The fans booed, the players sat dejectedly in the locker room, and the frustrated head coach chastised the officials.
But it's unlikely anyone in the Forum was more upset than Magic Johnson, who blasted the Lakers players and coaches after a 96-92 loss to Utah on Sunday sent them home for the summer.The more Johnson talked in the Forum catacombs, the madder he got. Eventually, he stopped in mid-sentence and walked away in disgust.
"We didn't make any adjustments," said Johnson, a five-time NBA champ who owns a small percentage of the team. "We played the same way for four games. I've never seen a team not get up (emotionally). There's something missing. There was no sense of urgency.
"I don't mind losing 4-0, but I do mind no sense of urgency. (Utah) is better than us, but they aren't 4-0 better than us. It bothers me. This is something we have to address. Dr. (Jerry) Buss is upset. I'm upset. This is not the way we're supposed to go out. . . . We beat ourselves because we didn't adjust."
Asked for specifics, Johnson pointed to Utah's reserves, who outscored their Lakers counterparts 29-22 on Sunday and 145-96 in the series.
"I don't understand how you can let a team's bench continue to dominate you," Johnson said. "Their bench beat us. Their hustle beat us. Their desire beat us."
Johnson praised Shaquille O'Neal, who scored 38 points Sunday and averaged 31.8 in the series. But just as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar languished until Johnson arrived in 1979, O'Neal could not survive without effective support.
"Shaquille was fabulous . . . but we've got to surround ourselves with players who want it as much as he wants it," Johnson said. "I don't think the desire is there. It starts with (the coach). It starts with the players. Everybody's to blame."
"(Guys) have to find out what's most important to them," he said. "If they don't want to play, then they need to ask for a trade. If they don't want to play, then get off my team."
Johnson was especially miffed at the Lakers' inability to stop Utah, which shot 51.4 percent from the field in the series thanks to numerous open jumpers and a pick-and-roll play the Lakers never figured out.
"We played like we'd never played them before, and that's what bothers me," Johnson said. "They come in (the lane), and we let them have layups. We come in, and they foul us."
The Lakers seemingly failed to adjust offensively, as well. Utah did not double-team O'Neal, choosing instead to smother the perimeter players who had been so effective against Seattle. The Jazz gambled that O'Neal, in single coverage, could not take the series by himself.
"It's true, we never had a good offensive plan other than throw it into Shaq," guard Nick Van Exel said. "We never did anything different to make them play different."
Johnson saved his most stinging criticism for the Lakers' attitude. He was especially baffled by their complaints about the officiating - complaints that began before Game 1 in Salt Lake City and continued Sunday, with coach Del Harris and several players lambasting the refs.
"We didn't show the class we're supposed to show," Johnson said. "Talking about the refs, talking about the (Utah) fans and all that. You're supposed to play.
"We set ourselves up at the beginning, talking about the refs and what Utah was going to do, how they held and grabbed. Well, I held and grabbed, that's the way you win. Who plays by the book? That's the way you win."