Bryant needed a heroic three-point shot to send the Lakers’ last game of the regular season against the Sacramento Kings into overtime. It was a game that would end up making a difference in the standings. As it turns out, there was a bigger disparity between the second and third seeds in the west. Dallas was certainly the better team in this series against the Lakers and their complete shellacking of the two-time defending champs definitely merits them an ample amount of credibility.
But what of the Lakers credibility heading into an off-season of potential changes to their once potent lineup?
To say that Gasol had his worst career playoffs is at best, an understatement. Derek Fisher is a low-impact player who seems to always deliver the timely high-impact shots, but that momentum swinging shot never came. In what was his most consistent year in a Lakers uniform and resulted in a Sixth-Man of the Year Award, Odom could do little to spark any chemistry and cohesion with his bench-mates. On paper the signings of Matt Barnes and Steve Blake were said to be sure-fire hits off the bench, but in practice they never really lived up to the hype when it mattered. Ron Artest has come a long way from the player everyone thought he was going to be when he joined the Lakers in 2009 and in Game 2, a cheap shot in garbage time no less, made some revert back to the same antics that he’s tried so hard to detach himself from.
Everyone watched and faded into the background as Bryant went to work, but players don’t get paid to be spectators. Bryant took over, he facilitated and did a combination of both—nothing seemed to work. He missed a last-second shot in Game 1 that ultimately could’ve played to the psyche of both teams, but that’s in the past, the Lakers couldn’t or wouldn’t live in the present and now they must look onto the future.
Next: What’s in store for the Lakers?
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