By Jason Wojciechowski on June 11, 2004 at 12:42 PM

With the Lakers atrocious loss last night, it looks more over than ever for this team. They've got to take one of the next two in Detroit to keep the series alive, and even then, Detroit's proved that they can win in L.A., so a win doesn't guarantee anything.

Let me take this opportunity, then, before the series ends, to point out a reason why I'll be happy even if the Lakers do end up losing the series and immortalizing themselves as the most dysfunctional team in the history of professional sports: Karl Malone still won't have a ring. I've hated the guy, as much as I hate any player (which, admittedly, isn't all that much, but still), ever since I became aware of him. Bernie Mac got it right the other day when he called Malone a dirty player. Malone is and always has been a bully, and as his skills have faded, his bullying seems to only have increased, as he tries desperately to hang on to his once formidable abilities to take over a game.

?ll also have a nice scapegoat for the season: Malone will be blamed for having brought his years and years of backlogged bad karma to the team, bringing his teammates down with him.