LOS ANGELES -- If Jason Terry was fazed by his alarmingly mindless foul on Lamar Odom's halfcourt heave with 0.7 seconds left in the half, he certainly wasn't saying so after the Dallas Mavericks' 96-94 comeback victory in Game 1.
"No, not at all," said Terry, who had a terrific first half with 13 of his 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting before the mishap. "Things happen throughout a game. We're a veteran team. That didn't really shake us or frazzle us. Again, we're tough."
At the time it certainly seemed as if it had the potential to sink the Mavs heading into halftime. Dallas led 38-33 with 5:38 to go in the second quarter and the Lakers started to make a run. L.A. seized the lead with a 20-6 finish, including 14-2 in final 2:30. The two came when Dirk Nowitzki scored with three seconds left in the half to pull Dallas within five points.
Then came Terry's brain freeze. Odom dribbled up the sideline and as he started to heave a buzzer beater from around midcourt, Terry chopped him, no doubt about it. Odom went to the line, hit all three and suddenly the Lakers' lead was eight. But, the damage wasn't complete. After the third free throw, Dirk Nowitzki jabbed an elbow at Ron Artest as the two locked up along the key.
Nowitzki got hit with a technical and Kobe Bryant made the free throw. It gave the Lakers a four-point play and a nine-point lead with virtually no time left on the clock.
"The last three seconds of the first half are things that may never happen to this team again, ever," Carlisle said. "And so we need to forget about that...It should've been a five-point game, but it wasn't."
The Mavs did recover. It took a poor start to the third quarter and a 60-44 deficit for Dallas to to wake up, but it buckled down defensively in the fourth quarter and held L.A. to 16 points to steal the win.
Nowitzki said the Game 1 win is nice, but he noted that the Lakers also dropped Game 1 to the New Orleans Hornets in the first round and won the series in six games. Nowitzki, though, knows what the Mavs can't do if they hope to take a 2-0 lead back to Dallas.
"We know in Game 2 we've just got to be careful," Nowitzki said. "We can't make any dumb mistakes like that."
Of course, in terms of the final 0.7 seconds, he could be talking about himself as much as Terry.