Two words come to mind after the Lakers were swept by the Mavericks in the 2011 Western Conference semifinal series: heartless and classless.
The Lakers, the two-time defending champions and the model franchise for the past three decades in the NBA, did not display the heart of champion nor the poise of a champion in Game 4 at Dallas. The Mavericks eliminated the Lakers in spectacular fashion, dropping seemingly endless 3-pointers in a 122-86 win, ending the Lakers’ reign and sending Phil Jackson into early retirement.
What compounded the embarrassment was the way the Lakers reacted in the fourth quarter. With the game out of reach and with just nine minutes to play, Lakers forward Lamar Odom gave Mavs All-Star Dirk Nowitzki a hard shoulder check 23 feet from the basket. Odom’s flagrant foul resulted an ejection.
But that wasn’t enough. Moments later, Lakers center Andrew Bynum joined Odom in the locker room after he intentionally threw an elbow to the ribs of J.J. Barea as Barea drove to the basket, sending the Mavs guard to the floor hard. It was a dangerous move that could have ended Barea’s season. Mike Tirico called it “bushleague,” and Hubie Brown, one of the most respected men in the game, said “amen” to Tirico’s claim. It was a despicable act by a player who totally lost his cool and didn’t know how to accept defeat. It’s a loser’s mentality.
The cheap shots did not sit well with the Maverick, as well Laker legend Magic Johnson. Johnson said, “In Game 4, the Los Angeles Lakers embarrassed the organization by getting blown out by the Dallas Mavericks. Classless acts on physical and hard fouls by Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum. That should have never happened. You have to show class when you win, and you have to show class when you lose. And the Lakers did not show class in Game 4.”
Two games prior to Game 4, Ron Artest delivered a forearm shot to Barea’s head during the final moments of a Laker loss at Staples Center. It resulted in a one-game suspension for Artest, as he had to sit out Game 3.
Those three incidents have no place in basketball. Magic is completely right in saying that the Lakers were classless in defeat, which is a shame because it showed poor sportsmanship from all three players involved. There’s a different between hard fouls in the heat of the moment during a series when the games are still within reach, and cheap shots. Those were clearly cheap shots. There are unacceptable and it shows the true character of a person. It’s easy to ride the wave of emotion when things are going well, but it’s hard to swallow a bitter defeat. However, losing doesn’t give anyone the green light to start get violent against the competition.
Odom said he did what he did because he was embarrassed. Bynum said he wasn’t disappointed in himself for nearly sending Barea to the hospital. Well, if Bynum is not disappointed in himself then it is extremely disappointing to hear his response.
That really was classless, Odom was bad enough, but Bynum was even worse, especially his comment he didn’t care. The way he took his shirt off, total punk. He should get a big fine and big suspension for next year.
Appropriate fines and penalties:
Odom – 10 game suspension (without pay) + 10% of 2010 – 2011 total contract value
Bynum – 20 game suspension (without pay) + 15% of 2010 – 2011 total contract value
Phil Jackson – $750,000
L.A. Lakers – $3,000,000 plus first round draft choice in upcoming draft
Why Jackson and why the Lakers penalties? Bynum is a low life and should be out of basketball. At the least a half year w/o pay and dropped from the lakers. Odum out 25% of year w/o pay.
Most classless collective team that I’ve ever seen. I have been watching NBA ball since I was 7 in 1956. I had an older brother who was three years older than I and was precocious in NBA “wisdom” due to him. Our family hands it down as at age 21 my younger brother who was 7 then told me the Knicks would beat the Lakers in the 1970 finals.I bring this up because I’ve seen a lot of NBA ball in 56 years. By the way, in that series most remember that Reed was injured, hero etc. People conveniently forget that Wilt suffered a career threatening knee injury that sidelined him after 9 games and he came back with 3 regular season games left. His lateral mobility was ruined for the playoffs and the Knicks were favored due to their Hall of Famers and Reed’s obvious advantage over Wilt due to this.
Now to the ruthless Lakers. What is a 7′ nearly 300 pound player , Bynum, doing throwing a rib shot to a 5’8″ (not 5’10 or 6′ player like he is listed.)Tim Legler even said that Barea is 5’8″ and I’ve seen him at a Dallas game and I’m between 5’9-5’10 – I am taller than Barea.
This goes beyond being a bully and into the category of assault. I was hoping that he’d get at least a 10 game suspension for the upcoming season and when I suggested this to a friend ( I am from the east coast – Washington DC originally – my friend (from Philly )he suggested that this is too harsh. Turns out, Bynum is only suspended for 5 games but I think that the difference in size and blatant (he obviously tried to injure Barea) nature of the foul 10 games is light. Bynum will forever be on my hate list – he is a worthless piece of sh*t and it would be poetic justice if he got injured. Christ, Bynum has spent the majority of his career on the injured list. He knows the pain and suffering that accompany injury as well as does Greg Oden. I never wish ill will on a player but due to his cowardice I make exception and would like to see him tear up an ACL , or anything to make him repentant for his culpability on this play.
Odom tried to get Dirk to stoop to his level but the best European player that I ever saw – maybe the best clutch shooter since 2000, certainly the best shooting big man over 6’10” ever, refused to bite. If he did retaliate obviously the chance of both players being ejected was a strong possibility. The German knew his leaving the game along with Odom was a far cry from being an equal split.
You might have noticed that Pau Gasol and Kobe had no part of this. When the Lakers win Kobe gets his fair share of the glory and when they lose he gets his fair share of the blame. He seems to take the latter with dignity.
Perhaps, because Kobe grew uo in Italy and Gasol in Spain – they don’t have the typical ghetto gangster mentality. Although I’m neither a Gasol nor Kobe fan , I must take my hats off to them and the way they handled an such unexpected blowout.
On the other hand the other “punk gangsta wannabes” have tarnished their reputations forever. They made a mockery of Phil Jackson’s rep as the great communicator , motivator and zen master as he seemed to be unable to control his team which is little more than a ship of fools. Perhaps Ron Artest should be given a bit nore leniency as far as being classless as he is as troubled and stupid as Terrell Owens. He has been in need of a labotomy for years now !