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CHRIS ERSKINE / FAN OF THE HOUSE

Lakers turn up the funk, and it's downright creepy

They were supposed to be different, the ones L.A. fans could rely on with their star power and prestige, but in this debacle they let the baggage and anxiety get the best of them.

May 09, 2011|Chris Erskine
  • Lakers guards Kobe Bryant, left, and Derek Fisher watch the Mavericks finish off a 122-86 victory on Sunday afternoon in Dallas.
Lakers guards Kobe Bryant, left, and Derek Fisher watch the Mavericks finish… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

OK, it's official: Bud Selig has taken over control of the Lakers. Next, the Los Angeles Unified Schools. After that, the lousy little sandwich joint in Glendale that always skimps on the pickles.

But it is with these Lakers he can make the most difference.

Task No. 1: Get Andrew Bynum to keep his clothes on.

Task No. 2: Hire Coach K from Duke, the only hoops coach in America with the chops to follow Phil Jackson, keep Kobe's attention and begin a new era without the usual five-year reconstruction period.

Not since the last season of "Frasier" have we seen the sort of monumental collapse we saw Sunday, the Mother's Day Meltdown.

"Hey, Phil, we couldn't decide what to get you for a retirement gift, so we all got together and decided to behave like petulant teens. Hope our repulsive behavior makes it easier to go. See ya."

Favorite postgame quote: "First of all, you don't smoke peyote." (Phil Jackson).

Yeah, I prefer peyote in a cream form myself. Or that little peyote patch you wear behind your ear.

You wonder sometimes why other cities razz us so, and then we had Sunday night, our Twilight of the Titans.

Beat L.A.! Sweep L.A.! The Mavericks not only took this series, they stole that most Jacksonian ideal, our chain-mail cool.

Drama queens, these Lakers. So even as they were down 2-0, then 3-0, you kind of wondered whether they could still maybe pull it off. They played some superb basketball this season, particularly after the All-Star break — which by the way seems like just yesterday. Wasn't it last week that Blake Griffin was sailing over that car? Vroom, vroom ... shazam.

Just like Ron Artest's shot on that breakaway Sunday, right? Clank. The slam flunk.

I love the sports blogs on days like these. Nothing like a 12-pack to bring clarity to any argument:

"Back in the '80s, Bynum's foul was an everyday thing ..."

"I was so glad to see Andrew Bynum take off his Laker jersey ... because I never want to see him wearing that jersey again."

Take your pick. As with any troubled marriage, everyone has a theory.

So, suddenly, nothing's going right for L.A. fans. It started when USC football went to pieces, then the Dodgers followed with their special little soap opera, our version of the Borgias.

Well, at least we have the Lakers, we thought. The Lakers have their issues, but as star power and prestige go, they are the only franchise to rival the New York Yankees.

Then this debacle, in which everyone seemed out of character.

What next, Nicholson does a Miley Cyrus movie? The Laker Girls start a convent? Scorsese directs an episode of "Glee"?

"The Lakers meltdown was a classic example of what I refer to as psychological baggage creep," says Nancy Kumetz Lee, the Beverly Hills psychotherapist I turn to when relationships are getting me down.

"The team allowed the season's pent-up emotions — including expectations, recent lost game memories, teammate scuffles, romantic rifts, anticipatory anxiety over losing their coach, and even crowd jeers — to interfere with their split-second judgment, timing and focus."

Yep, L.A.'s got the creeps, all right, baggage and otherwise. The whole sports scene seems a little upside down right now. Send in the Seals, Mr. President.

As that little boxer used to say: Na mas. No mas.

chris.erskine@latimes.com

twitter.com/erskinetimes

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