on all cylinders for all 48 minutes of those four games, creating a points-scoring machine that the Lakers fell far from stopping.
On Sunday, the sliver of hope that Laker fans had entering the arena was all but nonexistent as the Mavs came out swinging. With 20 three pointers, 9 of which coming from Jason Terry alone, game four provided Laker fans a strikingly similar experience to the 2008 blowout loss to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals — a frustrating series where they were out-scored, out-hustled and out-played in nearly all aspects.
As the clock inched closer to zero, those at the Lakers bench and fans sprinkled throughout the sea of white and blue Maverick fans at the American Airlines Arena looked angry. Both Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum would be ejected off cheap shots later in the game, and Phil Jackson looked as if he had checked out early in the third quarter.
However, as much as Lakers fans will hate Dallas, the Mavericks played like a championship team. The Lakers did not. Dirk Nowitzki, who was a vital figure in the previous three wins, was merely a spectator in the game, however, not in a bad way.
His service was called upon on a need basis, as the Jason Terry and JJ Barea carried the team to victory, scoring a collective 52 points off the bench.
So what now?
Phil Jackson will be gone next year, and the hopes of a successful final season as coach in the history books will be one skipped over by future Lakers fans. Lakers Nation isn’t used to watching teams like Memphis or Chicago dominate the spotlight of NBA Live or talks about future seasons without their zen master in Phil Jackson.
But what does the future hold for L.A.?
Brian Shaw, former Lakers and now assistant coach, is the rumored front runner to replace Phil. What will happen to Artest? Trades? Management issues? Team chemistry? These are all questions teams face as the summer months roll around, but for Lakers Nation, its one that they’re used to facing in June, holding a trophy and smiling on the front page of the L.A. Times. But not this year. Not this time.