LOS ANGELES (NBA.com exclusive) -- Just three nights removed from a jubilant ring ceremony, the Lakers came crashing down Friday in front of a soldout Staples Center.
The Mavericks used a spirited offensive onslaught in the third quarter, knocking out the defending champions 94-80, and at the same time sending a message to the rest of the league not to sleep on the team from the Lone Star state.
"Just because no one is talking about us," Dallas forward Shawn Marion said, "doesn't mean we're not on the map."
Added Dallas guard Jason Kidd: "It's a big win, character-wise for this team. The Lakers have had our number so it's a confidence booster for us. It helps us gain confidence on the road that we can play against the best."
The Mavericks kept the Lakers, who trailed the entire game, and especially Kobe Bryant offbalance all night. Bryant finished with a team-high 20 points, but it took him 19 shots. The Lakers, who settled for jumpshots most of the night, were down by as many as 22 in large part because of a paltry 39.5 percent shooting and 19 turnovers.
"Our rhythm wasn't good in the offense," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We didn't read this team well at all."
The defending champs found themselves down 18 heading into the fourth. The closest they would get was 80-68 after Marion, who finished with 18 points, scored eight straight.
It was in the third quarter, however, where the Mavericks closed the game out.
Dallas, which didn't shoot much better from the field (41.6 percent), outscored the Lakers 26-15 in the third and held Bryant to just two points. Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki scored nine of his game-high 21 in the third. Dallas' lead swelled to as many as 22 after guard Jose Barea walked in for a layup with under three minutes to go.
"We gave them one shot and put pressure on them on the other end," said Kidd, who had two points but collected 11 assists. "We knew coming into the fourth quarter that Kobe would put pressure on us. I think the zone helped us a little bit on that. We used a small lineup in the zone."
With the victory, Dallas broke a six-game losing streak to the Lakers, but more importantly atoned for a poor showing in their season-opening loss to the Wizards.
"We always take it personally after we get our a**** kicked," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.
All night, frustration set in for the Lakers, who were without All-Star Pau Gasol for the second night because of a right hamstring injury. Bryant and Ron Artest each picked up their first technical fouls of the season arguing with the referees. A few boos rained down on the Lakers in the third before a Bryant basket and a Josh Powell layup at the end of the quarter quelled the crowd and trimmed the Mavericks lead to 78-60.
A bright spot for the Lakers was reserve Shannon Brown, who finished with 12 points. In the second quarter, the Lakers were down as many as eight before Brown drained a pair of 3-pointers and a fallaway 18-foot jumper to bring the Lakers to within two at 37-35. Reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry answered, scoring 10 straight for the Mavs. Terry finished with 16 points.
"I wasn't happy with the second quarter," Jackson said. "We played scattered."
Artest was saddled with early foul trouble and couldn't get anything going for the second night in a row. Artest missed five of six shots and had four turnovers to go along with five fouls.
Playful Banter: Known for his entertaining comments, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban opined before the season that adding Artest to the Lakers may cause chemistry issues.
During pregame Friday, Artest said, "I want to ask him what team should I play for? What team best fits me? Should I not be here? Should I not be in the NBA? I posted it on Twitter. It didn't work. He didn't respond. ... I want him to tell me what I'm good for."
Cuban answered: "I think he'd be really good on my Dairy Queen team. I can get him really involved, teach him how to make a soft serve cone and get involved with the Blizzard. He can be a valuable addition."