It is Officially Time for Lakers to Panic

All year long the Lakers have been snoozing. They kept ignoring that alarm, fooling us all by occasionally checking in only to revert to what they truly are – a team that has run out of gas.

The Dallas Mavericks are playing at an extremely high level right now. This 0-2 hole the Lake Show is mired in has more to do with what the Mavs are doing and not what the Lakers aren’t. Tonight’s depressing 93-81 loss about summed up what we’ve feared all along.

This series isn’t over…yet.

We’re still talking about a team with big game experience and from here out the games aren’t getting any smaller. Let’s just hope the Lakers are up for playing a little D against…J.J. Barea?

This is how you know the wheels are off. Barea looked like Steve Nash tonight. Dude got into the paint more often than Jackson Pollock. All that penetration eventually provoked an old school Ron Artest meltdown. Ron Ron palmed Barea’s mug for no reason and now he could be suspended…for no reason.

On paper you could argue the Lakers aren’t as far behind the Mavs as the score would indicate.

The Lakers had the edge on the boards, shooting 41% to the Mavs 42% and the Lake Show frontcourt got dueling double-doubles from Pau and Bynum. Usually that equals a W…or at least a more respectable showing.

Not tonight.

Tonight the Lakers couldn’t buy a bucket from deep going 2 of 20 from three. They also bricked free throws all night long which is something you just can’t do in the playoffs.

Usually the Lakers pull out ugly wins in games like this.

Not tonight.

Not when you’ve got a seven-foot headache with a killer instinct named Dirk Nowitzki to deal with.

Yes, I have to finally give Dirk his due. The dude is going Neo right before our eyes by walking the path. He’s seen the light and I’m officially afraid that the best player in this series is sporting #41 not #24.

Kobe Bryant is still the guy I’m taking to bank anytime the game is on the line. I’m ride or die with KB24. That will never change. But the ugly truth is that with Dirk is playing at this level Mamba’s only chance at any late game heroics might just be in a rearview mirror called Game 1.

We know how that ended. Do we know how this series is going to end?

If the Lakers don’t repay the favor and take two in Dallas then I’m pretty sure I know exactly how this will end.

All year long the Lakers have sworn that it’s not time to even consider pushing that panic button. I’ve been as guilty as any saying that when the chips are down they’ll rise to the occasion.

Well the occasion is here and the time to panic is now. What makes this so confusing is that I’m not sure if this is the moment of truth. Reason being is I’m not sure what the truth is anymore.

Is it true this team is just out of championship gas? Or is it just one big lie that the Mavs are this good?

Somewhere in between lies the answer. What worries me is my eyes can’t lie to me any longer. What I saw tonight looked a lot like what I remember from Game 6 in Boston and just about every game in the Finals against the Pistons back in ’04. I’m not seeing the championship swagger anymore. I’m seeing a team that has finally come face to face with reality.

The reality is the time to hit the panic button was after losing Game 1 to the Hornets. Doing so now could be too little and far too late.

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Tags: Andrew Bynum Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki J.j. Barea Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Pau Gasol Ron Artest Steve Nash

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