Kobe Bryant remains confident about the Lakers' chances even though… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
Earth to Lakerdom, come in Lakerdom...
Are you there, Lakerdom?
Scratchy voice amid static: Yes, but we're going to vote on joining hands and running into the sea together.
Ten-four, Lakerdom, please keep us advised.
We're not talking about the usual Lakers misadventures anymore. Wednesday night's 93-81 not-as-close-as-the-score loss to the Mavericks was a swan dive into a black hole few have come back from.
"I'm not shocked," said Kobe Bryant. "We've been doing this for years, dropping games at home.
"We finally got what we deserved, dropping two."
Unfortunately, that leaves only two more in Staples Center — assuming the Lakers win this weekend in Dallas to force another game there this spring.
Appropriately, one of the worst nights in recent Lakers history ended with Ron Artest swiping Dallas' 5-foot-10 Jose Barea in the head.
Now, having seen the Mavericks take their best punch and then knock them on their backsides, the Lakers may get to make their potentially next-to-last stand Friday in Dallas without Artest.
Even Coach Phil Jackson didn't argue with the notion Artest may be suspended, calling the action "uncalled-for."
Having survived one crisis of their own making after another in their 2009 and 2010 title runs, it looks as if they overdid it this time.
The Lakers "gave away" Game 1, as Jackson put it, blowing a 16-point third-quarter lead.
Wednesday night the Mavericks took Game 2 without help, beating the Lakers flat.
If Bryant's sprained ankle looked like an issue in Game 1, he looked fine in Game 2, switching onto Jason Kidd, pressuring him up the court.
Bryant played well, making nine of 20 shots, scoring 23 points, just not as well as Game 1 when, limited or not, he scored 36.
Trailing by eight early, the Lakers pounded the ball inside to their vaunted big men and got back into it.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, 7-0 Tyson Chandler, 7-0 Dirk Nowitzki and 7-0 Brendan Haywood were harder to deal with than New Orleans' 6-9 Emeka Okafor, 6-9 Carl Landry and 7-0 Aaron Gray, repulsing the Lakers' inside attack, leaving Pau Gasol floundering in another lame 13-point game.
At the end, Dallas Coach Rick Carlisle went small with two point guards, Kidd and Barea.
The Lakers couldn't lay a glove on either, at least until Artest unloaded Barea, who may come up to his armpit.
"It's one game," said Bryant late Wednesday night, acting surprised at the funereal tone.
"Everybody's tripping. We'll win one game and then we'll win the next one....
"If you want to make history, you have to do historic things."
Sorry, we got ahead of ourselves.
Let us know as soon as you win one and then win the next one.