As the Lakers walked onto the American Airlines Center court, a flood of memories flashed in their minds. The Lakers have had many battles with the Dallas Mavericks, and these two Western Conference teams have no sympathy for each other. Mark Cuban has ridiculed the Lakers players and coaches, and most recently he had some unkind words for Phil Jackson. The Lakers and Mavericks added another chapter to their rivalry, and this time the battle field was in Dallas.
The Lakers and Mavericks were exchanging buckets in the opening minutes of the game. Both teams were hitting their shots, but they were unable to get a defensive stop on the other end of the court. The lead was being switched on nearly every possession and five minutes into the game the Lakers had a mere one point lead, 9-8.
The Lakers opened up a five point lead after going on a 6-0 run, and momentum had completely shifted their way. The Mavs cut the lead to one later in the quarter, but the Lakers did not take their foot off the gas pedal. The first quarter concluded with the Lakers leading by eight, 31-23. The Lakers hit their last seven shots of the quarter, and they were shooting an astonishing 62% from the field.
The Lakers were very successful on the offensive end, but they had to buckle-down on defense in order to win the game. Phil Jackson inserted his bench to begin the quarter, and he hoped the fresh legs would expand the lead.
The Lakers continued to attack the Mavericks and they were hitting most of their shots; despite the fact that the Mavs cut the lead to one in the opening minutes of the quarter, the Lakers responded with another run. At the midway point of the second quarter the Lakers had a ten point lead, 45-35.
The Lakers’ starters were subbed back into the game, but they allowed the Mavs to cut into the lead. The Mavericks turned the Lakers’ ten point advantage to a mere four point lead going into half-time. Kobe and Company were ahead 56-52, and they were shooting 56% from the field. The game’s leading scorer was Pau Gasol, who had 17 points and three rebounds.
The Lakers opened up the second half attacking the basket, and they were getting most of their points from the paint. The Lakers were playing with more intensity, and the Mavs were forced to take tough contested shots. At the 6:50 mark of the third quarter, the Lakers opened up a seven point lead, 64-57.
However, just as the Lakers were on the verge of pulling away, the Mavs answered back with a run of their own. The Mavericks rallied from ten down, to take a one point lead with four minutes left in the period.
The Lakers were beginning to become careless with the basketball, and turnovers were a major problem for them in the quarter. The Mavericks ended the quarter hitting nearly every shot they attempted and Jason Kidd became “red hot” from behind the arc. Despite an auspicious start to the quarter, the Lakers entered the final period trailing 82-73.
The Lakers entered the fourth quarter trailing by nine points, and they had to play with more effort if they wanted to win the game. The Mavericks were finding their groove on offense, and the Lakers needed to increase their defensive intensity to counter the Mavs’ shooting.
However, just three minutes into the quarter the Mavericks expanded their lead to 13, 90-77. The Lakers’ bench could not stop the Mavs, and Phil Jackson was irate with his team’s effort on the defensive end.
The Lakers could never bounce back from the 13 point deficit, and they eventually lost the game 109-100. The Lakers fell to a record of 31-13, and their next game will be Friday vs. the Denver Nuggets.