Written By: Steven Almazan
The Los Angeles Lakers were down 0 – 3 in the series against the Dallas Mavericks before the start of Game 4, and they had a huge hole to dig themselves out of if they wanted to keep breathing. Unfortunately, the Mavericks were able to completely bury the Lakers for good in the sold-out crowd of the American Airlines Center. The deep blue sea of fans that surrounded the court Sunday afternoon tasted blood in the water, and the Mavs were able to attack aggressively the entire night.
The Lakers were expected by the NBA community to redeem their lackluster performance in the previous three meetings with some sort of historic and monumental effort, but all they could provide was disappointment in the hearts of Lakers fans across the nation. There was no fire in the eyes of the softhearted Pau Gasol who had struggled this entire postseason. There was no Sixth-Man award performance by Lamar Odom, or any type of contribution from the Laker bench. There was no MVP-like performance from the phenomenal Bryant, who may have experienced his last game under the guidance of the legendary Phil Jackson. There was no point in the game which made Lakers fans jump to their feet and believe that this could in fact still be a series.
Even though Kobe Bryant came out of the gates with a mission to bring his team from a huge deficit into a realistic series, his efforts were entirely overshadowed by the strong, collective performance of the Mavericks. Bryant had a strong start to the game scoring 12 points in the first quarter, but that was his only offensive burst as he began to slow down and rely on other players to step up. Unfortunately for Bryant and Coach Jackson, they could not find any answer to the pummeling that the Mavericks ensued.
The Mavericks and their stellar bench were remarkable the entire night, crushing the dreams of Jackson and Bryant of repeating a consecutive three-peat. They were able to spread out the entire floor with open jump shots from behind the arch and utilize their zone defense against the lost Lakers. The Lakers could not stop the great ball movement from the Mavs who continuously found open shooters and, most importantly, found the confidence to stare in the eyes of the champions.
Jason Terry rightfully stripped the Sixth-Man award from Lamar Odom, and made a case as the best bench contributor by having his own historic night with 9 for 10 on three-point attempts and a total of 32 points. As Terry attempted each 3-point shot, the fans expected the ball to reach the bottom of the net. The Jet flew across the court after each successful attempt and knew that he would be guiding the Mavs to their first Western Conference Finals since 2006.
Next: The End of a Dynasty?[phpbay]Lakers Jersey, 3, “”[/phpbay]