Game 4 of the Lakers vs Mavericks series provided little actual drama. By the second quarter, the results were obvious, as Dallas was destined to put an exclamation point on a lopsided series. However, while Game 4 hardly came down to the wire, much like the entire series, it may be one of the most historic 122-86 blowouts in NBA history, as reported by the Associated Press.
Not only was it likely Phil Jackson’s last game, it was the likely end of the current Los Angeles dynasty — and both runs ended in the ugliest fashion imaginable. But while Jackson will still be hailed as the most accomplished coach of all time, the Lakers will have a harder time brushing this ending aside.
Los Angeles not only fell completely apart in this series, it did so to the point where the entire team — other than Kobe Bryant — may need to be torn apart next season. Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum didn’t make good cases for their future at the end, as they were both ejected with cheap, frustration-laden flagrant fouls in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Pau Gasol completed his disappearing act, and Bryant had nothing left after the Mavericks built a 25-point halftime lead.
The best hope for Los Angeles to rebuild its dynasty is through free agency and landing big potential pickups like Dwight Howard or Chris Paul. The current team as it is doesn’t seem capable of winning it all anymore, so, with that in mind, and with Jackson on his way out, no one knows what the Lakers will look like next season.
But given how Game 4 ended, and how the entire series went, Los Angeles didn’t make itself look like a prosperous destination. The Orlando Sentinel’s George Diaz outright questioned why Howard would want to join the “classless, cheap-shot Lakers,” who forfeited much of their championship reputation in more ways than one this week.
As long as Bryant is still around, the team will still be in the hunt for a title, although he is now entering the third act of his career. Even if he gets new help, the rest of the West is now closing the gap, with the Mavericks finally on the verge of breaking through and the Thunder and Grizzlies now rising to power. For that matter, the Bulls and Heat may soon rule the NBA from back East anyway.
No matter what, it is hard to see Los Angeles sinking any lower than it did in Game 4, so that might count for something. Yet even if the series was just an aberration, and the now-former champions pull it together for another run, L.A. can no longer just cruise to championships anymore. That invincibility ended long before Sunday night, and was killed several times over in Dallas this weekend.
Yahoo Sports- “Jackson leaving on low note as Lakers swept away”
Orlando Sentinel- “Why would Dwight Howard want to join classless, cheap-shot Lakers”