The Mavericks’ 93-91  defeat of the Lakers Wednesday night leaves Los Angeles in the uncomfortable position of trailing 2-0 in the Western Conference semi-finals with the series heading to Dallas, a scenario that has the LA Times’ resident gourmand Bill Plaschke (above) looking for someone to blame. “He has a great smile, a warm personality, two rings’ worth of skills, and the love of Lakers fans who will forever link the team’s three-year resurgence to his arrival,” writes Plaschke (perhaps one-handed). “He is also disappearing before our disbelieving eyes?

The melting that began in the first round against New Orleans ended in a puddle on the Staples Center floor Wednesday when Gasol was once again pushed, shoved, and battered into the sort of submission that the other Lakers could not overcome.

Maybe he’s suffering the fatigue of playing so many early season minutes while manning the middle until Bynum returned from his ill-timed surgery. Maybe his naturally docile nature has finally buckled under the pressure of overcoming a “soft” tag for three consecutive brawling springs.

When the game finally ended, Gasol walked quickly off the floor with his head down and his team sprawled. At least now, maybe folks will start correctly pronouncing his first name.

That’s Pau, as is Pow, as in flattened.