Mavericks Vs. Lakers: Pau Gasol Plays Poorly, Kobe Bryant Doesn't Close And PANIC!!

The Los Angeles Lakers lost Game 1 to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, which is doubly bad because it was the kind of game they are supposed to win.They had a double-digit lead, and they still lost. They then had it as a game that was close down the stretch, with Kobe Bryant playing outstanding ball in their home gym, and they still lost. Now, the focus has shifted to the age-old Kobe vs. Pau Gasol question. Was Kobe freezing him out, or was Pau not being assertive?

Tom Ziller has already swatted away this sentiment well, so I don't have a ton to add. If I had to lean one way, I'd lean towards Gasol being too passive. Bryant played a good game, but was simply victimized by one poor pass, a turnover where he pretty clearly got mugged by Jason Kidd and a great look that he missed that usually goes in. Gasol, meanwhile, took just 10 shots and was lit up by Dirk Nowitzki

But the reality is that this is just an age-old example of a concept expressed by Katie Baker in her opening essay for Grantland.com on Monday. She was talking about Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire on the Knicks, but the same thing applies here.

That's the bane of the two-star system: it's tailor-made to generate intrigue and excuses and scandal, even after wins and especially after losses. Every shot has a built-in opportunity cost. Every huddle deserves extra scrutiny. Whose day is today? Who is going home mad? Watching the games felt like being a greedy tween once again, pitting my parents up against one another, asking one for permission or the other for money and allocating affection based on results.    

Most of the time, that intrigue is pointless, but it'll never stop the conversations from taking place. That's just the way it is. So in the end, let's just reserve a permanent spot for this on the meme power rankings for whenever the Lakers lose.

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