Lakers Gameday | 11/11/08 | Lakers 106, Mavericks 99
Western Conference Standing : 1
Streak: Won 6
Western Conference Standing :11
Streak: Lost 3
|Injury Report||Injury Report|
---Francisco Gomez, Lakers.com
|Los Angeles Lakers||Dallas Mavericks|
Kobe, Lakers beat Mavs, improve to 6-0
DALLAS(AP) Down after one quarter, two and even three, the Los Angeles Lakers found themselves in an unfamiliar place.
Yet even with the Dallas Mavericks getting terrific games out of Jason Kidd and Erick Dampier, Kobe Bryant and friends found a way to pull out another one.
Trevor Ariza turned an offensive rebound into an emphatic, go-ahead dunk early in the fourth quarter and added an equally emphatic block in the final minute to help the Lakers pull out a 106-99 victory over the Mavericks on Tuesday night. Los Angeles improved to 6-0, its best start since going 7-0 in 2001-02 - which also was the last time the Lakers won the championship.
"Nobody panicked,'' said Bryant, who scored nine of his 27 points in the fourth quarter. "We just kept at it.''
Despite being without Josh Howard - their second-best scorer, co-leading rebounder and a top defender - the Mavs came out with the fire star Dirk Nowitzki criticized them for lacking in their previous game, a loss to the then-winless Clippers. This time, Dallas scored a season-best 35 points in the first quarter and a season-best 60 in the first half.
However, the Mavs scored only 39 points the rest of the way, with Nowitzki failing to score after early minutes of the third quarter. That dropped them to 0-3 at home for the first time since the 1993-94 club that finished 13-69. That's not exactly the kind of change new coach Rick Carlisle was hired to make.
"You've got to be able to finish games and you've got to be able to win at home,'' Carlisle said. "We ran great in the first half. In the second half, they played better and we didn't get the same opportunities.''
The Lakers went into the fourth quarter trailing for the first time all season. But they also were in the midst of a 30-9 spurt that would put them ahead for good. Ariza celebrated his go-ahead dunk before the ball was even through the cylinder and Carlisle was calling a timeout just as quickly.
Bryant kept the roll going, but Dallas got back to within 99-97 in the final minutes.
Nowitzki passed up a potential tying shot, giving the ball to Stackhouse, who missed. After a defensive stand, Nowitzki shot an airball on a 3-pointer. After yet another defensive stop, Nowitzki passed to Stackhouse in the corner and Ariza came flying in to swat a 3-point try out of bounds with 1 second left on the shot clock. The Mavs wound up with a shot clock violation, then Pau Gasol scored a three-point play on the other end to seal the victory.
"It was a phenomenal block,'' Bryant said. "He's just a tremendous athlete. Our bench was incredible. That's the kind of team we have. We pick each other up. They came in and gave us a huge boost.''
Lakers coach Phil Jackson went to his bench earlier than normal and left them in once they started rallying.
Ariza scored a season-high 13 points and Lamar Odom added 12. That was a nice supplement to the 27 points from Bryant and 22 from Gasol. Gasol also had 11 rebounds. Andrew Bynum had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
"That's what we do, we try to change the pace of the game, play with high energy,'' Ariza said of the Lakers' second team.
Jason Terry scored 21 points and Kidd got the 101st triple-double of his career with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Jerry Stackhouse scored a season-high 17 points and played some tough defense on Bryant, while Dampier had 11 points and 16 rebounds, including a franchise record-tying 12 on the offensive end.
Ironically, it was Nowitzki who let Dallas down, scoring 14 points on 5-of-17 shooting.
"Everyone was in it, it was great,'' Nowitzki said. "If we play like that all the time, we'll have a lot more opportunities to win.''
Howard missed his second straight game with a sprained left wrist. Gerald Green started in his place and keyed the strong start with eight first-quarter points before going to the locker room with a split lip. He had big dunks to open the third and fourth quarters, and finished with 17 points.
The Mavericks made only 15-of-46 shots in the second half. They also had 22 turnovers, five more than in any other game so far.
"We got the stops when we had to, but we couldn't get the ball in the basket on the other end,'' said Kidd, who was surprisingly aggressive looking for his shot, scoring 11 points by halftime.
This was the most points the Lakers allowed all season and it matched their slimmest margin of victory. Still, they did enough to head to New Orleans looking to get to 7-0 Wednesday night against Chris Paul and the Hornets.
"We know what we're capable of,'' Bryant said. "We feel better about ourselves than we did last year. It's early, but we're on the right track.''
