DeShawn Stevenson was assigned to Kobe-duty to start the game. Bryant went three for four to start, and Stevenson... well he shot a few threes that didn't go in. Dirk Nowitzki, however, was scoring in fancy fashion, and Tyson Chandler was able to put in a pretty lob from Jason Kidd. The Mavs found themselves an outside shot, and boom... they took the lead. They finished the quarter on a 10-4 run, and would have probably been able to score more if they hadn't settled for outside shots from Jose Barea.
The second quarter looked much the same as the first- both teams had fluid offense with not a lot of turnovers. The bench was able to come in and make a significant impact, even against LA's starting lineup. Dallas' big men were doing a noble job of clogging the paint, but more importantly, they avoided fouling. Well, except when Chandler and Pau Gasol exchanged words and were smacked with double technicals.
Jason Terry continued his hot shooting and led the Mavs in scoring. Dirk's hot shooting cooled, and after his strong start he went 1-6 to close out the half. As a matter of fact, in the last few moments of the half, Dallas looked unable to stop the Lakers. Heck, even Derek Fisher was running all over the place and slicing right to the rim. It looked to end on a semi-positive note when Dirk was able to go hard at the basket and score, but then Jason Terry fouled Lamar Odom approximately 70 fee from the basket as time ran out. Then after the three made free throws, Dirk got called for a technical foul for swinging an elbow. That wasn't how we wanted to end the half. At all.
The third quarter started badly. The Lakers came out swinging and surged ahead to a 16 point lead within the first few seconds, thanks to some shady ball handling by the Mavericks. Three turnovers on their first three possessions, to be exact. Coach Carlisle decided to throw Corey Brewer in the game for some defense, which pleased our fans mightily. It seemed to please the players as well, because they went on a little run of their own, which included an alley-oop from Shawn Marion up to Brewer. And then, as if to make some sort of point, Brewer hit a corner three to cap the 17-4 Mavericks spurt. What was once a 16 point lead was cut to four, and done so in style. They did make some silly plays, however, and finished out the quarter down 7.
The final period started MUCH better than the previous one, with Dirk making "unguardable" shots and Peja Stojakovic hitting a timely three. Then the great and wondrous German hit a three pointer and the 16 point lead became just one. But for whatever reason, the Mavericks just couldn't get over that one point hump. They kept it close, however, and answered every insane Kobe shot with something special, including a nasty alley-oop from Kidd to Chandler. We were all excited to see the two best closers in the game, and Dirk and Kobe did not disappoint.
With 20 seconds left in the game, Dallas forced a turnover and a foul gave them possession on their end of the floor. When Kidd threw the ball in he got it to Dirk, who was fouled by Gasol without a foul to give. He calmly hit both free throws to give the Mavericks a one point lead with 19 seconds. Kidd's lockdown defense forced a turnover and a foul. He only hit one of two to put Dallas up two with three seconds to play. But then Bryant tried a three on the Lakers' final play and couldn't hit, and the Mavericks stole game one, 96-94.
If only you knew how hard I was shaking as I wrote the final paragraph... you would be so impressed that I even managed to finish this recap.