I’d blame last night’s five ejections in the Lakers-Mavericks game on the grenade Mark Cuban lobbed at Ron Artest the other day, but I can’t. It’s all about Jason Terry. (Well, and the Lakers’ dominance.)
Terry was struggling (2-for-9 shooting). The Mavericks were losing. And it looks like Terry just snapped, shoving Steve Blake to the ground in a manner that definitely warranted an ejection. I liked how Matt Barnes – remember how he went at it against Kobe last year? – sprung to Blake’s defense and shoved Terry, and later broke free from a Mavs’ assistant who tried to restrain him. Barnes is a bad-ass – a guy who doesn’t give a shit and seemingly will get in anyone’s face anywhere, anytime. So now the Lakers have two of those in Barnes and Artest. Maybe they’re teaching Andrew Bynum what it means to be tough?
The Lakers are 16-1 since the All-Star break. They’ve whittled San Antonio’s lead to 2.5 in the race for the No. 1 seed. (A note about that: If the Lakers get the No. 1 seed, they’ll play Oklahoma City/Denver in the second round. Would you really rather face those spry, aggressive teams instead of the Mavericks?) The Spurs have lost five in a row.
Teams I’d fear in the West, in order, right now:
This doesn’t mean I think the Spurs are the 4th best team in the West. But based on their age, their current nosedive, and the makeup of their roster, what’s to fear?