The Lakers look like the walking wounded with many of their stars (Artest, Bryant, Vujacic, and Gasol) nursing injuries, although they don’t have it half as bad as the Portland Trail Blazers. On the flip side, the Dallas Mavericks have all the keys to get the job done (especially with Josh Howard and Drew Gooden available) and have completed a trade to bring back an old Dallas favorite (Najera).
The last meeting between the Mavericks and Lakers saw Dallas suffer a crushing 35-point defeat from a team that looked like it was firing on all cylinders even without Gasol.
Do the Mavericks come out looking to prove something or fail to defend their home court?
Game as a Whole:
Even an historic night from Dirk Nowitzki (he surpasses the 20,000 points mark) couldn’t save the Mavericks from taking another loss at home. The Mavericks were close through out the game but when it really mattered, they couldn’t lock down the Lakers on the defensive end of the floor.
You can’t really ask Dirk to do much more than he did tonight (30 points and 16 rebounds) but his teammates sure left something to be desired. Jason Terry managed only 7-points, Erick Dampier had 5, and the previously hot Barea has cooled significantly (scoring only 6 points). The game should not have come down to scoring but the Mavericks just didn’t have the intensity they needed to keep Jordan Farmar, among others, from scoring when it mattered.
Looking at all the other stats for the game, the Mavericks were just behind the Lakers in almost every category. If the Mavericks and Lakers do meet in the playoffs, Dallas has to figure out how to get a few extra possessions, which can make the difference against this squad.
Let’s look at the quarters…
- 16 more points until Dirk gets to 20,000 points
- Howard will play tonight!
- 11:44, Dirk gets his first bucket to get closer to his mark!
- Howard’s been gone a while… he forgot how to defend.
- 10:38, Dampier is in tonight, and he starts his night by getting a big bear hug from Artest for a foul under the basket. First shot rims out, second drops.
- 9:52, Howard misses a jumper but hustles in for the rebound and puts it back in for a score, thanks to good defense under the basket from Dampier.
- Once again, an annoying lack of offensive rebounding. Carlisle is not pleased and takes a time out.
- 7:30, Kobe can’t find anyone to throw in to, and gets a 5-second call. Oops.
- 7:06, Mavericks capitalize on the turnover. With some great passing and great second chance opportunities, Howard scores.
- 6:20, More great passing leads to a 3 from Kidd.
- 4:33, Dirk makes a nice jumper from the top of the key. Inching closer…
- 3:54, Gooden with a solid dunk.
- 1:38, Singleton gets some playing time (misses his first three). Marion also just missed two free throws.
- 1:04, Kobe Bryant is short on a three, he is clearly playing hurt tonight. The West is all about who is hurt on a given night since all the teams are competitive.
- :27.3, Two passes thrown away by the Lakers in less than 15 seconds. Mavericks waste all of the shot clock and don’t get to take a shot.
- Andrew Bynum dominated in the first quarter. Lucky for the Mavericks, he picked up his second foul early. Let’s see if he can keep his rhythm when he gets back in.
- 11:38, Welcome back JJ Barea. Where have you been?
- 11:20, Drew Gooden scores a bucket on pure hustle (goal tend on a put back). No wonder he goes out for a game or two after every game; he exerts himself too much.
- 10:40, Barea passes up an open three (something he would normally take if he was playing more) and blows a layup.
- 10:20, Farmar doesn’t like that he picks up an offensive foul (Barea draws the foul) and he is rewarded with a tech for his troubles.
- 10:05, Barea gives the Mavericks the lead on a runner. If they are trying to limit Kidds minutes tonight, we may see Roddy.
- 9:49, Andrew Bynum comes back way early in the game. Mavericks should try to get a mismatch on Bynum and get him to pick up another foul.
- 9:04, Mavericks have blown 3 layups in the paint in the second quarter alone.
- 7:58, Terry and Barea have to fight for a loose ball but they eventually score a basket.
- 7:04, Unsure why Howard is defending Luke Walton for the score rather than for the pass. He makes up for it with a three.
- Mavericks are bringing an immediate double team every time Bynum touches the ball now; it’s a good choice.
- 4:26, Fast break bucket for the Mavericks.
