LAL 109, DAL 93: March 21 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Wednesday evening back-to-back contest at Dallas, the Lakers looking to bounce back from a tough loss at Houston on Tuesday in which they blew a 12-point lead halfway through the fourth quarter, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Blake, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Bynum
Mavericks: J. Kidd, R. Beaubois, S. Marion, D. Nowitzki, I. Mahinmi*
*Mahinmi has been starting for the injured Brendan Haywood (knee).

FIRST QUARTER
5:38 The teams traded hoops for the first three minutes, but Dallas answered with an 8-0 run capped by four straight free throws, taking advantage of Lakers turnovers (three) and fouls, Bynum getting Terry at the rim even though he’d argue he went straight up. Mike Brown really wanted L.A. to get its defensive focus back, protecting the rim and making multiple efforts, but that wasn’t easy with turnovers creating fast break opportunities.

1:30 A very strong first stanza from Sessions pulled LAL within two points; he hit both of his long jumpers as the Mavs went under screens, and dished three straight assists, including two straight to Gasol on pick and pops, to fill the stat sheet.

0:00 Add one more assist from Sessions to Kobe and the newest Laker had five points and four dimes in five minutes, an impressive session, if you will, while Bryant reached a game high 10 points on 4-of-7 FG’s. Dallas, however, was hot from the perimeter, enough to take a 29-27 lead into the second quarter.

SECOND QUARTER
8:25 More Sessions for you, folks. Two more assists and a layup through traffic at the rim had L.A. erase a 5-point lead and open a 36-34 lead. Then capping an 11-1 push from L.A. was Bynum, with a pretty baseline turnaround jumper.

3:00 I know we’re getting redundant, but Sessions continued his impressive performance by nailing his second three, this one from Kobe, and screaming “That’s right!” in Kobe’s direction with a head nod. The triple put the Lakers up 13, and Gasol snapped a quick 4-0 Mavs run with a jumper to reach 10 points of his own.

0:00 A tip in dunk from Gasol off Kobe’s miss closed a terrific second quarter for L.A., which opened a 57-44 edge thanks to the 30-15 second quarter. Dallas was shooting only 39.5% to LAL’s 58.6%, and the Lakers controlled the glass 27-15, much to Mike Brown’s pleasure.

THIRD QUARTER
9:30 As L.A. may have expected, Dallas came out much stronger in the third, with Dirk nailing two threes to cut the lead to seven. Bynum was the culprit on the second, failing to close out on a transition three, and also giving limited effort on a second chance opportunity on the previous trip. But on the next trip, Bynum did come over with effort, and blocked a drive. In short: his individual D makes a huge difference.

6:53 The Black Mamba came out for a completely ridiculous reverse layup that he tossed in over his head despite getting pushed with two hands by Kidd, producing a free throw out of a time out that put L.A. up 69-55. Gasol also continued his excellence, making his eighth shot in 10 attempts for a second straight impressive game in this arena.

1:42 Dallas was hitting threes, and L.A. free throws in the second half of the third, with Terry’s wing triple the sixth Mavs make of the period, and four straight foul shots from Kobe (7-of-7) kept L.A. up 10 points, which Dallas would trim slightly more to make it 80-72 with a quarter to play.

FOURTH QUARTER
10:22 The start to the fourth was good for L.A., with Sessions nailing his third three as the Mavs continued to go under screens on high pick and rolls, and Bynum added a baseline jumper to again put L.A. up 13, but Terry nailed the seventh Mavs three of the second half – his third – to keep Dallas around.

6:00 L.A. found itself in the exact same position as it was in against Houston last night, up 12 with six minutes left, but Brown took a smart time out to quell a 4-0 Mavs run. Out of that break, Kobe hit his 10th field goal in 17 attempts to make it a 14-point edge.

0:00 There would be no repeat of the Rockets game this time, as Bryant, Gasol and Barnes made sure of. Bryant nailed two tough jumpers from the perimeter to reach 30 points, Gasol dropped his 13th shot in 16 attempts, more impressive as many came on jumpers over Dirk, while Barnes nailed the dagger three (his third) to take any last wind out of the Mavs’ sails. The 109-93 victory was the third straight this season for L.A. over Dallas, and came in no small part due to terrific play from new point guard Ramon Sessions, who finished with 17 points, nine assists and five boards off the bench. L.A. heads home to face Portland on Friday; see you then.