It's definitely a strange day for Lakers fans and of course my brother-in-law, Lamar Odom. After two straight championship seasons, nobody expected these playoffs to end like this, especially with a blowout loss to cap a four-game sweep.
The Mavericks were an incredibly tough matchup for the Lakers, and Dirk Nowitzki was unbelievable throughout the series. Obviously, our entire family was cheering for L.A., but I have to give credit where it's due, and the Mavs deserved to advance with a performance that was close to perfect. I'm already looking forward to a chance for revenge next season.
Aside from my personal relationship with Lamar, it's hard to watch coach Phil Jackson go out this way. He's a legend, and it will be interesting to see how his successor takes control of the team next season if he really does retire. Personally, I think Phil will come back next season. I know everyone has said he's retiring, but I don't think a coach as great as he is would leave after a 4-0 sweep. I still believe that we'll see him again.
Back at home, it's been a stressful couple of weeks, especially since Game 1 of the Mavericks series. Losing is never easy, and when you have to listen to pundits and experts rip your team on national television, it gets even more difficult. So I've been doing my best to keep Lamar stress-free.
It wasn't easy with plenty of tension in the air, but we all tried our best to crack jokes and stay loose. Sure, you want to stay extra-focused during the playoffs, but thinking about it every second of every day will drive you crazy.
One of the better ways to relieve stress was the Xbox 360 and our favorite game, "NBA 2K11." Both Lamar and I get really into it, and I went easy on him last week, playing with the Mavericks and letting him destroy me with the Lakers. Unfortunately, that didn't happen in real life, but it was a lot of fun to pretend.
Now that the Lakers have lost, the offseason is officially here for my family. We all wanted another championship this season, but I'm looking forward to hanging out with Lamar, who finally has some free time after a long season on the court. It's the silver lining in what's been an emotional time, and it probably will take a while to get over the shock of the Mavericks series. Obviously, I feel for Lamar, and I know he'll work harder than ever to get better for next season.
Some of the experts are saying the Lakers are done, but we all know that's not true. They will be back and hopefully better than ever!