Decaying Performance of Los Angeles Lakers Essay example

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What the heck happened to the Los Angeles Lakers?

In a season of irregular menstrual cycles (no offense to Pau Gasol) -- starting the year 8-0, losing four-in-a-row, winning seven-in-a-row, losing five-in-a-row, losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers, winning seventeen-of-eighteen, then going on a five-game-losing streak to end the regular season, struggling distractedly against a mediocre New Orleans Hornets club in round one of the playoffs -- the Lakers ended 2010-11 not only by being swept by the Mark Cuban Mavericks (losing the final "win or go home" game by 36 points) but by becoming a group of guys who would clearly go home rather than spend another second in each other's presence. Or with their (now gone) head coach.

As a Lakers
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The last run for your 11-titles-winning coach. One-game -- win it or not only go home but send Phil Jackson on his way in the most embarrassing manner possible. And the team -- with the exception of a first-half Kobe Bryant, who then also seemed to pack it in -- shows up sullen, petulant, in a snit. And quits.

Obviously a team with a very delicate sense of purpose and togetherness. Maybe Gasol just got sick of playing with Bryant. Or Odom with Gasol. Or Gasol with Andrew Bynum. Gasol, of course, has taken the most guff from the sports media. As he should. Something very funky was happening here. And the league must have smelled it. Beginning in early April, when the Lakers were still playing like the best team in basketball, several players around the NBA, from separate teams and divisions, began to whisper (publicly) about Pau Gasol's manhood -- the manhood of the starting center on the league's two-time defending champions. First, Kendrick Perkins of OKC said something. Them A'mare Stoudemire of the Knicks. Other players went with it, off the record. What was going on here? The Lakers were playing great and there weren't any "Pau Gasoft" cracks since L.A. lost to Boston in the '08 Finals. Gasol himself won the championship last year by his very tough and focused Game 7 performance against the Celtics. So what were the April remarks all about?

Somebody knew something, because beginning with those remarks the team went into an

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