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Sports Then and Now



Ding Dong, the Lakers are Dead (at least for this year) 2

Posted on May 08, 2011 by Dean Hybl

The dismal performance by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2011 NBA playoffs was a surprise to everyone.

Even when the two-time defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers lost the first two games of their Western Conference playoff series at home to the perennial underachieving Dallas Mavericks, most of the NBA “experts” still expected Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers to eventually flip a switch and return to their dominating ways.

That prediction was officially proved wrong on Sunday afternoon as the Mavericks whipped the Lakers 122-86 to complete an improbable four-game sweep of the former champions.

While history and past success are as celebrated in the NBA as in any other major professional sport, there comes a time when banners and history are no longer enough.

Though still a very talented team with a Hall of Fame coach and all-time great superstar, the Lakers are starting to show signs of age and the difficulty of staying motivated at the highest level.

There was a lot of talk this season about how they could just “flip the switch” when it was time to play their best, but the reality is that in a league where the difference in overall team talent is rather minimal, it isn’t all that easy to just suddenly jump from average to awesome.

The question now facing the Lakers is whether they can rebound next year with the same cast of characters or if it will take a significant overhaul for the Lakers to return to prominence.

Of the top 10 players on the roster, only 25-year-old reserve Shannon Brown and 23-year-old starting center Andrew Bynum are under the age of 30. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

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