Corey Brewer helps lift Mavs from 'dire' straits


LOS ANGELES -- Corey Brewer found out he'd be active for Game 1 after the team shootaround Monday morning. He had no idea if he'd play or what the circumstances would be if he was called upon.

He never imagined 60-44 Lakers and the game quickly slipping away with about 10 minutes to go in the third quarter.

"I just hoped I'd have a chance to get in," Brewer said. "He put me in the game and said, 'Let's go.' I just tried to bring some energy and get our team going."

By the time Brewer's lone, eight-minute, 21-second stint ended -- doubling his entire playing time of the previous series -- the Mavs trailed by just five, 71-66, and Brewer had contributed five points, including a corner 3-pointer, an assist that ended in a Tyson Chandler slam, a steal, a rebound and an entirely new outlook on the game.

"I thought Brewer came in, really changed the game for us," Dirk Nowitzki said.

Entering Game 1, Carlisle had to decide to activate Brewer or Rodrigue Beaubois. It was Brewer who did not dress in Game 6 at Portland, but against the Lakers' size with Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest, Carlisle opted for his 6-foot-9 energizer.

"We needed energy. We needed enthusiasm," Carlisle said. "Ever since we got Brewer, he's come into practice every day with a phenomenal attitude. He has worked to get better and has gotten better. He had opportunities to go to other teams for more money and as good a winning situation as ours was. You're talking about a kid who won two national championships in a row, so he knows about big games.

"We got in a dire situation and he went in there and made some good things happen for us."

At halftime, Jason Terry, who made the boneheaded play of fouling Lamar Odom on a halfcourt heave with less than a second to go that put the Mavs down nine, told Brewer to be ready to play.

Brewer said the confidence shown by the veteran Terry fired him up.

"It shows that the guys are counting on you," Brewer said. "It shows they want me to go in and do good for the team. When a guy like Jet tells me to be ready, it means a lot. I just wanted to help the team any way I can."

About the only thing that didn't go so well for Brewer was having to guard the red-hot Bryant, who scored 15 of his 36 points in the third quarter, including 10 in a row. Bryant sized up Brewer on several occasions and buried jumpers over him.

"It's tough, man, especially when he's got it going and he had it going already," Brewer said. "You just try to make it tough, but he made some tough shots."