In 2011, the Los Angeles Lakers were going for a historical third straight championship but were swept in a huge upset by the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas went on to win the NBA Championship that year vaulted by their series victory over the Lakers. This year the Mavericks are competing for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference with the Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies, who all share the same record at 44-31.
On the other hand, the Lakers have little to play for as they are headed to the lottery, but they have been able to get up for games involving playoff contenders lately. That sets the stage for Friday night’s match-up between the two clubs at Staples Center where Dallas is desperate for a win.
I’m sure the Laker organization would like nothing more than to stick it to Mark Cuban by beating them on Friday, consequently hampering their chances at a playoff berth and exacting a measure of revenge for their humiliating sweep three years ago. Cuban was also one of the league owners who colluded to veto the Chris Paul trade, so there’s that too.
Granted, the only player on the Lakers’ active roster who played in that series was Pau Gasol, who more than likely will not be available due to vertigo. Still, for Laker fans it would be symbolic enough, which is needed amidst this nightmare campaign for the purple and gold. Of course, the caveat to this feel-good theory is every game Los Angeles wins from here on out hurts their chances of getting a top pick in this year’s draft.
If you choose to be an optimist, it sounds like a win-win situation regardless of the outcome. At the very least it gives Laker fans an incentive to keep watching, which has been understandably difficult to do this year.