|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NBALast night's NBA games kicked off the second round of the playoffs for the Lakers-Mavericks series and the Bulls-Hawks series.
Both of the home teams lost these games, with the underdogs either taking control early or battling back late to overcome a fourth-quarter deficit. What were the problems with the seasoned Lakers and talented Bulls that caused them to break down so severely on their home courts?
In the first game of the night, the Atlanta Hawks came out shooting well, where the Chicago Bulls struggled to hit shots the entire game. The Bulls defense was as good as ever, but Atlanta hit a lot of tough, contested shots. As with the series against the Indiana Pacers, the Bulls came out flat in the first quarter and had to overcome a 10 point deficit just to get back into the game after the first quarter. Derrick Rose also injured his ankle in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
The Los Angeles Lakers were in control of their game against the Dallas Mavericks, leading by 7 entering the fourth quarter. But then the Mavs went on a run, eventually winning the game on a foul and turnover from the Lakers. Throwing up a last-second three, Kobe Bryant missed and Dallas took Game One from the Lakers at the Staples Center. All game, Dallas shot just a little better from the field and from three-point range to give them the edge at the end.
Both the Bulls and the Lakers need a bit of a wake-up call, and maybe last night's losses will serve as that. Chicago has come out flat on almost every playoff game so far, finally making a comeback in the last quarter or last few minutes to pull out victories against the Indiana Pacers. But the deeper into the playoffs they make it, the less that will work, and it did not work last night.
The Lakers also need to start playing better again. They kind of slumped into the All-Star Break, then had an amazing 17-1 run, before slumping into the playoffs. The New Orleans Hornets got a couple of victories, but the Mavericks are a much better team. And now that the No. 1 San Antonio Spurs have been eliminated from the playoffs, the championship is really there for the taking. Do the Lakers want it?