And now for something completely trivial in the big picture of things.¬† (Remember when another Lakers NBA threepeat seemed like an incredibly big deal?¬† Okay, so it still matters – it just matters about infinity times less than far more consequential matters.)
That having been said, it’s time to climb back on the Los Angeles Lakers rollercoaster – here we go again!¬† Four days after they got done giving the New Orleans Hornets far more hope than they deserved to have, please welcome this round’s special irritating guests: the Dallas Mavericks!
Longtime Laker fans will remember the last time the teams met in the playoffs: in the middle of the Lakers’ epic 1988 repeat (no NBA team had repeated in a couple decades), in which the Showtime Lakers won the last of their five rings, going seven games in their last three playoff series, against Utah, Dallas, and Detroit.
Meanwhile back in a new & improved, now-Osamaless 2011, we spent a huge chunk of March and April stressing over whether the Lakers would have homecourt advantage against the team owned by the NBA’s resident douche, Mark Cuban*.¬† Now that we’re here, we have no idea why we were so flipped out about it.¬† There’s no way this series goes six games, much less seven.
*Note: if Mr. Cuban would be so kind as to purchase the Dodgers and spend as freely on them as he does on the Mavs, we would be pleased to retract all insulting statements we have ever made about him and undertake to repeat no such invective in the future.¬† (Y’know, Cubester, Andre Ethier is en fuego right now – get him while he’s still available!)
We know.¬† We know.¬† We just set ourselves up for a huge downfall when the series goes six or seven games, but the Lakers won’t blow off another series this time.¬† Right?
The Lakers took two of three from the Mavs during the regular season, losing the first meeting in January despite shooting 54% from the floor.¬† Letting Dallas hit 46% from three had something to do with that.¬† (Sound anything like a series that just wrapped?)¬† The last two went to a red-hot Lakers team in March, a close one in Dallas and a blowout at Staples.¬† Both of those games featured the Lakers absolutely locking down on D.¬† (Sound anything like the four games you enjoyed watching in a series that just wrapped?)
One reason we feel good about this one is the matchups.¬† Unlike New Orleans and, say, Oklahoma City, the Mavs are not a team that uses speed at the point to take advantage of the Lakers most glaring weakness.¬† Join us this week to watch the sun continue to set on Jason Kidd’s remarkable career.¬† (At this point, it’s appropriate to thank former General Manager Kobe Bryant for not trading ‘Drew Bynum for Kidd three years ago.¬† Kobe will presumably reward our thanks by locking down on Kidd when necessary – he’s exactly the kind of defender who matches up well with Kidd.)
The Mavs have been dominating people in the middle behind the defense of Tyson Chandler.¬† Young ‘Drew will effectively neutralize that act, particularly if he keeps hitting those step-out jumpers he was dropping on New Orleans.¬† (Again, besides Kobe, is anyone manning up at anywhere the rate Andrew is this post-season?)
Then, there’s the verbal jabbing between Phil Jackson and Cuban.¬† Most of their little squabbles involve attempts to work the referees before a key game.¬† The last, rather amusing round involved Cuban referring to Zenmaster as Jeanie Buss’ “boy toy”.¬† By the way, Phil: as long as you’re retiring when the playoffs are done, if Jeanie needs a new boy-toy, everyone here at 96-7 KCAL Rocks with a Y chromosome would like to interview for the job.
That leaves three other Mavs to worry about: Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion & Jason Terry.¬†¬† Nowitzki is The Man, but he’s not that much better than Pau.¬† Marion is well into the downside of his career, and Ron Ron will make him a non-factor. Terry is still a big factor, but he’s the kind of small guard that Fish can slow down.
There’s a reason why the Lakers have pwned the Mavs for their entire existence, and if they’re into it, the Forum Blue & Gold match up with Dallas way too well not to earn a quick, convincing series win.
Of course, that’s a big if.