All good things must come to an end.
The Mavericks lost 109-93 to the Lakers, with rough shooting nights all-around. Dirk, averaging 28.5 points in the past four, scored 26 but just did not have the efficiency, putting up 24 shots to get there. On a different night, against a different team, that is often enough to get the job done. Not tonight, though. The Lakers got thirty from Kobe on just eighteen shots, 27 from Pau Gasol who hit practically every mid range jumper he attempted, and a solid 17 and 9 from new acquisition Ramon Sessions.
The combination of these three was too much to handle, who were forced to improvise on defense. Still missing Haywood and Marion, the Mavericks lacked the size to handle the Lakers down low and the one on one defense to check Kobe. As a result, they were forced to constantly double team both down low and on the wings, giving up long shots to collapse the paint. Unfortunately, the oft-poor shooting Lakers filled it up at a 50% clip from outside tonight, not counting the numerous long jumpers just inside the three point line.
Considering the injuries and the respective shooting nights for both teams, this loss was both predictable and expected. It doesn't make it any easier to swallow, though, losing to hated Los Angeles, and more importantly, a fellow West playoff contender. The Mavs play in San Antonio on Friday, a meeting which provides an excellent chance make things right.
Bullets following the jump.
- Dirk's jumper was just not there tonight. He got looks from all over, and excluding the back-to-back three pointers he nailed in the third, had no ability to knock them down. You could see him trying his best, throwing out the one footed fadeaway's and stepbacks and settling for simple pull-ups, but it was just not to be. Never underestimate him, though, as he salvaged a potentially horrible night into an average one by aggressively attacking the hole. He made six shots in the paint, drew several fouls, and looked quite spry and active.
- Dirk's pick and roll partner Terry had an interesting stat line. 23 points on fourteen shots is a very effective shooting night, but excluding one rebound, he provided nothing else. I don't really know what to make of this, but it's hard to knock the guy because his one role is making shots. He did so tonight, so credit to him, and hopefully we see some of the same efficient shot making in coming games.
- Roddy Beaubois had a much more up and down night, for certain. Bad Roddy was back in force for the first time in several games, as the Frenchman jacked up way too many long, contested jumpers. He didn't completely forget to drive the ball, though, dishing out five assists to just one turnover mainly due to some solid dribble penetration. The hustle was there, too, as he hit the floor a couple times in pursuit of the ball. Despite the 3/12 shooting, I still like what he brought, he's just gotta figure out that a driving floater is a much better shot for him and for the Mavericks offense than an eighteen foot pullup.
- Ian Mahinmi and Brandan Wright did what they could, but they are just not physical enough to deal with the Gasol/Bynum tandem. Offensively, fifteen points on 5/9 shooting is a solid night from the center position. The Mavericks need Haywood back when playing teams with size like the Lakers, but he's certainly going to be losing even more minutes to these two against smaller opposition.
- Ramon Sessions looks like a really good fit for the Lakers. His quickness is a new wrinkle for the old, stagnant Lakers offense, and helps the ball move a lot more. Los Angeles struggles shooting the three, but Session was able to get some wide open looks via the drive and kick, and even Matt Barnes can knock those down from time to time. He also seems to have developed a three point shot of his own this year, which he flaunted tonight.
- Seriously, though, tonight was just a bad combination of a lot of things. Rough shooting, injured players, overpowering size and Lakers making their shots is not something that can be overcome. Gear up for Friday; playoffs are just four and a half weeks away.