2011 NBA Playoffs: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks – Game 3 Preview

It took me a little bit of time to fully process the disappointment I felt after the Lakers Game 2 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. I will be the first to acknowledge when a team is better than one of my favorite teams, but up until this point, I just didn't think anyone was better than Los Angeles. Plain and simple. And as stubborn as I'm about to sound, I still don't think there is a team as talented as they are in this league when they bring their A game, execute and play hard.

Unfortunately, the time and place for that excuse has officially run out. How can I fully respect myself while trying to argue that the Lakers are losing because they aren't trying or because they don't care? After all, executing and playing hard are crucial elements to a winning basketball team. If you're going to be the best team, now is when you prove it and to this point, the Lakers have proven nothing. The last three Finals runs don't mean anything, they don't scare anyone and they aren't going to magically bring them their third straight title. At this point, I don't know if anything can help.

I'm still not giving up, though.

In Game 2, the Lakers statistically beat the Mavericks in many key categories, but unfortunately, it didn't translate to anything more than a second straight disappointing home defeat. Los Angeles out-rebounded the Mavericks (44-39), committed less turnovers (10-11), they put up just as many shots (83-81) and they got to the free throw line nearly as often (20-21).

Unfortunately, none of this mattered. The Lakers have struggled to take advantage of their biggest mismatch in ANY series, which is their height. No one else has the array of seven-footers that LA does, one who is strong, one who is finesse and one who can play the point. But yet, they barely get involved. Blame it on whoever you want, but as a team, they don't execute well enough to make these three players valuable.

I mentioned that...

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