Playoffs, MLB action, playoffs, and more playoffs. The sporting world has been defined by playoff action the past couple of weeks and will continue to be for another couple of weeks. Here is a look into the main things that have been on my mind.
The Great Laker Wall has Crumbled
I will admit that I was utterly shocked by what I saw on Sunday. First of all heading into Game 4, I thought the Lakers still had a slim hope of not only making history and beating Dallas, but winning a championship. I guess I was blinded by the Laker hype. The flash of the purple and gold will get you sometimes. Other than a 17-1 run to start the 2nd half of the season, this team never really found its Championship Rhythm. They had a very good year, winning 57 games, but never really developed the consistency needed to bring home a title.
So I will admit I was very surprised to see the Lakers lose on Sunday. But lose by 36?! How could LA lose to anyone by 36 points? This was the 2-time defending champions. Well it happened. And I admit it was shocking to watch. But the most shocking part of this crazy Game 4 was how the Lakers acted in defeat. I do not think I can even remember a team demonstrating worse sportsmanship in defeat. The entire 4th quarter was scary to watch for the fans, the teams, and the players. Nobody knew what could possibly transpire.
Lamar Odom started the fire with a hard flagrant foul. Then Andrew Bynum took the cake for the bonehead play of the day with a blatant shot to little JJ Barea’s rib cage. Mind you Barea is only 6 feet tall. Why didn’t he at least act like he was going for the block before crushing the smallest man on the court? Nobody likes to lose. But the Lakers acted as if they were still in elementary school. The only difference was that they had the ability to physically hurt their opponents. At least one good thing occurred on this day. Ron Artest did not merk somebody in the face or seriously hurt somebody.
You think that Kobe Bryant likes to lose? He was probably the angriest person in the entire arena. But he is a champion, who acts like a champion at all times. So no matter how mad he was, he still demonstrated grace in defeat. The real question one has to ask themselves is can Phil Jackson really go out like this? Phil has been proclaimed the “greatest coach of all time” by many and the ultimate “player manager.” He sure did not demonstrate control of his players yesterday. I fully expect Phil to coach again. Probably not in LA though.
LA lost this series due to a few key factors.
-Number 1, they for some reason forgot how to defend against a high pick and roll. Basic fundamental defense.
-Number 2, their guard play outside of Kobe Bryant was utterly horrific. Despite not being able to get to the rim, Kobe still was able to put up his fair share of points and shoot a reasonable field goal percentage. Derek Fisher needs to retire and Steve Blake appears ready to take his talents to the NBDL.
-Number 3, Pau Gasol was terrible. I understand that he had girlfriend issues and some possible issues with Kobe Bryant going on. All issues aside, to win a title, all that should matter is the team and the current game. Pau lost focus. And for that, he may be looking at finding a new home this offseason.
-Number 4, Dallas played terrific in all facets of the game. They shot amazing from 3 point range the entire series. They executed a great offensive and defensive game plan during all 4 games. They earned their victories.
So what happens next?
-Every player on the Laker’s roster outside of Bryant and Bynum are pretty much fair game to be traded. A fire sale is on its way. I would not be surprised to see Artest end up in NYC. And/Or Gasol end up in Orlando in a blockbuster deal for Dwight Howard.
-I also cannot see Phil Jackson, the man who has three peated 3 times and repeated before to go out like this. 11 titles in 20 years. To go out with an ultra embarrassing 36 point loss. Give me a break. Do not be surprised to see Jackson patrolling the sidelines in New York or maybe even Miami within the next 2 years.
-Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant NBA Champions 2011/2012? It could happen.
Jeter Can Still Wear the Crown
Many people have been clamoring for New York’s favorite son, the man known as “The Captain” and “Mr. November,” to be either benched, or reduced to a much lesser role. After a horrendous start, Jeter has started to play ball again. Currently, the Yankee Captain is batting .276, with 2 HRs, and 9 RBIs. Mind you he went into Sunday with 0 round trippers. Jeter has hit safely in his last 6 games and appears to be regaining the swagger that has made him the ultimate winner in Major League Baseball.
Do not call for the unseating of the King just yet. In season 17, the man who has a career .309 postseason batting average and 11 All Star Game appearances seems to have a little gas left in the tank.
Just some “Food for Thought.”
Let me hear your thoughts though. Please comment below with any questions or insights that you may have or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.