NBA Playoffs 2011: Kobe Bryant or Phil Jackson to Blame for Lakers’ Mess?

In what most basketball enthusiasts probably never saw coming, the unthinkable has occurred.  The Los Angeles Lakers are down 2-0 in their playoff series with the Dallas Mavericks, and now have to go into Dallas to try and win on the road.

Sure enough, fingers are being pointed and the blame game is being played at full force.  Lakers center Andrew Bynum has already called his teammates out for not trusting each other with the ball.  While that might be the case, I would instead like to talk about what some of the other haters are saying.

When push comes to shove, who is to blame for the Lakers' struggles?  Is it longtime Lakers head coach Phil Jackson?  Or rather, are the team's two losses the result of the volatile Bryant?  Let's look at both ends of the spectrum.

On one hand, Jackson could be completely to blame.  He's been coaching in the NBA long enough that opposing teams could have figured out his triangle offense and defensive schemes.  Heck, if I were an NBA coach and my team was playing against Jackson's Lakers, I'd structure my game plan in such a way that he would be forced to rethink his strategy as the game went on.

Still, that being said, Jackson can't really be blamed for the team's struggles because he is in fact so experienced.  He's been coaching long enough that he knows how to adjust his strategy and win while doing so.  That only leaves one potential guilty party—Kobe Bryant.

Now, let me just start off by saying this—I LOVE KOBE BRYANT.  I've been a fan since he first burst onto the scene in 1996 and continued to root hard for him when the Lakers were in the Finals the past three seasons.  Still, I'm not so biased as a fan that I'm blind to the fact that when push comes to shove, Bryant is basically the reason the Lakers have dug themselves into a 2-0 hole against Dallas.

Let's have a look at Bryant's s...

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