NBA Postseason Graveyard: Los Angeles Lakers
Welcome, to the NBA Postseason Graveyard on The 12th Man, the NBA Hoops feature for Technorati! During the postseason, when a team gets eliminated, we will take a look back at their season, and what do they do for the future to get better. There are 15 graves here, and on Sunday, the two-time defending champions got dethroned, and we take a look at the Los Angeles Lakers.
2010-11 Los Angeles Lakers
Postseason result: won conf. quarterfinal (Hornets 4-2)
lost conf. semifinal (Mavericks 4-0)
They say all good things must come to an end. Not only was the Lakers' championship run over on Sunday in a 36-point blowout loss to the Dallas Mavericks, it was also an end to one of the greatest coaching careers in Phil Jackson. After 20 seasons of coaching with the Chicago Bulls and the Lakers, Jackson most likely has made his "final stand", and the Lakers did not really give him anything to stand on in this series with the Mavericks.
Los Angeles got off to a flying start, and they were clicking on all cylinders, got off to a 13-2 start and giving plenty of reminders why they were the kings of the NBA. The first half of the season ended on a sour note, however, as the Lakers went on a three-game losing streak, which included sour losses to the Charlotte Bobcats (by 20) and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even though at 38-19, questions began to rumble on if the Lakers really had what it took to get a three-peat, and if the team had some issues going into the All-Star Break.
The championship resolve manifested in the second-half start of the season, with the Lakers winning 17 of their first 18 games after the break (only loss to the Miami Heat), but the team ended up struggling and looked like there were some issues with communication, losing five of the past seven games, but with no real competition in the Pacific Division this season, the team won their 32nd division championship, and picked up the #2 seed in the Western Conference.
Facing the 7th seeded New Orleans Hornets, the Lakers were suprised by a game 1 upset of 109-100, but the champs responded with two big wins in Los Angeles and an hostile environment in Game 3. After Chris Paul's triple-double in Game 4, Kobe Bryant with an injured ankle and all, led the way for a 106-90 win in Game 5, and the Lakers finished the job of stealing opposing teams will that NBA fans are accustomed to in a 98-80 win in New Orleans, sending the Hornets home in six games.