Nash, Howard Debut But Lakers Fall to Mavericks in Opener Reviewed by Momizat on . The Los Angeles Lakers started the 2012 season Tuesday night at Staples against the Mavericks, giving eager fans a first glimpse of the new-look team in real ac The Los Angeles Lakers started the 2012 season Tuesday night at Staples against the Mavericks, giving eager fans a first glimpse of the new-look team in real ac Rating:
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Nash, Howard Debut But Lakers Fall to Mavericks in Opener

The Los Angeles Lakers started the 2012 season Tuesday night at Staples against the Mavericks, giving eager fans a first glimpse of the new-look team in real action. With both teams reeling from disappointing and unimpressive losses to the Thunder in their destruction of the West en route to the Finals, major changes were made in an effort to surround with championship-level cores with more talent.

Mavericks short players due to injuries. The Mavericks already started the game down several players, as superstar Dirk Nowitzki as well as center Chris Kaman suffered injuries preventing play. The Mavericks also waived Delonte West Tuesday, a spark off the bench last season with 20 points in his last appearance against the Lakers.

Chemistry is the key early in the season. The key details to watch include on-court interactions between the new pieces, such as how Dwight Howard cleared passing lanes for Steve Nash or the aggressiveness of Pau Gasol with Dwight Howard also on the court.

First Quarter

The Laker starters were Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, and Dwight Howard. The first Laker bucket of the season came on a Steve Nash swish from down town. The Mavericks followed with a three of their own before Dwight Howard showcased a pretty hook shot, scoring his first points as a Laker. Kobe scored the next two points on a layup and the Laker “Big Three” were all quickly on the board.

The Laker defense was active, forcing the Mavericks to a 2-8 start from the field. Active closeouts and drawn charges were present as well as rotations. The speed of Maverick point guard Darren Collison did seem to be a problem early for the Lakers.

The Lakers did show some signs of offensive confusion, as the shot clock occasionally ran down below five without a clean look. The newly instituted Princeton offense, heavily dependent on player reads and interpretation of defensive schemes, seemed effective though not sharp. The highs and lows of the offensive were shown in the juxtaposition of two consecutive plays: one in which Nash was stuck with the ball as the shot clock dwindled below five, and another in which Pau Gasol made a beautiful assist to Dwight Howard for the easy slam.

The bench started off with a turnover but followed it up with a Jodie Meeks three pointer hitting the bottom of the net and a fast break score leading to a Jordan Hill dunk. Those two aspects of the offense were missing in action last year.  The Lakers finished the quarter with a 29-25 lead.


Second Quarter

The second quarter was one of the Lakers’ worst last year, but new tools on the bench are expected to change that. The second quarter opened with two straight inside buckets as the Lakers repeatedly pounded the ball inside. Eddy Curry and Shawn Marion were proving to be no match for the massive size of the Lakers.

Despite the being undersized, the Mavericks played with speed and cut the deficit to three multiple times before the Lakers continue to run the offense through Dwight Howard. As Howard struggled at the line and the offense sputtered, the Mavericks soon took a 37-35 lead, capped off as Steve Nash had his pocket picked in the back court.

Rookie Jae Crowder was a nice surprise for the Mavericks as he made his second three pointer of the night while later knocking the ball away from Kobe. The Laker bench was quickly outscored 20-9. The struggling offense continued to attack inside with the two seven footers but consistently lost the hustle plays. With a minute to go in the quarter, Metta World Peace came up with a crafty steal before dishing it to Pau on the fast break. Plays like this were notably absent last year. A Darren Collison basket with one second to go put the Mavs up by two at halftime.


Third Quarter

The Lakers started the third quarter with shaky offense once again, as no one seemed adjusted to his role. Dwight Howard continued to struggle from the line, coming off a 49 percent free throw shooting season.

The teams traded buckets before Darren Collison once again took advantage of his speed to put the Mavericks up by seven as the Lakers looked completely disoriented. Consecutive buckets showcasing Kobe Bryant’s offensive skills pulled the Lakers within three before the Mavericks continued to trade baskets.

The growing frustration of the Lakers was evident in Dwight Howard’s foul resulting in a Flagrant-one. The Laker offense was void of any proper execution, as points continually came from mishaps.

Mike Brown made the decision to execute a more traditional style of offense as the ball was merely dumped in to the big men on multiple possessions. As Pau Gasol continued to set up from just inside the three point line, he adopted a new aggressiveness and continually powered into the middle to make plays.

