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MAVSWIN
03-27-2003, 04:57 PM
Lakers dynasty will come to end this season
http://www.msnbc.com/news/891466.asp

Lakers dynasty will come to end this season


Role players arent doing enough to help Kobe, Shaq get past Kings

March 27 ? Even though the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Houston Rockets 96-93 on Wednesday night, the beginning of the end has come for this so-called Lakers dynasty.
BEFORE THE SEASON BEGAN, I wrote that the Sacramento Kings would win their first NBA title this season. I do not think that I deserve an award for that prediction because the Kings have done everything possible to improve their roster and try to take down their archrivals. Kings owner Joe Maloof came on my talk show earlier in the week and said Shaq was panicking, and he also said Sacramento would take down Los Angeles this season in the playoffs if they play in the first round.
Through Wednesday's games, the Kings would face the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs, and both teams would be desperate to get to the second round. Believe it or not, Sacramento would have more pressure to advance. If the Kings are eliminated in the first round by the Lakers, it could destroy everything that the Maloof family has built in Sacramento, and their rabid fans might never recover from that scenario. This won happen, however, because because the Lakers dont seem deep enough to match up with the Kings, Mavericks or Spurs in a seven-game series with so many tired players who seem past their prime.
When you break down the Lakers, remember that Shaq and Kobe are two of the top five players in the NBA, and they will continue to play at a high level in the playoffs. Kobe could win MVP this season ?in large part because of his amazing streak in February of 40-plus point games. But Bryant knees seem a little beat up, and he is averaging 41.6 minutes per game. It is time for Phil Jackson to sit Bryant and get him some rest in the next two weeks. Kobe could hit the wall if he continues to log all of these minutes in meaningless games even though he trained extremely hard in the off-season to handle all of that playing time.
Shaq took most of the season off and seems to be motivated to make another run at the title. Dont forget that if the Lakers get bounced out of the playoffs in the first round it will be because Oneal decided to postpone his off-season toe surgery, and the Lakers struggled without him and couldnt secure home-court advantage. Shaq must improve his rebounding because he is usually too tired to get offensive rebounds and still gets beat on the glass by quicker centers. He is shooting 62 percent from the free-throw line, and that is good news for the Lakers in close games. This will be the toughest test of Oneal career and if he plays great in the playoffs, I will compare him to the greatest centers to ever play the game
Derek Fisher is the X-factor for the Lakers. He has been outplayed all season by Mike Bibby, Tony Parker, Steve Nash and other solid point guards. He has started 70 games this season and always will play hurt, but can he hit the open jumper when the game is on the line? This is the last year for Fisher in LA, and he must find a way to score while finding Kobe and Shaq when it counts.
Rick Fox is having a terrible season. He averages almost 30 minutes per game and disappears for 20 of those. Fox must play better defense if the Lakers are going to win in the playoffs. Ive read too many box scores when Fox plays 25 minutes and comes away with five points. He is a veteran who has played in many great games, but this is his last chance in LA and he had better finish strong. Fox plays against some of the best small forwards and shooting guards in the NBA and cant afford to get outplayed against the top seeds out West.
Devean George was rewarded with a four-year contract extension and struggles for playing time with the game on the line. He averages 6.8 points per game and four rebounds. He has tremendous energy and could be the difference in the Lakers advancing deep into the playoffs. He has to attack the basket and get to the foul line. George often makes bad decisions on defense, but that happens with a young player from time to time.
Robert Horry is a clutch player who will continue to make big shots in the playoffs. However, this is his last run with the Lakers. He plays close to 30 minutes a game, but only averages six points. He can rebound and will always make any defense nervous in the final few minutes of a game. Horry will have to bail the Lakers out of more than one game if the champs are going to win their fourth in a row.
Mark Madsen is a mad dog and plays like a proven NBA champion. He is the best thing that has happened to the Lakers in the past two months. He brings great energy off the bench and deserves to play the 14.5 minutes that he is now averaging. Jackson trusts Madsen on offense and on the defensive end and knows that this young player can handle the pressure of slowing down any power forward. If every man on the roster played like Madsen, the Lakers would have a real shot at winning another ring.
The rest of the Lakers?role players dont have what it takes to get the job done in the playoffs. Samaki Walker and Stanislav Medvendenko can get Jackson a few buckets off the bench, and Brian Shaw is always good for a big three pointer in crunch time. Kareem Rush might be good in the future, but that wont help this year.
Jackson is at a crossroads in his career as a head coach. He sat back, watched Oneal dictate the direction of the franchise in the off-season, and only took a few shots at him in the media during his layoff. Kobe is becoming the next Michael Jordan, and Jackson understands this. Hopefully, Kobe can play like Mike?throughout the first round of the playoffs so that the Lakers have at shot at advancing.
The beginning of the end for this franchise came when legendary Laker Jerry West left Staples Center for Memphis. After that, the team seemed to lose its killer instinct. Most Lakers fans that call my show can only state that the champions will turn it up a notch when the playoffs begin. That opinion is old and tired. The Lakers realize that this is the end of their run and they will soon look toward their future with new players and fresh chemistry. Jerry Buss is a great owner, yet I can criticize him for obvious reasons. His team plays in the nicest arena in the NBA, and he delivered Shaq and Kobe to the Lakers fans. The road to another NBA title seems blocked by Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Webber. It was fun while it lasted, but make sure you dont miss the playoffs because if the Lakers prove me wrong, Im going to have a tough time apologizing to all of their fans.

MAVSWIN
03-27-2003, 05:37 PM
I thought this was funny!

Heres a Laker fans view
Shaq drops the ironing board on his toe; Webber and Bibby get hit by lightning....... Duncan falls off a cliff........ KG is kidnapped to Columbia and forced to party somewhere along the jungle boarders of south america and of course the jail blazers team will be in attendance..... Shall I go on.......????

WayOutWest
03-27-2003, 06:05 PM
Anybody that thinks homecourt matters to the Lakers doesn't have a clue. No team, except the 2000 Kings in the 1st round, has been able to defend their homecourt against the current Laker champs. Where they play or where they're seeded doesn't matter to the Lakers but I do agree that the Kings and Spurs seem to have made enough improvements to beat the champs. Through mid season I had my money on the Kings, now it's ridding on the Spurs. If the playoff seedings stay the same the NBA titles will be decided in the 2nd round between the Kings and Spurs or Lakers and Spurs, eveyone else can just think about next year.

jayC
03-27-2003, 11:11 PM
The bottom line is they have to go on the road to face Spurs, lakers, mavs, and even trail blazers or T-Wolves if they advance.