This is on the short list of the best playoff shooting exhibitions ever. The Mavs tied an NBA postseason record in 3-pointers made by a team (20-of-32) and player (Jason Terry's 9-of-10). They shot 60.3 percent from the floor, which was possible in part due to outstanding ball movement. The Mavs finished with 32 assists, including their first 10 buckets. The bench was simply unbelievable with 86 points, as Terry (32 points), J.J. Barea (22) and Peja Stojakovic (21) became the first reserve trio to each score at least 20 in a playoff game.
Dominant team defensive performances are beginning to feel like the norm for the Mavs, who have allowed the fewest points per game during the playoffs of any team still alive. This ranks among Dallas' best. The Lakers made only 37.8 percent of their shots from the floor. Kobe Bryant flamed out after a phenomenal first quarter, when he scored 13 of his 17 points, the second straight game he's finished with that total. Bryant missed nine of his last 10 shots from the floor.
It's not a coincidence that Rick Carlisle has advanced to the conference finals with each of the three franchises that he has coached. He's good. The Mavs have embraced his emphasis on defense, and credit goes to Carlisle and assistant coach Dwane Casey for devising schemes that mask certain players' defensive weaknesses. Carlisle made sure the Mavs didn't have a letdown after building a 3-0 lead. And his decisions to rest Jason Kidd and Peja Stojakovic in the regular season paid off big in this series.
This wasn't a dominant Dirk performance. It didn't need to be. It was effective, with the Mavs outscoring the Lakers by 37 points during his 32 minutes. The Lakers doubled Dirk more often than they had all series, limiting him to 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. He happily passed to his open teammates, getting four assists and several more of the hockey variety (pass that leads to the assist). And Dirk's defense once again played a major role in Pau Gasol being a nonfactor.