Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks: In Big D, that's D for determination
The Los Angeles Lakers play the Dallas Mavericks in Game 2 of their NBA Western Division playoff series. What must the Lakers do to win? The game starts Wednesday 10:30 p.m. Eastern time.
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But that was then.
Since blowing a 23-point lead in Game 4 of their initial-round Western Division series against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Dallas Mavericks have demonstrated the resiliency of a championship team. The Maverick's 96-94 comeback victory over the Los Angeles Lakers Monday night was more confirmation of the mental toughness that's becoming a hallmark of this team.
In fact, it was the Lakers – winners of the past two NBA crowns – who looked uncharacteristically lost on their home court. In the fourth quarter, the Lakers had two key turnovers and a bad foul by Pau Gasol in the last half-minute which contributed to a huge comeback by the Mavericks – who erased a 16-point deficit.
Help from the bench
And even with L.A. outrebounding Dallas 44-40, the Mavericks spread the ball efficiently through a balanced offensive attack, with five players scoring in double-figures. Guard Jason Kidd has proven critical to Dallas’ fortunes since they acquired him from the New Jersey Nets in 2008. The number-two all-time NBA assist leader logged eleven of them in this game. And with strong performances off the bench by forward Peja Stojakovic (10 points) and guard Jason Terry (15 points), the Mavericks' starters got some additional rest. In fact, the Dallas bench as a whole put up 40 points to the Lakers’ 25.
Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant shot the ball in his usual brilliant way, but he seems to have had difficulty dishing the ball. He was actually the only starter on both teams who didn’t have a single assist. Not one. And one of the few attempts he made in the last 30 seconds wound up in the hands of Mavericks’ guard Jason Terry.