NBA Playoffs 2011: Why Are the L.A. Lakers Having Trouble with the Mavericks?

After losing two straight at home, the Lakers find themselves in a lot of trouble.

Ron Artest is suspended going into Game 3 after the Queens native showed shades of his old self by grasping the face of J.J. Barea.  The Lakers big men have yet to show up and Kobe is being Kobe, taking a ton of shots and limiting everyone else on the team.

Throughout the last two games, Kobe has taken 49 shots. He has made a healthy 23 shots of those 49. However what about his teammates? How are they getting involved in the game? As of right now he is averaging 1.5 assists in these last two games.

During the first round Kobe was distributing the ball more and shooting less and they won; now that he is shooting more, they seem out of it.

However, these are just symptoms to the disease.

The problem is not with Kobe. It is not with the fact that Ron Artest has lost composure. The problem is not the fact that Gasol and Bynum often find themselves helpless in the paint, nor does the problem lie in the hands of Derek Fisher, who has been statistically awful during these conference semifinals.

The problem far exceeds any individual input from the team. Mentally, the Lakers have already ended their season.

Phil Jackson, aged 65, seemingly has his eyes set on retirement. His laissez-faire attitude, which has worked for almost a quarter of a century, no longer seems to have a positive impact on the team. This infectious attitude has trickled down and severely affected the team. 

They have mentally checked out.

The Los Angeles Lakers lost five straight heading into the playoffs and had a very up-and-down season. At one point Phil Jackson told reporters, "Kobe screwed up the game," referring to a blowout loss against the Memphis Grizzlies earlier in the season.

This is not the first time the future Hall of Famer has called out his star—one time he labeled Kobe B...

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