January has not been kind to the Mavericks. They've faced a gauntlet of title contenders with feisty eastern conference foes sprinkled in. Coming off a Sunday afternoon collapse in Houston, the Mavs were more than happy to see the 9-37 Lakers. This was supposed to be the final matchup between Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki, but Kobe was a late scratch with a sore shoulder.
Without Kobe, the young Lakers gave the Mavericks fits all evening. Jordan Clarkson and D'Angelo Russell got to the rim at will and created easy buckets for their teammates. The Lakers were on a parade to the free throw line in the first half due to all the penetration from the Laker guards. But in the end, it wasn't enough.
Dirk thwarted Father Time once again and drained a silky game winner with two seconds to go, with the Mavericks holding on for a 92-90 win. Never leave us, Dirk.
Dirk nails the shot then Kobe gives him props pic.twitter.com/7oA1L412RL— Tim Cato (@tim_cato) January 27, 2016
Chandler Parsons is here to stay
When Parsons signed a $46 million contract in a poorly lit Orlando nightclub, this is the player he thought he'd become. He came into tonight's game shooting 59 percent from the field and 66 percent on threes. Parsons tallied 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists. He's really found his groove over the last two weeks, especially at the power forward position. Carlisle gave Parsons nearly all the minutes at the backup 4 position, which, if it stays, means Charlie Villanueva should be almost non-existent for the rest of the season on the floor. Parsons also grabbed a season-high in rebounds with nine. If he can hold his own in that department, he'll see more minutes at the 4, which can truly unlock his skill set.
A wild J.J. Barea appeared
The undrafted Puerto Rican wonder poked and prodded the Lakers all evening. With Devin Harris nursing a bad toe, Barea injected life into the second unit. He used Dirk's spacing to maniupalte the Laker big men with clever floaters and cagey layups. The offense would have died a horrible death in the first half if not for Barea's burst in the second quarter. Jub Jub's over dribbling can be maddening at times, but when he can finds the crease in a defense, he can be a really fun player.
Always and forever Dirk
Dirk started this game 1-7 from the field looking every bit of 37 years old. The Big German couldn't get it going and got in early foul trouble. But as he's done for 18 years now, Dirk showed up in winning time. With five fouls to his name, Dirk avoided fouling out and punished the young Lakers in the post. After Dirk dropped the game winning jumper on the right baseline, he and Kobe exchanged pleasantries for a brief moment; real recognize real. It's the final moment these two titans will share and the court, and it's one we'll remember forever.