In a game that was supposed to reveal answers, the Dallas Mavericks left with more questions as they suffered their worst loss of the season with a 110-82 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 28 points and Andrew Bynum added 18 points and 13 rebounds in the victory over the Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 27 points and 13 rebounds. Nowitzki had to carry the team as the supporting cast could not keep up with the two-time defending champions. The Mavs’ losing streak against Western Conference playoff teams was extended to seven games with the loss against the Lakers. The first six losses in that streak were by a total of 16 points. That goes to show that the 28-point loss was a total beatdown. The Lakers now have a game-and-a-half lead on the Mavericks and own the tie-break between the two teams. With seven games left, the Mavericks' chances of taking the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference have evaporated.
The game saw a tussle begin in the early moments of the fourth quarter when Jason Terry shoved Steve Blake from behind as the Lakers guard tried to go up for a layup. Blake responded by getting up off the floor and getting in Terry's face. As the two guards exchanged words, Lakers forward Matt Barnes got in the middle of it. Mavs assistant coach Terry Stotts tried to calm Barnes down and Barnes responded by pushing him into the first row of the crowd. Terry, Barnes, Blake and Brendan Haywood were ejected from the game. Los Angeles' Shannon Brown was later ejected in a separate altercation.
With the loss, the chase for the No. 2 seed is likely done. If they make it to the second round, they will be trying to steal the home-court advantage instead of trying to protect it. An emotionally deflating loss like this can leave a team at a fork in the road. With two games remaining on their six-game road trip, the Mavericks will have to decide whether to pick themselves up or stay down for the count.
Did THAT Just Happen?!
- The first major change of the evening saw Rodrigue Beaubois start out defending Kobe Bryant. It really did not work out as Bryant scored seven points in the opening quarter. Beaubois did everything he could, but Bryant was too much to handle for the young guard. Beaubois barely improved from his 1-7 performance in the previous game against the Lakers as he finished Thursday's game 2-8 with five points.
- Andrew Bynum continued to be an issue for the Mavericks. The man in the middle for the Lakers continued to impose his will on any big man the Mavericks threw his way. A healthy Andrew Bynum will give the Mavericks and any other team in the NBA major fits.
- Lamar Odom had his own mini-run to put the game away. The Mavericks entered the fourth quarter down 82-70 and were scratching and clawing just to keep it in that rage. Odom came out and hit back-to-back three-point baskets and followed that up with a driving layup. He scored half of his 16 points in that 85-second stretch.
- Well before the ejection, Jason Terry was having another rough night at the office. He finished the game 2-9 from the field and only scored five points. Terry's "stock" is falling, but people need to recognize that he's going through quite a difficult week. He had to travel back to his hometown of Seattle on Tuesday to attend the funeral of his aunt. With a rough shooting nights mounting up and a physical game brewing, the emotions got the best of Terry.
- Um...the fight. Tyson Chandler is going to need to send a thank you note or man-hug Brian Cardinal's way because Cardinal saved Chandler from a possible suspension. Chandler saw Matt Barnes push Terry Stotts into the first row of the crowd and Chandler wanted to defend his coach but he would have to leave the bench in the process if he wanted to, leading to a suspension. Luckily, Cardinal grabbed Chandler and held him back. Moments later, a fight broke out in the crowd and a fan wearing a Mavericks jersey was escorted out of the building. The craziness continued as a bottom-less woman (wearing just a bra) running down toward Mavs bench in the fourth quarter. Only in Los Angeles.
Box Score Revelations
- The Mavericks were crushed in the second-chance points category as the Lakers had 28 second-chance points to the Mavericks' nine.
- Dallas only had three players score in double figures (Nowitzki - 27, Stojakovic - 13 and Barea - 10). The Lakers had five players score in double figures. The Lakers used their physicality to get the Mavericks out of their flow offense and slowed the game down to their advantage.
- Dallas was averaging 31.0 points in the fourth quarter over the last three games. The Mavericks had outscored their opponents 93-63 in the fourth during that span. They were outscored 28-12 in the final quarter.
- Lost in the shuffle, Dirk Nowitzki recorded his 15th double-double of the season with his 27 points and 13 rebounds. The Mavericks are now 12-3 when Nowitzki records a double-double.
- The Mavericks continue to have their issues with turnovers and inaccuracy when it comes to shooting free throws. 10 of Dallas' 13 turnovers came in the second and third quarter. The Mavericks finished the game only shooting 69.6% (16-23) from the free throw line. The Lakers only had seven turnovers and shot 71.8% from the free throw line. The Lakers lived at the free throw line as they attempted 39 free throws and made 28 of them.
Tweetings From the Mavs Universe
- "Who is this Barerra Reggie is talking about?"
- "LA yall are nuts."
- "Hope Lakers and Mavs meet in playoffs"
- "Roddy has been playing like a Benetton model. Remind me to write hand-written apology to Carlisle for 'Free Roddy B' movement."
- "The great Heather Locklear just walked right in front of my seat. Having Melrose Place flashback fantasies"
- "I think you need to pick a fight with @espn_macmahon just to keep it real."
If You Don't Like What I Said, Read What They Said
- Jason Terry on his ejection (courtesy of Tim MacMahon and ESPN Dallas), "It’s been a long week for me. Emotions got the best of me tonight. I already apologized to the team. You just can’t let that happen in big games. But the game was getting out of hand, so things happen."
- Tyson Chandler on the loss, "It’s a reason why they’re the champions, they understand what it takes to win games like this, they understand what it takes to be on top of the mountain. And they know exactly what to do and how to take us out of our offense and frustrate us, and they did that tonight.
- Tyson Chandler on where they are at, "It's a good check. We have to grow up. If we are going to get to where we want to go, we are going to have nights like this, and we are going to have to step up to the challenge."
- Shawn Marion on the crowd, "We had a couple hecklers at the end talking some (expletive), but (expletive) them. Plain and simple, they can kiss my (expletive)."
- Mark Cuban on the loss (courtesy of Tim MacMahon and ESPN Dallas), "Every year teams are going to have games where they (expletive) the bed, right? That's just the way it goes. We haven't had one of these in a long time. It just came at the wrong time. That's all."
BG's Baller of the Game:
Baller status has been granted to Dirk Nowitzki, enough said. Honorable mention is going to Brian Cardinal due to his timeliness of grabbing Tyson Chandler and averting a possible suspension for leaving the bench.
The six-game road trip continues as they head to Oakland. The Mavericks look to sweep the season series and make it seven straight against the Golden State Warriors with a win in Oakland on Saturday. It will mark the third meeting between the two teams in a span of 18 days. Golden State has taken five of the last nine match-ups in Oakland, but Dallas has won the last three. Dallas recorded its largest margin of victory in the 28-point (101-73) win over Golden State on Mar. 20 (previous 19, 118-99, vs. Utah on 2/23/11). Dallas held the Warriors to an opponent-low 73 points. With the win, the Mavericks recorded their sixth consecutive victory over the Warriors, including their 11th in the last 14 match-ups.
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