Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Lakers 73, Mavs 70
By Jeff Caplan
LOS ANGELES -- How it happened: Both teams had to feverishly scrap just to make sure they didn't pull off all-time franchise lows for points. Those records -- 70 for the Los Angeles Lakers and 62 for the Dallas Mavericks are safe for now -- but this one was ugly at the start and it only got uglier, including a third quarter that saw a combined 23 points, seven scored by the Lakers.
Ultimately, poor turnovers by the Mavs, one by Dirk Nowitzki and another by Jason Kidd, in the fourth quarter helped to give the Lakers just enough of a burst to go on 10-0 run for a 66-59 lead at around the four-minute mark. Still, with neither team cracking 40 percent shooting, no one was going to run away. Just nibbling back was difficult enough for the Mavs in the final four minutes.
Andrew Bynum made it 70-65 with 2:01 to go, but then Ian Mahinmi got an extra-effort tip-in and Kidd hit one of two free throws after he stripped Matt Barnes and got fouled to make it 70-68.
With a chance to tie, Nowitzki went to his step-back move against Pau Gasol, but Gasol stuck with him and Nowitzki tried to duck under him and traveled. It still wasn't over because Kobe Bryant, just 7-of-22 for 14 points, missed his 15th shot of the game and Jason Terry took an open lane and dropped a floater to tie it at 70 with 9.9 seconds to go.
Kobe time right? Wrong. Bryant, who entered the game with four consecutive 40-point performances, got the inbounds pass and deferred, passing over to Derek Fisher on the wing, who softly dropped a high floater from 3-point range with 3.1 seconds to go. Vince Carter missed a last-gasp 3.
The Lakers scored seven points in the third quarter, a franchise-low for a Mavs opponent in a quarter, but the Mavs could build a five-point lead, 61-56, and never led by more than six. L.A. never led by more than seven and shot 38.2 percent, just bettering the Mavs' awful 35 percent.
Nowitzki led all scorers with 21 points on 8-of-17 shooting. Lamar Odom, in his return to L.A., got off to a hot start, hitting his first two shots and finishing with seven points in the first quarter. But he finished 4-of-12 for 10 points.
Bynum had the best stats in a game that was a statistical horror story. He had 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting with 15 rebounds.
What it means: Dallas’ five-game win streak went down the grinder as the Mavs fell to 8-6. Now they’ll have a day to work on their shooting before returning to Staples Center on Wednesday night to face L.A.’s newest glamour team, the Clippers, although Chris Paul’s status is in doubt due to a hamstring injury.
Play of the game: After stripping Bryant just past midcourt, Shawn Marion quickly dribbled upcourt along the right wing and fed a beautiful behind-the-back pass to trailing Dirk Nowitzki down the lane for a two-handed dunk that cut the Lakers’ lead to 43-42 at the 8:51 mark of the third quarter. Kidd followed with his first made jumper after an 0-of-6 first half for a 44-43 lead.
Stat of the day: The Lakers, who were awful from beyond the 3-point line in the playoffs against the Mavs, missed their first nine attempts put up by five players. Fisher ended the shutout with the game-winning 3 with 3.1 seconds to go. The Mavs, who were amazing from 3-point land in the second-round sweep, were awful Monday, making just 4-of-26 with Kidd going 0-of-8.