The trolls were out in force after the Lakers Wednesday night defeat, Bill Simmons crowed on twitter about the demise of his least favorite franchise, going so far as to proclaim J.J. Barea a national hero. On TNT Charles Barkley was smug and self satisfied in having predicted the Mavericks would win the series (not over yet, Chuck). On message boards and forums all over the world, hate filled speech and crude diatribes were the order of the day.
I know, I know. The general consensus is doom and gloom. But let me clue you in here. This series is far from over. Yes, Friday’s game 3 is a must win. But not just for the Lakers but for the Dallas Mavericks as well.
For the Lake Show the pressure is obvious. Staring at an 0-2 hole with only a pair of home games left in the series, Los Angeles would be hoping to achieve something only three other teams have accomplished (come back to win a seven game series after dropping first two at home).
Hanging in the balance is the legacy of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and this current incarnation of the Lakers. Will they be remembered as solid back to back champions or will they join the pantheon of all time great dynasties.
Will they rise to the occasion once more or simply fade away into the annals of history, bested by a very good but highly unspectacular Dallas bunch? We’ll find out soon enough.
Facing the Mavericks is a different dilemma. At this moment they have all the momentum and confidence in the world. In fact they might even feel a little bewildered that they came out of L.A. having won both games, “If you would have told me we were going to win both games, it would have been hard to believe,” Dirk Nowitkzi said afterwards. Yeah, you and me both Dirk.
But here’s the thing, the Mavericks aren’t exactly synonymous with mental toughness and fortitude. And why sticking it to the champs twice in a row on their home turf certainly buys the Mavs cred, I still can foresee a scenario where that confidence begins to evaporate.
Imagine Dallas loses Game 3. The Lakers demonstrate they too have the ability to win on the road, quid quo pro. Suddenly a potential Game 4 evener becomes a super heated pressure cooker. Perhaps the sleeping giant has been awakened. Perhaps the Lakers find their groove and Dallas begins to stumble.
Of course going down 0-3 would be a death sentence. Lakers fans would spend the rest of the series waiting in horror for the proverbial plug to be pulled.
We know the Lakers are talented enough. We’ve seen glimpses of the greatness within them poke out at various points in the season. And yet now when their best is truly needed we have yet to witness a revelation of their true character. Or perhaps we have.
Are they capable of making the comeback? Of course. But will they? Well that’s we will all be watching.
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