Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Monday evening home contest against Dallas on Martin Luther King Day, the Lakers looking for a 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, Barnes, Gasol and Bynum
Mavericks J. Kidd, D. West, S. Marion, D. Nowitzki, B. Haywood
12:00 This, of course, marked the first time the Lakers saw Dallas since being swept 4-0 in the Western Semi’s last season, L.A. finally tiring both physically and mentally after three consecutive trips to the Finals in previous seasons, and the Mavs playing great basketball. While Mike Brown and his staff weren’t here, it was acknowledged that the players would have it top of mind.
6:55 After receiving a standing ovation upon entering the game wearing Mavericks blue, Lamar Odom hit a wing jumper to give Dallas an 8-7 lead. It was a nice moment for Odom, very much appreciated for his crucial contributions to back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. His wife Khloe (and her BFF Malika – yes, I used to watch the show, don’t worry about it) was sitting courtside, opposite the Lakers’ bench.
0:00 “Ugly” probably doesn’t suffice to describe the offense in the first quarter. L.A. managed to hit only 5-of-19 field goals, including a 1-for-5 from Gasol and 0-for-4 from Kobe (who came in with four consecutive 40-point games), and Dallas wasn’t much better, hitting only 8-of-24 including Dirk’s 0-for-5. Only Odom (3-for-4 with a three) had anything going, leading all scorers with seven points, giving Dallas an 18-15 lead
8:13 Dallas brings three proven, veteran scorers off the bench in Odom, Jason Terry and Vince Carter, and they were effective early with 13 of the 21 Mavericks points. However, L.A.’s unproven crew responded with a 6-0 run with buckets from Metta World Peace and Jason Kapono, and an alley-oop lob from Josh McRoberts to Bynum, to put L.A. up 23-21.
4:00 The two Finals MVP’s in the building started to get it going, with Dirk hitting three straight shots, and Kobe two as the lead exchanged hands (33-32 Lakers). Bryant and Dirk went respectively scoreless in the first quarter, but it’s always only a matter of time until they start splashing that net.
0:00 A better second quarter for L.A. ended with a 24-17 margin, turning a three-point first quarter deficit into a 39-35 lead at the break. Bryant closed out the half with four straight makes, and L.A.’s D held Dallas to 35.7 percent in the quarter. The bench managed only six points to 18 from the Mavs, but keep in mind that Dallas is set up for points off the pine, since when Nowitzki sits, the offense runs through Terry/Odom/Carter, where as Bynum/Gasol become the focus of the O with the subs when Kobe sits.
7:58 Playing better basketball to open the half was Dallas, led by Marion, who twice stripped Kobe, the second time leaking out in transition to draw a foul. The ensuing free throw (1-of-2) made it a 45-43 lead for the visitors, on an 10-4 run in the quarter.
3:33 Showing just how veteran the two teams are, the only player on the floor under 30 for a good stretch of the second was Bynum, who improved to 6-of-10 from the field with a nice move around Haywood, not to mention a game-high 13 rebounds.
0:00 How close was this to the worst offensive quarter in Lakers history? Only 1-of-2 free throws from Bynum in the final seconds kept it from (literally) being the all-time lowest mark of six, which came on Nov. 20, 1977, vs. Chicago. So, yeah. Somehow, L.A. was down only five heading into the fourth quarter.
11:18 A beautiful reverse slam from McRoberts off World Peace’s pass was the exact opposite of the entire third quarter, here bringing the Lakers within four points. The next alley-oop, two minutes later, came from Kapono to Bynum, getting L.A. within three at 55-52.
7:03 Upon returning, Kobe made consecutive shots to give L.A. more field goals in the fourth than it managed in the entire third, getting his team within one. Helping the Lakers stay in the game despite the rough start was terrible 3-point shooting from Cuban’s bunch, making just 4-of-24 (including Jason Kidd’s 0-for-8).
4:44 Coming up with three key plays to spark a 6-0 run was Fisher, who first stripped Dirk and fed Barnes (running another fly pattern resulting in two free throws), then drew Terry’s foul on the perimeter and made his own free throws and finally stripped Kidd before streaking down the court with his 37-year-old legs for a layup.
0:38.7 A terrific defensive effort from Gasol on Dirk this time resulted in a travel from the German, allowing L.A. to keep the ball, up two, down the stretch. Bryant missed a baseline jumper, however, and Jason Terry hit a pull-up jumper in the lane to tie the game with 9.9 seconds to play.
0:03.0 We mentioned that big spark Fisher gave in the middle of the quarter … and he sure knew how to put a big cherry on top by, with three seconds on the clock in a tie game, pulling up for a game-winning three-pointer after Bryant passed out of a double team. Add another huge one to Fisher’s big-shot lore, this one delivering the 9th straight home victory for the Lakers, who improved to 10-5 with the victory. Next up, a tough double-header in Miami and Orlando; we’ll see you later in the week.