Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Sunday afternoon Game 4 road playoff contest at Dallas, the Lakers looking to begin to dig out of a 3-0 hole in the Western Semi’s, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Mavs: Kidd, Stevenson, Marion, Nowitzki, Chandler
12:00 A few signs that the Lakers were loose despite the dire circumstances: Lamar Odom and I had a conversation about Starburst flavors, with a bag full of the candy littered around his locker. We agreed that red and pink are by far the best. Meanwhile, Pau Gasol was in good spirits while watching his home town team, F.C. Barcelona, go up 2-0 in a Spanish soccer game. But the Lakers had been similarly loose before Game 3, leaving us with no real conclusions as to how things would go.
6:36 Just like in Game 3, L.A. came out controlling the pace in Dallas, going up 11-8 when Bryant hit his third early field goal. But the Mavs had already attempted four three-pointers, and despite hitting only one, and were making sure L.A. didn’t follow its plan to run them off the line in the first place. A sign of things to come?
2:53 It was all Kobe early for L.A., scoring 11 of his team’s first 17 points. He made 5-of-6 field goals while getting good separation from Jason Kidd for his jumper, Kidd content to keep Kobe out of the paint. Dallas, however, continued to get open looks from three, hitting 4-of-7 in the quarter (three coming in transition), seemingly baffling the Lakers defensively, to open a 27-23 lead after one.
10:22 The second couldn’t have started much worse for L.A., who gave up another three (Terry), then turned the ball over (Odom) to give the Mavs a layup and a 5-0 run. Jackson immediately removed Odom and Matt Barnes for Gasol and Bryant, showing limited patience in the first elimination game L.A. had seen since Game 6 in Boston in 2008.
6:42 OK, it got worse. The Lakers looked stunned watching Dallas hit 9-of-10 shots to open the second quarter, including four three-pointers, contested or not, with back-to-back triples from Terry (5-for-5, 15 points) and Peja Stojakovic (stepping into a time machine) that opened a 50-32 lead. Dallas was shooting 64 percent overall.
1:00 Bynum missed a layup. Then another. Gasol missed a tip from a foot away. Barnes missed a wide-open three. On the other end, Stojakovic nailed a three … then Terry nailed a three, the 11th in 15 attempts, equaling the total number of triples made for L.A. in the entire series. The Lakers barely had time to catch their breath, and couldn’t even create some hope to close the half, as Gasol missed a wide-open tip layup for the second time in the final two minutes. That made L.A.’s big man trio 4-of-13. The score, as such, was 63-39, L.A.’s season on life support.
7:07 Were the Lakers finally building something? The Mavs were missing for the first time in, well, a long time, and Artest outscoring the home team 7-2 in the first four minutes. Ron Ron then came up with a steal, but missed a wide-open, 1-on-0 layup, losing the ball on the way up, on a play that would have cut the lead to 17 points. Instead, Terry continued to play NBA JAM, nailing back-to-back threes to reach 8-of-9, himself. Literally. As in, four fewer three-pointers in this game than L.A. had made all series. Lead at 25, dynasty almost dead.
1:53 Since we haven’t talked much about the Mavs hitting threes in this one, we should mention that Terry hit his ninth (just tying an NBA playoff record) and Stojakovic his fourth. The two had combined to miss a grand total of one of their combined 14 attempts, making the team 15-for-23 (65 percent).
0:00 With the Mavs still bombing away, it didn’t really matter that the Lakers had looked a bit better on offense, matching Dallas with 23 points in the period, as the score was 86-62. And here we headed into what could be the final 12 minutes of the greatest coaching career in NBA history, and L.A.’s chance at the historic three-peat.
8:21 The only real way for the game, and season, to get worse for the Lakers was a loss of composure. But that’s exactly what happened. Odom took exception to Nowitzki swatting away his extra free throw attempt, and delivered a shoulder charge at the other end that really just knocked Dirk off balance, and wasn’t particularly dirty. Nonetheless, he was tossed with a flagrant two foul. What was surely extremely disappointing for Jackson in his last game, however, was to see Bynum go a step further, leveling Barea on a drive without attempting to play the ball. Bynum, tossed immediately, removed his shirt and walked directly to the locker room, free throws making it 101-68 Dallas.
4:19 Bryant had checked out moments earlier with 17 points, and with 4:19 left, Artest was the last starter to check out, L.A. down 114-80, the bench emptied to mercifully end what was one of the more painful games in Lakers history.
0:00 The final: Mavs 122, Lakers 86, L.A.’s hopes of a three-peat, of sending Jackson out in remarkable style, were no more.
1 Time since Pau Gasol became a Laker in February of 2008 that L.A. would not advance to the NBA Finals. Gasol, struggling uncharacteristically throughout the series, finished with 10 points, eight boards and six assists.
9 Three-pointers hit by Jason Terry in 10 attempts, the greatest long-range shooting performance in NBA history (matching the record most recently hit by Ray Allen).
11 Coaching championships for Phil Jackson, whose fourth three-peat was not to be.
17 Points for Kobe Bryant on 7-of-18 field goals, only one of which came after his 6-for-8 first quarter.
20 Threes hit in the game by the Mavs to match an NBA playoff record. Along with Terry’s nine, Dallas got 6-of-6 from Peja Stojakovic. The Lakers, who hit five triples in this one, had only 15 in the entire series, five fewer than Dallas hit in Game 4 alone.