Steve Nash and Kobe ran a little two man game for the first time that resulted in a bucket for Bryant before Eddy Curry answered right back for the Mavs. By the four minute mark the Lakers had shot 50 percent from the field in the third quarter compared the Maverick 69 percent.

Dallas continued the hot shooting as the lead was stretched to 10 and the Maverick bench had outscored their Laker counterparts by 18. Kobe continued the struggle with a bad shot and Pau Gasol could not finish the second opportunity. Jordan Hill was a catalyst with a put back and a fast break opportunity.  Though he missed both free throws, the Lakers soon found Pau Gasol on a fast break dunk before a hot Vince Carter nailed a jumper and the Lakers missed two wide open three point attempts. The Lakers ended the horrific quarter trailing by eight.

Fourth Quarter

The Lakers started out the fourth quarter well with an awkward three point play from Antawn Jamison; it was soon answered when Shawn Marion claimed a three point play of his own. Jordan Hill grabbed yet another offensive rebound, showing his gritty side on the boards.

With the Lakers back down by 10 after continuous impressive shots from Vince Carter, Dwight Howard scored inside while drawing the foul. To no one’s surprise, Howard’s free throw clanked off the rim.

The mistakes continued to pile on as the Maverick lead expanded with Kobe, Pau, and Steve Nash all on the bench. Kobe finally returned with Pau and Steve Nash at the nine minute mark and the Lakers trailing by 13. Spectacular saves and hustle plays, including tip ins, stretched the lead to 15 for Dallas. Brick after brick was laid down by the offense as horrific struggles continued.

Kobe hit a spectacular rainbow shot with two on the shot clock to spark some life into the Lakers, but the momentum was extinguished by a strategic Rick Carlisle time out. The crowd was momentarily galvanized by a Maverick shot clock violation, unfortunately a slipshod following possession and a Maverick three point play crushed nearly all chances of a comeback. The Lakers’ offense was out of sorts as players were not expecting straightforward passes and distress in body language expressed confusion.

Steve Nash saw an opening and penetrated right down the middle with five minutes to go, yet the Dallas lead still felt insurmountable. Members of the crowd stood on their feet for the first time in a while and an enthusiastic defense chant ensued following a Dwight Howard field goal. An emphatic Shawn Marion dunk basically sealed the deal. The Lakers traded baskets the rest of the way while saving some energy for a road match up tomorrow night in Portland, where they have struggled in the past. The final score was 99-91.


What we saw. Flashes of an incredible future, yet the unfortunate nadirs of a struggling offense were all present. There was a direct contrast with the team chemistry of the Mavericks and the diffidence of the confused Lakers. The new toys were less than stunning throughout the game as an ugly offensive performance led to a long night for Lakers’ fans. Some may be inclined to panic about the Lakers’ future for this season resulting in a mere overreaction.

As the players mesh and learn to play with each other, the offense and team chemistry will mature. Keep in mind that the 2010-2011 Miami Heat started the season with an opening game loss of their own and won only five of their first nine games,  finishing the season winning 15 of their last 17 games. One bad game does not blur the season outlook for the Lakers.


About The Author

Stanley Lee is a Staff Writer for Lakers Nation. He began contributing in October of 2012 but has been a Laker fan for life.

Number of Entries : 20
  • Lyoung1974

    After 8 preseason games + training camp?? And lakers still can’t get the offense and defense working.. It’s the coach… Mike brown will be fired!

  • Lakers_824

    I just couldnt watch this game it was the same as last year laker team
    7 things i took from this game:

    1. No defense is being played
    2. Get rid of the Princeton offense and go back to the triangle or just let nash run plays
    3. Make FREEthrows we made 12-31……..we make 9 more fts we win the game
    4. DO NOT pass the ball to world peace on offense
    5. TRADE steve blake, we need a true point guard, some1 who could handle the ball
    6. ENERGY……….this team needs to play with energy the only guy who brought that tonight was jordan hill
    7. Do not put the bench in the game all at once, mix them up with the starters
    8. Fire Mike Brown and briing in Brian Shaw or Jerry Sloan or Phil Jackson

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/Q7ZJEQKURNVKYREFIA6CQ5KJ7I Rasheed

      i like number 3

    • http://www.facebook.com/DavidJun88 David Jun Lee

      This is when i can say, with this offensive scheme Bynum is better than howard. Bynum can shot free throws… Lakers will regret the trade. But i do agree with you only guy i saw bring energy throughout the game is Hill. WE SERIOUSLY NEED A CHANGE IN COACHING. Princeton offense is ok, but not with this laker lineup. Princeton offense is ment to be moving without the ball to find spacing? aint it… I saw none of that.

