While cheering on the Dallas Mavericks in the final minutes of the game in Dallas last night, I came to the realization that this series could mark the end of an era. With the Los Angeles Lakers loss, the Mavs took a commanding 3-0 series lead. Fans in the stands acted like it was already over and analysts all over the place kept pointing to the very few times in sports overall a team has rallied from a 3-0 deficit. If the Mavericks can close out the series on Sunday afternoon, they will force an early exit from the playoffs for the 2010 NBA Champions – the team that has combined with the San Antonio Spurs (also bounced from the playoffs by the unlikely Memphis Grizzlies) to win 11 of the last 12 Western Conference Finals and 9 NBA Championships.
Early in last night’s game, the Lakers looked like they might launch a comeback. However, about halfway through the final quarter, Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks basically responded with, “Not in this house,” and finished the visitors off with a 98-92 victory. With a 3-0 series lead, the Mavericks are hoping to sweep the Lakers on their way to the Western Conference final.
For his part, Kobe Bryant said in the post-game press conference last night, “I don’t know, I might be sick in the head or crazy or thrown off or something like that because I still think we’re going to win this series. I might be nuts. … Let’s win on Sunday, go back home and see if they can win in L.A. If you want to make history, you have to do historic things.” Bryant only had 17 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds – certainly not the way to go about winning a series, much less a game.
During the first round of the playoffs, only the Boston Celtics managed a sweep, beating the New York Knicks in four consecutive games. However, in the second round, the Celts are looking at the other side of that equation, currently down two games to the Miami Heat. The two teams will match up tonight back in Boston, where the Celtics have been 29-7 in the playoffs. Boston also has the been banged up and the three days rest has hopefully helped the team heal. Shaquille O’Neal, who has played on his share of championship teams, will also be back in the lineup for the Celtics. But will the power trio of James, Wade & Bosh in Miami pull off the series victory without a Boston win? You can surely bet that fans are getting out their brooms.