Five Thoughts: Lakers lose Game 2 to the Mavericks 93-81

- So you're saying there's a chance...

Well, not so much. NBA teams that have gone down 0-2 in a playoff series have won the series 5.8% of the time, a whopping 14 teams out of 238. Even worse, only 3 teams have ever come back to win a playoff series after losing the first two games of the series at home; the 1969 Lakers, 1994 Houston Rockets, and the 2005 Dallas Mavericks. No teams have ever come back from being down 0-3 in a playoff series.

The Mavericks still have a few players who were on that 2005 team, so they know that the possibility is out there, and should be mindful of not letting it happen. Moreover, the 2007 Dallas Mavericks lost a 2-0 series lead in the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat, so they should be even more aware of what's at stake in game 3.

- Worst. Halftime speech. Ever.

Traditionally, the Lakers have been known to be at about a +/- of 5 points at the halftime break, and then start to pull away through a fantastic 3rd quarter effort, before finally putting the nail in the coffin during the 4th quarter. I can only imagine the halftime speech given to the Lakers that inspired a 32 point second half effort, which included some of the worst shooting percentages of any game over the last few years. 41% FG, 2/20 on threes, and they even missed 9 free throws to boot. A lot can and will be said about their defensive effort, but make your free throws and hit one more three and it's a tie ballgame.

- Ron Ron suspended.

Ron Artest has been suspended by the NBA for 1 game for his foul on JJ Barea near the end of the 4th quarter. It was one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen on a basketball court, so you just knew it had to involved Ron Ron. Artest essentially clotheslined Barea with an open hand, somewhere in between a full arm take down and just flat out catching his face with an open hand. I guess you could say he was trying to foul him and Barea moved into a waiting Artest's hand, but still, it was a fairly ridiculous play. It's almost like Murphy's Law; if there's a play involving the dumbest foul you've ever seen, it has to be Ron Artest.

More importantly, the Lakers probably won't really miss Artest in the next game, because he's been an also-ran during the first two games of the series. He's shot the ball poorly in both games and is too small to guard Dirk so his defensively skills aren't really that necessary. My guess is that the Lakers will start either Barnes or Luke Walton in his place, so they can keep Lamar Odom as their 6th man.

- Trust Issues

After the game, Andrew Bynum told reporters that the Lakers clearly had trust issues, and that they needed to get them sorted out if they were going to win the series. When asked about Bynum's remarks, Kobe Bryant thought that he meant them on the defensive end, and that Andrew gets frustrated when he helps out a guard who has been beaten, only to have the secondary defender fail to rotate to cover whomever he had just left. Nothing really new to report there, as that has been the problem with the Lakers defensively over the past ten years or so; no one helps the helper.

Later on in the evening though, Magic Johnson tweeted that Bynum shouldn't have said anything to the media, and that those issues should've been handle internally but the team, during a players only meeting or something like that. This of course caused a little bit of a windstorm with the media, as Magic is obviously a great voice of reason for the Lakers on a number of issues.

I think he's a little off base with this one though. Was he not around for the first three-

[caption id="attachment_73" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Phil Jackson doesn't usually hold back during an interview"][/caption]

peat? The Lakers under Phil Jackson have almost never kept anything internally, whether it be quotes in the media about teammates, other NBA players, or even contract situations. Phil Jackson himself has never been shy about answer a question openly and honestly to media members, even if it could be perceived to be disparaging to one of his players. Not only do I think Bynum's "trust issues" remark is a little more tame than it looks, the Phil Jackson era Lakers have never had a problem voicing their concerns at any time, through any output.

- Where are the Laker flags?

I'm a very superstitious person. I have lucky shirts, couch positions, coins, betting rituals, and even when I watch/don't watch certain parts of the game. You can rest assured that every single one of these superstitions will get put into use for tomorrow night's game.

But I've noticed one thing missing from the LA area landscape during this 2011 playoffs:

[caption id="attachment_74" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Let's bust out those Laker flags"][/caption]

Laker flags. Where are your Laker flags people? I know, I know, they're lame. Oh and it started a long time ago. But I can remember a time, even over the past two years, when almost every other car on the road was rocking a Laker flag. People would honk, wave, and yell "Go Lakers" out of their windows at red lights. I resisted the temptation for many years, but had to give in a few years ago because of the amount of city pride I was feeling. For such a large urban sprawl like LA, it felt a little more like a small community when you would see a sea of Laker flags flapping in the wind.

So conjur up any and all of your superstitions, and dust of your Laker flags people, it's now or never.

- Mark Slattery Writer

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