      Get B.Shaw back. Or at least get a offensive coach. Actually get Nate Mcmillian :) 

    • http://www.facebook.com/al.haldie Al Haldie

      like all of above, the team is not happy with things as they are it is hard to play when ur not happy with what u are doing..# 8 is the way to go-then everyone will be happy and enjoy what they are doing again.thanks—-un happy LAKER fan-me.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/Q7ZJEQKURNVKYREFIA6CQ5KJ7I Rasheed

    Upset and disappointed :(
    I just felt bad execution sets by Mike Brown. He doesn’t know how to utilize players.
    Hopefully, he will learn from this.
    When d12 was running back and forth without touching the ball, I was getting upset. And eventually he got frustrated and ended up committing flagrant foul. I hope Mike brown does something about it. If he is on the floor and not getting utilize then they should rest him. Lakers are not sync. Nash took the shot too early while d12 was still on his way and unable to get the rebound.

    1st Quarter everything looked good and even beginning of 2nd half.

    I congratulate Mike Brown: I like the flow how Lakers were playing during the 1st/2nd half. More passes, more assists and good scoring.

    Some how they could not do that in 3rd and 4th quarter. Rebounding was awful.
    They should Mike Brown should consult with Shaq on how to break down points within players and how they are going to get them.

    Super team needs to figure out how to stay away from kryptonite.

    And please someone teach how to shoot free throws to D12, it affected the game badly.
    Lakers can move forward only thru D12…Lot of responsibility on D12.

    Msg for D12: Step up on free throws!

    • Rperrymotorsport

      I agree on consulting with shaq.  the first quarter was OK second quarter on… horrible. Brown needs to get it figured out now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/al.haldie Al Haldie

      THEN MAYBE MITCH WILL SUGGEST A CHANGE [oh ya brown} thats way past due-he had a system last yr, now he looks for a new system, next yr a new system-he is not sure what he wants–and u cant play the starters that many min. and expect the bench to learn anything, get off the bences back and put the blame where it belongs.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/Q7ZJEQKURNVKYREFIA6CQ5KJ7I Rasheed

        If Lakers had made there free throws then we would have been talking about something else right now…

  • Jchen9123

    Fire Mike Brown, please!!!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/Q7ZJEQKURNVKYREFIA6CQ5KJ7I Rasheed

      learning process trial/error even for the coach.

      • http://www.facebook.com/al.haldie Al Haldie

        but the coach has to try-he does not care or he would get away from this system. a few more week of this and the players wont care,why cant he keep a job–you are seeing it…   SLOAN WOULD BE GREAT IF U COULD GET HIM TO COME TO L.A. THERE  IS NOT CRAP WITH HIM HE IS A WINNER.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/Q7ZJEQKURNVKYREFIA6CQ5KJ7I Rasheed

          What I saw in the 1st quarter was awesome, what Mike brown did. The flow of the ball, assists and score…His system works just needs time.
          Look at the bigger picture (even TNT analyst like Charles Barkley says throw out the Princeton offense. I feel sorry for him on this one, well, he is wrong. It going to take time). I was happy and amazed how Lakers were moving the ball during 1st quarter…Never seen Lakers in that mode before…well maybe Phil Jackson era/Brian show era. I think we should give them time to get better, have patience.

  • eren copur

    i suffered watching the game in the second half!

  • shady

    fuck i love the lakers to the heart watching them lose i  suffered

  • Oliver from Germany

    Folks, not only the Lakers are a new team with a lot of new players. The Mavs had 3 new starters, too. And they played without their franchise player and without their center. This loss is distressing. Since one year, Brown could never win a third quarter. And he is learning NOTHING!!!! Hey may be a good assistant coach for defense, but not a head coach. And for Brown and the players: Do you remember, that there are a lot of fans outside your small microcosmos, who are paying a lot of their hard earned money to see you win??? A lot of fans in Europe, who are standing up in the middle of the night???? And pls don’t tell us something about patience, learning process. Just play this f…ing game!!!!!!!!!

