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We took a look at the Lakers – Mavs contest in Dallas while it was happening, entering a thought or three each quarter as the Lakers looked to snap a four game road losing streak.
Lakers: Pau Gasol
Mavericks: Eduardo Najera, Matt Carroll
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Odom* and Bynum
Mavs: Jason Kidd, Josh Howard, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki, Erick Dampier
*Odom continued to start in place of Pau Gasol, who missed his sixth straight game with a strained left hamstring.
8:43 Looking much like the Lakers team that played effectively in the third quarter against San Antonio without Kobe taking a shot, L.A. got seven points from Andrew Bynum, three from Ron Artest and two each from Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher to take a 14-7 lead.
3:32 Bynum continued a terrific offensive quarter with a step-through jam in traffic to get to a game-high 14 points before leaving with two personal fouls. He found more success going against Erick Dampier than he had Tim Duncan the night before, making all five of his field goal attempts. We should note that Bynum only late last week began feeling good after battling an upper respiratory ailment, in addition to a bit of leg pain that was limiting his explosiveness. Not even a trace of either in the last three games.
1:15 Bryant almost reluctantly took his first field goal attempt when the Mavs left him wide open from three, and he was well short. It was his only attempt of the quarter, and he went to the bench ala Steve Nash in lying down flat along the baseline. But his teammates allowed the Lakers a 27-24 lead after one thanks to a solid all-around effort. Random note: the Mavs had really good Chinese food in the media room, though one’s palate was expecting Mexican food. It took a while to get over mentally.
8:23 L.A.’s second unit looked like the exact opposite of Arizona and Green Bay’s respective offenses last weekend in failing to score during the quarter’s first two minutes plus the final two of the previous quarter, but then turned into Kurt Warner (or Aaron Rodgers) as Odom hit two free throws and Shannon Brown scored back-to-back buckets, putting the Lakers back on top 33-29.
5:11 Luke Walton sure didn’t look like a guy who’d missed 27 straight games, continuing his solid six fourth quarter minute with a nice stretch to open the second, setting up two Lakers hoops with his passing and hitting a leaner in the paint to help L.A. open a 39-34 lead.
1:01 With Bryant still lying on the baseline, Sasha Vujacic entered and directly helped L.A. out of a mini offensive slump, first finding Odom cutting to the hook for a layup after drawing the defense, and then getting two free throws to go after drawing a bump in traffic, halting a 9-0 Dallas run to give L.A. a 46-45 lead. Artest then closed a solid personal half by getting Dirk to foul him with 00.2 seconds left beyond the three-point line, making all three to give the Lakers a four-point edge at the half despite no points from Kobe. Bynum also managed to hit two more shots to go 7-of-7, which meant he’d literally not missed a shot against Dallas in a game and a half (he went 8-of-8 when they met in early January).
6:35 Artest continued an effective offensive game by hitting a triple that got him to 14 points, putting the Lakers up by two after Dallas had drained 6-of-8 to open the quarter. Even battling injuries, Artest has the capability to step up his offense if needed.
5:57 So, last night in San Antonio, a fan threw up all over the place after swallowing a bunch of jalapeno’s during a contest. As it turned out, Dallas did the same contest, but thankfully we had no barf in this one. No word on how this will affect the game’s outcome.
0:00.9 Jordan Farmar nailed a deep three-pointer from the top of the key to send the Lakers into the fourth up five thanks to a 7-0 run to close the third. Bynum got to a 21 and 10 double-double, in addition to some solid paint defense that largely kept Dallas out of the lane. Bryant managed eight points on 4-of-6 shooting to get himself into the action.
12:00 As expected, Bryant stayed on the floor without a rest to start the fourth. The key for stiff backs is to keep them warm, which Phil Jackson obviously knew in keeping Bryant out of the second quarter so that he could play the entire second half.
5:55 For the second time on the evening, the Mavs grabbed two long rebounds on the same possession and scored on the third attempt, but Farmar hit a pull-up jumper at the other end to keep L.A.’s lead at six points. It was also a strong stretch from Walton, whose two assists gave him four off the bench in 14 minutes.
0:28.0 A crazy stretch in which Dallas erased a 5-point lead with two Dirk jumpers concluded with Bryant nailing a 19-foot jumper, just a possession after he’d air balled a jumper from the other side of the floor. The Mavs then ran a nice play to get Dampier what looked to be an open layup, but Bryant slid in and fouled him hard. Damp, who’s only a 58 percent free throw shooter, missed both to give L.A. possession.
0:05.6 After Bynum made 1-of-2 free throws, the Mavs had a chance to tie with a Josh Howard corner three, but he missed and Farmar corralled the rebound. Jordan, a 76.9 percent free throw shooter, nailed both to send the Lakers to their most impressive victory of the season. No Pau Gasol, a hurt Kobe … but they banded together and got the job done.
L.A.’s back in action against the Clippers on Friday. Until then, your numbers:
3 Lakers frontcourt players who finished with a double-double (that would be all of them). Andrew Bynum was terrific with 22 points and 11 rebounds, Lamar Odom was solid with 18, 14 and four assists, while Ron Artest battled injuries to post 16 points and 11 rebounds.
7 Turnovers for the Mavs; L.A. had to work for nearly all of its points.
10 Points for Kobe Bryant on 5-of-11 shooting, making L.A.’s victory that much more impressive. Of course, the team’s biggest shot was Bryant’s 19-foot jumper to break a 95-all tie with 28.9 seconds remaining.
31 Bench points for the Lakers in an impressive all-around effort, led by 12 from Jordan Farmar, and helped by four assists in only 14 minutes from Luke Walton.
48.8 L.A.’s solid shooting performance from the field, led by Bynum’s 8-of-11.
20,000 Point mark reached by Dirk Nowitzki, becoming the 34th player in the history of the league and first European player to get there. He led Dallas with 30 in the contest.