Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Sunday afternoon home contest against Dallas, the Lakers looking to complete a season sweep of the Mavs, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Sessions, Ebanks, World Peace, Gasol and Bynum
Mavericks: J. Kidd, D. West, S. Marion, D. Nowitzki, B. Haywood
7:12 A super slow start from the Lakers was highlighted by the struggles of Andrew Bynum, who missed his first four shots and looked sluggish. This made some sense, as we learned before tip that he was struggling with an upper respiratory infection. But he wasn’t the only Laker off to a slow start, as Pau Gasol was 0 for 3, the team 2 for 13 as Dallas took a 13-5 early lead.
4:05 L.A.’s most effective player in Wednesday’s win over Denver was Matt Barnes, who scored a season-high 24 points with 10 boards, and he kept it going early by hitting his first shot, then feeding fellow sub Josh McRoberts for a layup that cut the Mavs’ lead to 21-15.
0:00 To be down only 27-22 after a quarter in which Bynum and Gasol combined to shoot 1 for 11 for two points as Kobe watched in (slick) street clothes wasn’t all that bad for the Lakers. Sessions led the way with 10 points, and McRoberts had two buckets off the bench while Delonte West was terrific for Dallas, surpassing his season average of 9.0 points with 12 in the quarter alone.
8:55 Dallas went on a 5-0 run to open the second quarter to push the lead back to 10, but L.A. again responded, getting a corner three from Barnes and six total free throws from Gasol and MWP to cut the lead down to just one … and this despite World Peace, Gasol and Bynum combining to make only one of 16 shots.
4:33 Dirk (0 for 6) and Gasol (0 for 3) returned without having hit a shot, such a rarity for the NBA’s most skilled big men (we could say “arguably,” but it’s tough to argue against either from a skills standpoint). Bynum had managed to hit his previous two field goals after starting 1 for 8, however, keeping L.A. within two points at 42-40 into a Mavs time out.
0:00 Terry nailed a three with nine seconds on the clock to put Dallas up six at the half, 54-48, a scoreline the Lakers couldn’t be that upset with considering how poorly they shot the ball (39.5 percent)
6:52 Picking up their play, the Lakers used a slew of offensive put backs, with World Peace wreaking havoc in the Mavs paint for eight of the team’s first 10 points, and Gasol putting home a Bynum miss to cut Dallas’ lead to two. Dallas continued to hit 3′s, getting the third from Kidd and Dirk’s first for 6 of 11 total, to maintain the lead.
4:45 For the first time since it was 5-3, the Lakers took a lead as Ebanks swished a baseline jumper courtesy of the fifth Gasol assist. LAL’s defense had picked up considerably, forcing the Mavs to hit long jump shots. Of course, they’re one of the NBA’s best jump shooting teams, and Kidd’s third three (his previous was changed to a two) countered the second Sessions triple of the day.
0:20.8 A three-pointer from Barnes gave L.A. its biggest lead of the game at 76-72, but Terry hit his second late triple in as many quarters, allowing Dallas to cut the deficit to one going into the fourth quarter. Still, the Lakers had outscored their opponent 28-18 before Terry’s shot, using solid defense that kept the Mavs taking contested two point shots, and getting little easy, L.A. thus erasing a 6-point halftime deficit to lead by a point with 12 minutes to go.
9:06 We’ve been writing about how defending the three-point line has been a big problem for the Lakers since Houston hit 10 in their April 6 win, and today’s game was no different, with Dirk nailing a trailing triple and Terry an open look from the wing to make the Mavs 9 of 15. L.A. had regained a 3-point lead, but the triples turned that around.
5:25 With the Mavs trying to go small, using Brandan Wright at center, L.A. took immediate advantage as Bynum first sealed him for an and-1, then followed a World Peace miss with an emphatic 2-handed flush. Barnes also swatted Wright on the other end, prompting Rick Carlisle to come back with Haywood after a 7-2 Lakers run that cut the Mavs lead to one.
0:00 Ready for overtime? A series of big plays from both teams mandated an extra session, as Sessions buckets/free throws were countered by a big pull-up shot from Terry, and L.A. couldn’t convert two chances in the final minute, with Kobe watching from the bench.
2:55 OK, folks … how about four consecutive three-pointers, with none other than Pau Gasol nailing both for the Lakers to answer Mavs triples from Terry (his fifth) and Dirk (his third). The Spaniard’s first triple was to beat the shot clock in desperation, but his second came fully set up in the exact same spot, his sixth and seventh made triples on the season – three of them coming in overtimes (the first at Utah to clinch the team’s first road win).
1:26 Bynum’s defensive board was his 16th overall, as he joined Gasol (10) and Barnes (11) in double digits on the glass, LAL having grabbed 10 more than Dallas. He also converted a pull-up jumper in the paint to put the Lakers up two moments earlier, and World Peace then buried a tough leaning jumper to make it 110-106 in the final minute.
0:00 World Peace buried a tough jumper to put L.A. up four with 1:24 to play, and L.A. would come up with the key stop it needed a minute later, with Terry getting too far under the rim and rejecting himself on the bottom while trying to tie the game (Dirk had hit 2 FT’s earlier to get it to a two-point deficit). Subsequently, Gasol would hit two free throws with 0.5 seconds left (Marion waited two full seconds to foul him, for some reason) to make the final margin 112-108, an impressive fourth win in five games without Kobe for the Lakers.