Rapid Reaction: Mavericks 99, Lakers 91
How it happened: Asked how the Dallas Mavericks could survive the absence of their only star, coach Rick Carlisle said the Mavericks needed to be a team of go-to guys.
That looks like a pretty smart solution after the Mavs’ shockingly convincing win over the Los Angeles Lakers, a loaded team considered by many to be the Western Conference favorites.
All nine Mavericks who played double-digit minutes scored at least seven points. Six scored in double figures: Darren Collison (17 points), Brandan Wright (14), O.J. Mayo (12), Rodrigue Beaubois (11), Shawn Marion (11) and Vince Carter (11).
The undersized Mavs, missing two 7-foot starters, managed to be respectable in the rebounding department and prevented the Lakers’ All-Star frontcourt duo from dominating in the paint. Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol combined for 42 points, a respectable total but one the Mavs could live with considering Wright made his first start at center and Eddy Curry played significant minutes less than a week after being claimed off of waivers.
The out-of-sync Lakers’ shooting woes certainly helped the Mavs’ cause. L.A. was 3-of-13 from 3-point range and 12-of-31 from the line.
Dirk Nowitzki watching from his couch in Dallas and Chris Kaman wearing a suit while sitting next to Mark Cuban behind the bench. This was an awfully impressive opener for a Mavs team that entered the season with the lowest external expectations in a dozen years.
Play of the game: After catching the ball on the left wing, Marion blew by Antawn Jamison with a baseline drive and dunked over Jordan Hill despite a foul. The and-1 slam answered a Jamison three-point play that opened fourth-quarter scoring and quieted a Staples Center crowd searching for a reason to get fired up.
Stat of the night: Collison surpassed Mavs point guard predecessor Jason Kidd’s 2011-12 season-high scoring total (15 points) at the 6:31 mark of the third quarter.
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Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to talk about who he would rather have if forced to choose between Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.
Play Podcast Tim MacMahon joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the possibility of Chris Paul joining the Mavericks and break down what kind of pitch Mark Cuban would have to make to the NBA's best point guard.
Play Podcast ESPN.com senior NBA writer Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to touch on the storylines in the NBA playoffs and offer a Mavs perspective.
Play Podcast Rick Carlisle joins Chuck Cooperstein and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Mavericks' disappointing season and what needs to happen for them to get back to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Donnie Nelson joins Chuck Cooperstein and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Mavericks' season and the importance of this summer.
Play Podcast Rick Carlisle joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Mavericks playing after being eliminated from playoff contention, whom he wants to keep for next season and much more.