The Lakers have always lived up to the classy franchise that they have always presented, it was never so evident as it was to me in today's game.
Champions play like champions, and when they don't, they still keep a champions mentality. I was born in the early eighties, so I'm not that old, but in my lifetime, I don't remember seeing any proposed "champions" whine and throw a fit quite like the Lakers did in today's game, picking on guys half their height along the what will go down as one of the worst losses in franchise history. Playoffs or regular season.
JJ Barea, who is generously listed at 6 foot and is more like 5'9", drove fearlessly down the lane for a layup (which he made), with 8:21 to go in the fourth when the Mavericks had a significant lead. He was met with a elbow thrown hard into his armpit by Andrew Bynum, who has recently been complaining of "trust issues" with some of the Lakers players.
Mainly he is referring to how they rotate, or more so, FAIL to rotate on defense.
Needless to say he was quickly ejected, dismantling his jersey on the way out, as some kind of immature gesture to the fans and the players of his bravado or worthiness.
Before this fiasco, in which Barea lay on the ground and none of the Lakers players came over to help in a show of class and sportsmanship, Lamar Odom committed a similar offense. Though, not as flagrant.
A few plays before, Lamar Odom, needlessly and stupidly launched himself into Dirk along the top of the three point line, causing Dirk to fall back and almost knocking him over.
It reminded me of all those bully kids in junior high and high school who just push their weight around and use their body as some kind of assault weapon on harmless classmates in order to show who's boss.
I'm all for physical play and "showing who's boss". Laying down the line and setting the tone. But this comes in the fourth quarter when the Lakers dynasty has all but "officially" dwindled away. Insert cliche here (too little too late).
It is clear that this comes out of extreme frustration, and that's the other problem. Good tems. Championship teams. Winning teams. And classy teams do this best. They set the tone. They lead their opponent. They use force and nasty toughness to change the game plan of the other team.
However, they don't get frustrated. They don't blow their cool and they never resort to a bully like nature in order to retaliate.
It really shows a weakness within that team.
And that is something the great teams know they can not reveal.