Series Preview: Mavericks-Lakers
Position battle 2011.
by Ben Collins
Let’s do this the old-fashioned way; the only way we know how. Let’s break this down by position:
Position 1: General apathy seeking direction from generally apathetic coach.
Position 2: Consistent, open questioning of only authority figure.
There’s this clip of a Simpsons episode I think of a lot while watching the Mavericks. Lisa, who has been an eight-year-old environmentalist for about 15 years now, is concerned about keeping up the bee population. She turns to her dad, who has been a stubborn 40-year-old for about 20 years now, for support, anticipating help.
But, instead, Homer says this: “Oooh no! No bees? Now who will sting me and walk all over my sandwiches?”
Whenever a Maverick tries to figure out why they were shading off of Brandon Roy’s right side when he had hit four straight shots, or wonders why the only good player on the team gets three touches in the last six minutes of the fourth quarter—when one of these players truly needs help—there’s ol’ Rick Carlisle, wondering all sarcastically who will sting him now. And he’s saying this while he’s actually getting stung.
He lost his team months ago, but Dirk’s too talented to lose.
I’d rather have a bored Phil Jackson than a coach who is consistently getting the stinkeye from his players. Especially when his players are almost always right.
Position edge: Lakers
Position 3: Knowing you’re unstoppable if you get rolling, but have no idea how to begin rolling.
Position 4: “Hey! Everything’s going great! (Thirty seconds later.) Uh-oh. They’re going on a 6-0 run. Let’s just collapse into a pile of sadness.”
Look, if the Mavericks steal Game 1, this thing is going to be a series. And they might. The Lakers have a yacht-club caliber lack of urgency right now. Ron Artest played all of Game 6 with a white Polo sweater wrapped tightly around his waist. He only took it off because he wanted to give it to a needy child, because Ron Artest is the best citizen in the whole entire world.
But this is a double-edged sword. The Lakers will wake up at some point, and it will be driven by a catalyst. That catalyst might be the fact that they saw “Fast Five” this weekend and wanted to do the basketball equivalent of driving underneath a tractor trailer in a suped-up Nissan. Lakers fans should hope for that. But it might take a home loss or two for them to wake up.
Then, once they do, at the end of a third quarter in Game 2 or 3, the Mavericks will fold. That’s not a myth. It just might be too late for the Lakers to get it together by then.
Position edge: Push
Position 5: Andrew Bynum is longer than everybody on the Mavericks except for Brendan Haywood. Can Brendan Haywood really be on the court for 30-35 minutes a game in a seven-game series?
Position 6: Brendan Haywood: “No. No, I cannot.”
Position 7: The Mavericks might have somebody to guard Kobe, but not in crunchtime.
Position 8: Nobody really understands how clutch Dirk Nowitzki is.
Let’s get this out of the way: Anybody who thinks Pau Gasol is anywhere near Dirk Nowitzki’s level isn’t watching basketball. They’re those Stephen A. Smith sorts of people who have opinions first and thoughts later. These are the kind of people who end up on The View, sort of like Stephen A. Smith, trying desperately to agree with the blonde woman so they can touch her thigh, maybe take her out to get a drink sometime and nod politely when she talks about how the world is going to end on May 21st.
You’ll see it this series. Dirk is a freak. You’re going to watch his games on ESPN Classic 4 in 15 years on your Xbox1080 and you will be angry with yourself for investing all that time in trying to bed Elisabeth Hasselbeck. She was married to an NFL quarterback all that time. You should’ve known by the name.
You’ll realize that you haven’t seen a player like that since he retired. You’ll realize that he’s clutch but he just shuts the hell up about it, so you said stupid things like, “Pau Gasol is better than him because rings! Because rings!”
You’ll have no idea what you’re missing until he’s gone.
Kobe is transcendent. But you knew that.
Position edge: Mavericks
Position 9, the Classified Ad: Single, sexy, mature team seeking fling to reinvigorate; guidance in the future.
Position 10, the Classified Ad: Taken, fatally-flawed, mature team seeking several breaks; second option.
Oh, let’s be real here: Lakers in 6.