Archive for May 8th, 2011

By Scott Spangler

It looked like the Los Angeles Lakers, who on Sunday were swept 4-0 in their second round playoff series by the Dallas Mavericks, lost Games 3 and 4 in the last five minutes Friday night. It is obviously easy to say this now, but it was my feeling at the time.

Dirk Nowitzki

The Mavs were down eight midway through the fourth quarter in Game 3, and responded with a 20-7 run to close. When Dirk Nowitzki hit a lefty hook to give the Mavericks the lead for good, there was no mistaking the Lakers’ body language.

Only moments earlier, a must-win, yet could-win situation for the Lakers was in play. As they left the court of American Airlines Center, eyes cast down and shoulders slumped. The final minute of Game 3 robbed L.A. of any ambition that might have remained.

The Lakers played defense at a high level most of Game 3 - championship caliber defense, in fact. On Sunday during Game 4, it was gone. Maverick guards got in and out of the paint at will. Jason Terry was the beneficiary of a lot of it, as he nailed several open threes, but J.J Barea made his way in the painted area with ease. Even 38 year-old Jason Kidd got inside for kickout passes to open teammates.

Sunday was just the day Dallas shooters were really knocking them down. Of course, that will happen when the opponent isn’t giving much in the way of resistance.

jason terry

And once threes started falling for Jason Terry and Peja Stojakovic, L.A. packed it in. Andrew Bynum started short-arming everything, except J.J. Barea. Lamar Odom was thinking about a beach. Phil Jackson pondered life after coaching, but certainly not peyote.

Might the Mavericks have left the door open once shots stopped falling? Tough to say. Since shots kept going down, we will never know for sure. Dallas has been guilty of easing off the pedal before, and not just in Miami five years ago.

This is the club that led Portland 3-0 in 2003, only to see the series go seven games. And the Lakers are the one franchise that would seem capable of making that type of history. Until now, Dallas would seem the perfect victim.

But again, shots kept falling for the Mavs. The defense continued to smother Kobe Bryant and dared others to convert. No one stepped up and the Los Angeles Lakers went quietly, without much of a fight.

All due respect to the two-time defending world champions. This is a trophy kill for the little Mavericks, a team that many believed wouldn’t survive Portland. There’s much to be proud of for Mark Cuban and Dallas fans everywhere.

Still, the effort Sunday wasn’t what one would expect from a champion. Perhaps all Laker will had been sapped through three games. And maybe, Dallas just took it.

What’s your reaction? Discuss opinions with other fans in this forum topic.

The AP reports:

Mavs eliminate Lakers, sweep Phil Jackson to retirement

Jason Terry and the Dallas Mavericks ended Phil Jackson’s tenure, and the Lakers’ reign as two-time champions, with a 122-86 victory Sunday. After two tight finishes and another game that was relatively close, the Mavs turned this one into a rout in the second quarter.

With Terry leading the way, Dallas hit a barrage of 3-pointers to go ahead by 24 points at halftime. When he made 3s on consecutive possessions early in the third quarter, Los Angeles knew it wasn’t going to come back in this game or the series.

Things got ugly early in the fourth quarter, with vicious, frustration-fueled cheap shots by Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum getting them ejected 45 seconds apart. But at game’s end, Dallas coaches, players and team owner Mark Cuban lined up to bid farewell to the Zen Master…

Terry tied a playoff record with nine 3-pointers, and the club matched NBA postseason marks with 11 3s in the first half and 20 for the game. Dallas made 63 percent of its shots from behind the arc (20 of 32) and 60 percent of its field goals (44 of 73)…

Terry made 11 of 14 shots for 32 points. J.J. Barea set a career playoff-best with 22 points and Peja Stojakovic added 21 points. All three of those guys come off the bench…

Bryant finished 7 of 18 for 17 points. Shannon Brown was Los Angeles’ next-best scorer with 15. Pau Gasol’s lost postseason continued, too; he had 10 points and eight rebounds.

The AP reports:

Panathinaikos won the Euroleague basketball final Sunday, beating Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 78-70 behind 16 points and nine assists from Dimitris Diamantidis.

This was the sixth European title and third in five years for the Greek club. Italy’s Montepaschi Siena beat Real Madrid 80-62 for third place.

Former Arizona State center Mike Batiste, who also won the title with Panathinaikos in 2007 and ’09, scored 18 points and Drew Nicholas added 14. Maccabi’s Chuck Eidson had 17.

The Israelis were within three points at halftime, but their outside shooting faltered in the second half when it made just 1-of-9 from beyond the arc. Panathinaikos used a strong third quarter to build a double-digit lead, then withstood a late run from Maccabi…

Diamantidis, the regular-season MVP, was also the MVP of the Final Four. The only others to win Final Four MVP awards more than once are Toni Kukoc (four) and Dejan Bodiroga (two). Diamantidis won the championship for the third time with the Greens.

NBA fines Phil Jackson for comments on officiating

Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson has been fined $35,000 for public comments about the officiating, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

Jackson made his comments yesterday during the Lakers’ off day media availability.

The AP reports:

Montepaschi Siena beat Real Madrid 80-62 on Sunday to claim third place in the Euroleague Final Four.

With Madrid only three points behind, the Italian champions went on a 13-2 run to gain control for good in the third quarter.

Eleven players scored for Montepaschi, led by forward Ksistof Lavrinovic who had 17 points and four assists. David Moss added 11 points, while Bo McCalebb chipped in with 10 more.

The AP reports:

His left arm wrapped in a sleeve and dangling lifelessly by his side, Rajon Rondo broke for the basket and sailed past LeBron James for a layup.

The dislocated elbow and stiff back weren’t going to stop him.

Rondo returns and helps Celtics beat Heat 97-81 in Game 3

Rondo still had one good arm—and his legs.

The Celtics point guard had 11 assists in the game and a pair of one-armed baskets in the fourth quarter on Saturday night to lead Boston to a 97-81 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“He showed he’s a really tough young individual,” said Kevin Garnett, who had 28 points and 18 rebounds—more than he had in the first two games combined…

Paul Pierce scored 27 for the defending East champions, who managed to avoid a 3-0 hole that no NBA team has ever overcome. But they came out of it with injuries to both point guards: Coach Doc Rivers said Rondo’s future availability is in question, and Delonte West had his bruised left shoulder wrapped at the end of the game…

Dwyane Wade had 23 points and seven assists, and Joel Anthony continued to contribute off the bench, scoring 12 with 11 rebounds. Playing in the building where his Cleveland career came to an end, spurring his free agency defection to Miami, James scored 15 points as he and Wade combined to make just 14 of 35 shots from the floor…

Shaquille O’Neal returned for Boston and was not much of a factor. He scored two points, with zero rebounds, in 8:29 for his first action of the postseason.

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