Notes: Bryant is 23 points shy of Larry Bird on the career scoring list. ... This was the 1,400th career game as a coach for Los Angeles' Phil Jackson, a milestone reached by only 12 others. He is 982-418, the highest winning percentage in league history. ... Terry missed a pair of free throws in the third quarter. He was 23-of-25 from the line all season until then. ... This was Kidd's fourth triple-double against the Lakers. ... Dampier had eight rebounds in the third quarter. Eight rebounds was his game high coming in. ... Dallas has been outscored 86-51 in fourth quarters at home this season.
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Their loss in the NBA finals was disheartening, but it was the way the Los Angeles Lakers went out - a 39-point loss in Game 6 - that was the lingering image of their otherwise successful postseason run.
This season, it's Los Angeles that's delivering the blowouts.
With five wins by an average of 22.4 points under their belt, the Lakers will try to start 6-0 for the first time since 2001-02 - the year they won their last title - when they begin a two-night, two-game road trip against the Dallas Mavericks.
Los Angeles's main addition to its Western Conference champion roster was Andrew Bynum, the 21-year-old center who missed the last half of the 2007-08 season and the playoffs with a knee injury. Averaging 9.2 points and 8.8 rebounds, Bynum is still working his way back into game shape, but the Lakers haven't missed a beat.
Four of their five wins have come by at least 18 points, including a 111-82 thumping of Houston on Sunday. Los Angeles fell behind 32-16 early in the second quarter before outscoring the Rockets 95-50 the rest of the way.
"It's all a matter of rhythm," said Kobe Bryant, who finished with 23 points. "We were a little rusty starting the game. We have a lot of weapons, we know how to use them. We move the ball and whoever gets it gets it."
Bryant has only scored 30 points once in the Lakers' first five games after doing so 36 times last season, but with Los Angeles' closest margin of victory being seven points, he hasn't needed to take over.
Seven Lakers are averaging at least 9.0 points, and Los Angeles leads the league with 51.4 rebounds per game, led by Pau Gasol's 11.6.
The Mavericks (2-4) beat San Antonio by 17 last Tuesday, their first of three straight road games, but lost the next two. The trip concluded with a 103-92 loss to the previously winless Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
"We just couldn't get stops, and we couldn't make any shots at the other end," said guard Jason Kidd, who had seven points and nine assists. "Even when we're not scoring, we've got to find ways to stop our opponents or we're not going to win any games. It's hard to win when you give up that many points."
That loss came without forward Josh Howard, who aggravated his sprained left wrist Friday at Denver. Howard is listed as day-to-day, though the Mavericks are hopeful he'll be able to play against the Lakers.
Howard is averaging 25.0 points in his last five home games against Los Angeles.
With Howard sidelined against the Clippers, Dirk Nowitzki helped pick up the slack, scoring 33 points. Since a 3-for-11, eight-point performance in a loss to Cleveland on Nov. 3, Nowitzki is scoring 28.7 ppg in his last three.
Nowitzki averaged 29.5 points in four games against the Lakers last season, but Los Angeles won the final three meetings.
The main reason for the Lakers' success against Dallas was Bryant. The Mavericks couldn't contain the Lakers superstar, who averaged 36.5 points on 54.2 percent shooting.
Los Angeles has lost four of its past five on the road against the Mavs, who are trying to avoid falling to 0-3 at home for the first time since 1993-94, when they lost their first 19 home games.
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NOTES & CONNECTIONS
The Lakers won last season’s series with the Mavericks 3-1 after dropping the 2006- 07 series (1-3) for the first time since the 1986-87 season and only the third time ever (1983-84). This will be the 119th overall meeting between the two franchises with the Lakers holding a 90-28 series advantage. In their most recent meeting, the Lakers defeated the Mavericks 112-108, improving to 14-3 all-time against the Mavericks at STAPLES Center and 7-3 in their last 10 home games overall. The Lakers are 5-5 against the Mavericks in their last 10 overall games. In Dallas, the Lakers have gone 4-6 over their last 10 games at American Airlines Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 21-10 against the Mavericks. In December of 2005, Kobe Bryant established a new series record with 62 points against the Mavericks in a 112-90 victory at STAPLES Center. In that contest, Bryant singlehandedly outscored the Mavericks 62-61 through three quarters. Last season, Bryant again went over the 50-point mark against the Mavericks, scoring 52 points in the Lakers 108-104 overtime victory March 2 at STAPLES Center. Last season, Lamar Odom scored a season-high 31 points on 12-of-14 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and five assists in the Lakers 112-108 victory over Dallas April 4 at STAPLES Center. In 40 games (34 starts), Bryant is averaging 25.2 points for his career against Dallas. The Mavericks’ Devean George played his first seven seasons with the Lakers, winning three championships with the team in 2000, 2001 and 2002. In 429 games, George averaged 6.0 points and 3.3 rebounds in 18.9 minutes and ranks among the franchise leaders in 3-point FG% (10th/.340) and 3-pt FG made (9th/282).