LA Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks: Can Kobe Bryant and Co. Climb Out of This Hole?

The Miami Heat are at full throttle and chasing down this year’s championship trophy like hungry lions closing in on a Thompson’s gazelle during an unforgiving Serengeti night—but the other half of the Heat-or-Three-peat storyline has suddenly slammed on the breaks.

Down two games to none against the usually soft as a marsh-mellow Dallas Mavericks, who are known for their legendary playoff chokes, the L.A. Lakers are now the ones staring down the barrel of a shotgun.

And there is a lot at stake.

At stake is this year’s NBA title. At stake is Kobe Bryant’s mountainous legacy—which will not reach Jordan-esque heights without a sixth championship. At stake is the Lakers’ dynasty and coveted double three-peat that would put them in the same conversation as Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.

Indeed, the storied Lakers’ franchise is facing an unenviable win or else proposition resulting from their mediocre second round play thus far.

Coach Phil Jackson is retiring after this last run, Kobe Bryant’s game has been in decline because of both age and a bone-on-bone knee, and the rest of the Lakers are in a state of disarray. 

And this is their last chance.

The collection of talent on this Lakers’ team is startling, yet it is obvious that they’re not playing close to their potential on either end of the floor. Gone is the high level of synergy exhibited by this team from its starters through to its bench.

In retrospect, the Lakers have already gone through the trepidation of an incredibly uncertain season—dominating and in full control for long stretches at a time during the season, only to fizzle with momentary lapses resulted in confounding losses that came in bunches.

The Lakers need to become dangerous and feared again, and they need to do it in a hurry—that much is certain. Th...

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