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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

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

      Read more »

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