- 3:59, Lakers don’t hustle back on defense and Dirk is the first one down the court and is fouled by Josh Powell (who just shot a three).
- 3:44, Nowitzki denies Odom at the basket. Odom tries to flop but the refs aren’t having any of that.
- 3:13, Jason Kidd hits a three (the refs review it, but surprisingly it sticks).
- 2:57, Dampier picks up his third on what could have been a travel on Bynum.
- Mavericks are executing better on the defense end, denying the Lakers easy inbounding opportunities.
- 2:35, Nowitzki picks up the foul against Odom (he bites on the pump fake).
- Dirk is now seven points away from 20,000.
- 2:03, Dirk goes glass and gets the roll. Almost bounced off the rim but the soft touch keeps it in.
- After an Andrew Bynum travel, Jason Terry high-fives the crowd.
- :50.1, Marion throws up a floater when he should have tried to dunk.
- :25.6, Loose ball foul on Artest gives the Mavericks another chance at the lead.
- Mavericks make a push but an iffy end to the quarter (Ron Artest draws a foul at with .2 left on the clock) keeps the Lakers in front.
- Kobe is back for the second half.
- 10:47, Marion scores the first points of the half for the Mavericks. Game is still close. Josh Howard gets a steal.
- 10:23, Another quick basket in transition for Marion.
- 9:50, Josh Howard is starting the second half and he already has a nice jump shot and a steal.
- 9:11, Dampier runs the slowest fast break I have ever seen. Marion feeds him the ball gently like a parent would toss a ball to his child.
- 8:03, Josh Howard hits a quick three. He is definitely looking like his old self. All this rest will pay off for him.
- 6:47, All Marion shoots now are runners. I haven’t seen him take a three or a jump shot in ages.
- 4:38, Marion ties the game on a flush.
- Mavericks have gone to a late double team on Bynum just as he shoots. Seems to be throwing off his rhythm.
- 3:35, Drew Gooden gets caught on a spin lob. Bynum has his number on the offensive end due to the height difference.
- Dirk thinks the ball touched the end line, ref disagrees and gives him a tech.
- 1:19, Jason Kidd drills a three with Kobe’s hand in his face. Kobe ties the game back up. Seems the Mavericks can’t get a stop to hold the lead.
- 11:45, Jason Terry finally makes a basket. He was 0 for 7 previously.
- 10:54, Baseline jumper gives Nowitzki 20,001. I am sure he would trade that milestone for a win tonight.
- 10:21, Dirk shows no emotion as he gets the standing ovation. He is a competitor at heart and knocks down two free throws to pull the Mavericks to within three.
- 9:37, Another floater and another miss for Shawn Marion.
- 8:46, Gooden pulls a disappearing act on Mbenga with a sick spin move.
- 7:41, Dirk moves around a double team and gets a basket at the rim.
- 6:39, Barea hits a scoop and now has six points.
- 5:22, Dirk gets his second basket going to the rim. He is trying to get the Lakers in foul trouble.
- 4:00, Make that three straight baskets for Dirk. Now the Mavericks need stops.
- 2:47, Terry gets a three after a Dirk block. Josh Howard also grabs a block.
- 2:00, Lakers refuse to close the door on the Mavericks. Dirk hits a short jumper and Dallas is only down 3. Phil Jackson doesn’t take a timeout.
- :42.5, Dirk hits the three to tie the game on his historic night. Can we say, clutch?
- Dampier gets a chance to tie the game on free throws but misses both.
- Howard misses the three-pointer to tie the game. Mavericks fall to the Lakers again.
Some Choice Statistics:
- Dirk has 1,106 three pointers.
- Dirk is currently the Mavericks all time leading scorer, rebounder, and three pointer shooter.
- Dirk gets a season 16 rebounds to go with his 30 points.
Tonight’s loss was all about execution on the defensive end. The Lakers got stops when the Mavericks either took a lead or tried to tie the game. The Mavericks, on the other hand, couldn’t buy a stop tonight. There are no easy games in the NBA but you don’t get much better of a chance to beat the Lakers when Gasol is out and Kobe only scores 10 points. It’s unclear what the Mavericks can do to right the ship defensively.