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City in ruins: L.A. reels from Lakers' capitulation in humiliating sweep

Basketball fans in Los Angeles cannot escape the depressing news: The NBA champion Lakers lost four straight to the Dallas Mavericks, and looked pretty bad doing it.

Dallas Mavericks' Jason Terry shoots against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of Game 4 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series, on Sunday, May 8, in Dallas. The Mavericks won 122-86, and swept the series.

Richard W. Rodriguez/AP

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This is a town filled with diehard basketball fans trying to escape the bad news, and failing.

“It’s everywhere, where am I supposed to go?” says Ty Duvay, whacking copies of L.A.’s two major newspapers down on a coffee shop table here, each with photo spreads on both Page 1 and the front of the Sports section.

“Lakers lose their cool and series,” says a caption on Page 1 of the Los Angeles Times. In the photo, Lakers center Andrew Bynum is being ejected from Sunday’s 122-86, Game 4 loss to the Dallas Mavericks after a flagrant fourth-quarter foul on Dallas guard J.J. Barea.

“I’m crushed, depressed, disappointed, in mourning,” says Mr. Duvay, quaffing a foam-covered latte with the despair of Humphrey Bogart at his bar in “Casablanca.” Outside at the curb, Duvay’s hearse-black SUV sports four, limp, purple-and-yellow “Go Lakers!” flags.

“Relax … DUDE … we got Osama bin Laden, the economy’s coming back … get a grip!” says his friend, Todd Davis.

Pick your analysis

So what went wrong? A popular culprit is desire: The Dallas Mavericks were hungrier and more in need of a playoff vindication. The Lakers after all, were two-time defending champions while the Mavericks have only one finals appearance to show for a decade among the league's elite.

Also possible is that success has at last worn down the Lakers. Sunday was the 77th post season game since 2008 – nearly an entire, extra, 82-game regular season.

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