For 20 years, the standard of bad sportsmanship in the NBA has been the behavior of the two-time defending champion Detroit Pistons in 1991, when they gracelessly walked off the court without even trying to acknowledge the Chicago Bulls, who had swept them in the Eastern Conference finals - on their way to the first of their six NBA titles during that decade.
Well, the Pistons can breathe a sigh of relief, because after today's 4th quarter debacle, we have a new standard bearer for bad sportsmanship. Two, actually - because it isn't fair to lay this one on the entire Lakers team. But there's no doubt that Lamar Odom and (especially) Andrew Bynum will deserve the lumps that they take in the public and the media tomorrow, and probably for the rest of the playoff season - and into next season, and beyond. I only wish I could have seen the look on Magic Johnson's face in the studio on the Bynum cheap shot - because clearly, Magic was already distraught simply from the Lakers' inability to do anything in the first half to stop the Mavericks' offense.
And what an offensive exhibition it was. My only complaint is with Peja Stojakovic...really, Peja? You couldn't make just one of those in the fourth quarter of that fateful game against the Lakers in June 2002?
I jinxed the Mavericks a few years ago, so I will refrain from saying anything about their chances to go all the way this year. Let's just say that I like their chances as much as anybody's at this point.