Lakers lose chance in Western Conference Finals

<strong>Ron Artest and the Lakers are taking a lot of criticism for their performance in the second round of the playoffs.</strong>

Ron Artest and the Lakers are taking a lot of criticism for their performance in the second round of the playoffs.

By Tamara Latta
Staff Writer

No one would’ve ever believed, even if hearing the news from a psychic, that the two-time defending champs would be swept in a series trying to make it back the Conference finals this year.
The Lakers are still the trending topic of the NBA after losing the series 4-0 to the Dallas Mavericks less than two weeks ago. There is a lot of speculation that the Lakers locker room unraveled between the last two months of the regular season. We still don’t know who to point the finger at, or who to blame for the meltdown.
After the team was demolished by Dallas in game four 122-86, it’s hard for Laker fans to appreciate what they have done for the city the last three years. What everyone failed to realize is that this moment was coming sooner or later. We have to understand that nothing in this world lasts forever, and that includes winning a championship every year. As we would all love to see that happen, it just isn’t reality.
If you followed the Lakers at the beginning of the playoffs, when they played the New Orleans Hornets in the first round, you could see that the focus wasn’t there. Sometimes after being a champion for two years you don’t work as hard as you worked to get where you are now. You kind of want things to come easily and not put in the extra work. From the looks of things, other teams came up with a plan to find ways to beat the champs. They knew it would take dedicated, hard work to put out the two-time defending champs. The champs, being the champs, probably just didn’t expect to get beaten. Now all the underdogs in the Western Conference are still fighting, trying to accomplish what the Lakers have. 
Lakers Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom are being called “sore losers” following game 4. After being down by almost 30 points, Bynum and Odom lost their composure and got very physical with Dallas players. It was a “heat of the moment” situation, and there is no excuse for their actions. But it happens in sports all the time, mainly during the playoffs of any sport.
If you recall when the Lakers played the Dallas Mavericks at the end of March, and were beating the Mavericks by almost 20 points, Terry took a cheap shot at Blake. All players get frustrated and, when that happens, they usually take the emotional reaction out on their opponents.
The Lakers have made their fans and city elated for over a decade. In 63 NBA seasons the Lakers have advanced to the playoffs 58 times. They have won 16 championships, and I’m almost certain that there will be more in the future, as long as Jerry Buss is affiliated with the organization.
There’s no doubt that the Lakers have pampered their fan base, and right now fans are mourning and bashing them for not advancing to the Western Conference Finals. What happened to appreciating and cherishing the happiness they brought to this city for years? They’ve also brought competitiveness just about every season for the last 10 seasons. I know it’s hard to swallow the atrocious loss, but you have to look at the positive to get overcome the negative. It’s not the end of the world, and the Lakers will be back in years to come.

Sports, Tamara's Sports Lounge

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