  • Fadyanderawadallah

    Can we plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz fire mike brown it was ugly last night ………… we lost to a team with only one superstar and he was out !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! r u kidding me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! mike brown can’t coach we will get a royal kick from portland tonight we won’t win soon because after that comes the clippers  ………. fire him as soon as possible 

  • Gqdollaz

    The thing was we’re playing a slow half-court game while dallas pushed the ball up the floor playing up tempo which we suffer

  • http://www.facebook.com/DavidJun88 David Jun Lee

    If the Lakers got Nash and Howard to win championship now… I sorry with Mike Brown its not happening. I see nothing good out of his planning. Last year I hated the fact he benched Kobe in the 4th, but now with all this talent HOW ON EARTH DOES THE OFFENSE LOOK UGLY!!!!!! come on… your a coach, you won 61 games with Cavs last season you were coaching there… Ok we finished 3rd last year but still wins in regular season doesnt give you championships. YOU NEED TO ACTUALLY COACH, COACH. 

    Mike get your act together or your out of here soon (Before All star break if you keep losing like this…) 

    I’d prefer Nate Mcmilian. Remember him guys… He had so many problems with roster with the blazers but still they were always in the playoffs, we need his style in our offense. 

    Even B.Shaw. I miss him actually, wouldve been a good head coach. If you want to make Kobe happy fire Brown this second. Call him right now and say sorry but your fired.

    • http://www.facebook.com/al.haldie Al Haldie

      THE LAKERS PLAYERS ALREADY KNOW THAT THIS SYSYEM AND OR BROWN ARE NOT FOR THEM brown do everybody a favor and pack up and go,, ur not for the lakers….

  • http://www.facebook.com/al.haldie Al Haldie

    I went to bed at the end of the third, that was more then i could stand, dont ask what the problem is {u all know} if u have to be told dont watch tonite, because u dont understand just like {brown} no clue this guy…

  • http://twitter.com/son_Arty Arty

    Lakers played bad but missed 19 Free Throws’s .. they only lost by 8… La shouldnt be worried.. only that looked bad on the offense was MWP..taking bad shots , off balance.. the usual. I actually liked Kobe not dominating the ball and Pau and Dwight did, they just have to make FT’s .. JHill too.. but when the bigs are getting the team in the Bonus..FT shooters like Nash and Kobe have to get to the rim and either get the bigs more easy looks or make them pay from line.. too many jump shots from positions 1-3 on and off the bench.

    Defensively it was simply effort.. Dallas you can tell is well coached with good discipline, only 12 TO’s and even without Dirk and Kaman they stuck RIGHT with L.A on the glass 46 — 40 L.A. Whether it was no pressure on Eddy Curry who was obviously a load for the bigs. Or just LETTING Jae Crowder shoot. 

    All in all its 1 out of 82. .. L.A will be fine although they look mighty stupid for not signing Barbosa after his 4th quarter in Miami. L.A’s bench outside Jordan Hill is an obvious flaw.

  • Achua82

    9 games is not a joke now. players didn’t know what their role in the princetone offense. the coach and coaches doesn’t know what to do. they don’t even coach they just sit there without getting up and telling what the players are doing wrong. i can see where they are going.. they are going down and the coaches should they accountable, how can you believe this team is winningless after 9 games with the lakers loaded players. this is no experimenting anymore this is the real look of the new coaches and leadership bring back the triangle, bring back kurt rambis and the former coaching staff, if phil jackson is not available. the present coach doesn’t know how to utilize the enormous talent of these individual (star caliber) players.

  • Leo_go_lakers

    Most of the starters don’t respect Brown. If you saw the last 9 games, that is obvious. They are not going to play their heart out for him, the do not believe in him; and with time they are going to get frustrated because of losing. With growing frustration the chemistry building becomes more and more difficult. I believe everyone knows in Lakers management that Brown is not the right coach for this team… Unlike the Heat, we do not have 2+ years to build the chemistry. We need someone who brings these guys together and builds a team. Brown is not that person.

  • OdumBAMA
  • Ne0

    I not sure whether is the coach problem or lakers purpose loss vegas odd favorite game, it seem they don’t gave them 100 or even 90% of their talent in this game that they loss. 

  • bigraidernation@yahoo.com

    Everyone calm the fuck down its ganna take at least 2mo. before we start jelling together if you don’t understand the game don’t watch until they start figuring it out .This year we just need to be healthy when it comes to playoff time does’nt matter what seed. would like to see a tweak w/ the back up point gaurd spot (via trade Blake and Duhan for a good 5 or 6yr vet )Lakers4life

  • Derrick Lee


    Gotta get rid of that princeton 
    Let Nash run the plays 
    Imagine a pick and roll with Nash and Dwight– something that led the suns 33-33 while using Gortat and Kobe out there to take shots when needed 

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