- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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Lakers guard Shannon Brown wasn't spouting sour grapes, but he's still convinced his team is better than the Mavericks -- despite being down 3-0.
The Mavericks put the Lakers on the brink of elimination in the best-of-7 series with a 98-92 victory Friday at the American Airlines Center.
"No, for the simple fact they are capitalizing on what we’re not doing right," said Brown when asked if the Mavs are better. "We’re messing up, we’re beating ourselves and we’re losing games and losing leads and we’re giving it to them because we’re not doing what we’re supposed to be doing. You've got to give them credit for capitalizing off it and making shots, but it's just the simple fact that we’re not doing what were supposed to be doing."
And that is defending against open shots and controlling Dirk Nowitzki.
The Mavericks shot just 46.3 percent for the game, but Nowitzki scored a game-high 32 points on 12-19 shooting from the field.
The Lakers held an 85-78 lead with about five minutes left. But the Mavericks went on a 10-2 run and took an 88-87 lead when Nowitzki made two free throws with 2:40 to play.
"They do a great job of capitalizing on our mistakes, whether it's fast breaking or knocking down wide-open shots. Whatever it is, they are capitalizing off it," Brown said. "We can't make those mistakes and we have to do what we have to do on both ends of the court to win. There is no way we should lose a seven-point lead like that. It's just terrible."
No NBA team has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series, but Brown says the Lakers have no choice now but to try.
"Whether you beat yourself or the other team beats you, you still get an L," Mavericks center Brendan Haywood said. "We're not worried about that."
Mavericks guard Jason Terry said clinching the series is going to be harder Sunday than winning was on Friday night.
Told about Brown's comments, Terry said, "They're still the champs until we knock them off. They're the champions, we're still the underdogs."