Tag Archives: Kobe Bryant

Dallas Mavericks advance to the next round of the NBA Playoffs. Image Provided by MEMPHISOS from Flickr.com

Defending Champion Lakers Are Swept By Mavericks’ Jason Terry

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.

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers.  Image provided by MEMPHISOS on Flickr.comNow, 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?  Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks had 17 points Sunday.  Image Provided by Outside the NBA on Flickr.com

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.

Let us know what you think and your predictions of the remaining NBA Postseason on Facebook or Twitter.

Top 5 Buzzer Beaters NBA Season

Top 5 NBA Buzzer Beaters Of The Season

5. Derek Fisher

A professional by all definitions of the term, Derek Fisher has seen, heard and experienced everything that defines the NBA.  Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Fisher was selected 24th in the 1996 draft — just behind legend and partner in crime Kobe Bryant.  Five Championships and nearly 200 playoff appearances later, he continues to dominate the court alongside Kobe on the Lakers and is loved by anyone who calls themselves a Laker fan.

Popular on SportsCenter highlight reels, statistical records and maintaining an all-around work ethic for over 14 years of professional play, it’s no surprise that this season would be any different — and this buzzer beater against the Clipper earlier in the season proves why.

4. Manu Ginobli

Manu Ginobli was taken late in the second round of the 1999 NBA draft to the San Antonio Spurs and is a veteran to the sport.  Alongside teammates Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, Manu has shown the sports world his ability to not just make 3-pointers but drain them when the seconds on the clock matter the most.

After his years in the Argentinian League in the mid 1990’s, he has come to be loved by Spurs fans and a staple to Gregg Popovich’s game plan.  At his peak, the Spurs have had significant runs at the title, establishing their own dynasty of winning in the mid 2000’s. Manu has always hit necessary 3-pointers — and this night was no different.

3. Derrick Rose

Chicago native Derrick Rose emerged as the No. 1 draft pick from Memphis in 2008 and an-all star college player, Rose has done nothing short of the same in the NBA, putting up staggering statistics and composing himself at a championship level. His skills hardly go unrecognized by basketball enthusiasts, and his December 4th tying buzzer-beater showcases this very talent.

Within his rookie year, he took the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals (scoring an astounding 36 points against the Boston Celtics), earning the Rookie of the Year award.  With skill, Derrick Rose is giving the Windy City its first glimmer of hope since Jordan.

2. Kevin Durant

A freak of NBA nature, Kevin Durant is no joke. The shooting guard out of Texas was selected second overall in the 2007 draft by the Seattle Supersonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder), and he exploded onto the scene as a rookie, quickly earning the leagues points leader.

Earning Rookie of the Year in 2008, All-NBA First Team in 2010 and selected to be on the All-Star team in 2010, Durant has earned the reputation of being a legend. This season alone he’s shown not just his ability to play at an amazingly high level of competition but lead his team to victory.

1. Tyreke Evans

Selected 4th overall in the 2009 NBA draft from Memphis, Tyreke Evans leads the Sacramento Kings this season in points per game and brought entertainment to a dismal record. A season that started off bad and has gotten worse for Sacramento, Evans gives the fans a work ethic and entertainment that makes ticket prices less of a sacrifice. Responding to a shot by O.J. Mayo, Evans launches a half-court shot with just under two seconds left in the game to tie it — and his is what happened.

What do you think of our list?  Which moments did you think were the best?
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Phoenix Suns will try and make a playoff appearance, without Amare

Suns Look Forward To An ‘Amare’-less Postseason

Amare was a diva – there’s no questioning that.

Amare Stoudemire from a home game on the Phoenix Suns, December 21, 2008

Amare’s exit from Arizona to the Big Apple created a firestorm of excitement last year that has soared expectations. Madison Square Garden has been rejuvenated, and likewise, thousands of “anti-Amare” feelings flooded Facebook posts from Phoenix at the same time.

It’s given life back to New York City basketball, the likes of which it hasn’t seen a since Patrick Ewing and their 50 – 32 season in 2000.  Since then, Spike Lee and those who adorn blue-and-orange jerseys have had years of frustration to say the least.

The 2010 – 2011 season has been rough at times, and even close wins against teams like the New Jersey Nets (17 – 43) February 28th 104 – 103 has generated mixed emotions.  Nash and team drove just a few hundred miles northeast to Boston the following night to revisit their once center in Shaquille O’Neal, but ended their stream , falling 115 – 103, and remaining double digit games behind division leader San Antonio Spurs..  The Celtics, and similar west coast rivals Los Angeles Lakers, posses nearly all the intangibles the Suns don’t — an experienced and ferocious center, a dangerously passionate audience and slew of post-season victory banners. But it’s never worried the Suns before.

Grant Hill’s recent 34-point game and Chaning Frye’s two recent buzzer beaters have sparked youth into an older team and given them life.  It’s given needed momentum to a team that, historically, struggles in post-season play and breaks down in the minutes that matter.

Although they’ve had runs this season and gelled well together in spite of Nash’s pick-n-roll partner, extended survival in the playoffs will most likely evade them for 2011.  They may enter the first round and struggle, but they will most likely realize that Nash’s signature offense requires mind-reading ability — one that took Amare years to perfect.

In times of sudden-death contests against post season legends Lakers and Spurs, good players like Hill and Frye must exhibit statistical greatness.

Western Conference Finals - Suns at Lakers - Game 2 on May 19

Current West Coast rivals, Los Angeles Lakers, aren’t at their championship caliber performance, but that’s nothing new.  For a team pelted with scrutiny of inconsistency, the 2010 NBA Champs may not be in first in the West, but they know the science behind winning championships.  As much there is an expectation of winning the Southern California, there’s also an expectation of meeting the Suns in Phoenix.

Even if they make it past the first round, they’ll meet Kobe come mid-April, as they infamously have for what seems like a million times in the past decade.  Lakers vs. Suns and Nash vs. Kobe has long been a staple in NBA post-season play, and for Phoenix fans, it will hopefully continue this April.

My question is — was it really Nash vs. Kobe or was it Nash/Amare vs. Kobe?  We’ll see in six weeks.