Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Saturday night contest at Dallas, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Morris, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Howard
Mavs: D. Collison, O.J. Mayo, S. Marion, E. Brand, B. Wright
7:55 L.A. got off to a great start behind an on-fire Metta World Peace, who drained two three-pointers and bulled his way past O.J. Mayo twice for layups, scoring L.A.’s first 10 points. Dwight Howard then hammered home an alley-oop from Bryant to make it 12-6. With Shawn Marion defending Bryant, Dallas had to leave Mayo on Metta, certainly a mismatch.
3:56 I had a chance to speak with Pau Gasol before the game, the Spaniard suggesting that he can’t continue to wait for offense to come to him, promising activity and aggression. And he certainly delivered in the opening minutes, twice going hard to the hoop first for a finger roll and then hitting two free throws, to reach six points, four boards and two assists with his team up 26-15. They’d keep up a terrific first quarter to emerge with a 36-23 lead, capped by the third MWP triple of the session.
10:13 The positivity continued into the second quarter, D’Antoni using Bryant, Meeks, MWP, Hill and Howard, with Bryant setting up the offense. They opened on a 7-0 run to push the lead all the way to 20, with Meeks draining two triples to provide a spark.
0:00 It’s hard to find much of anything wrong with what was really a terrific first half for the Lakers, as Bryant’s pull-up 3-pointer put emphasis on a story the scoreline told: 65-38. Perhaps most impressive individually was Jamison, who posted an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double in his nearly 16 minutes on the court. Howard dominated the defensive paint, and L.A. got at least eight points from four players in a balanced offensive attack.
6:07 I asked assistant coach Darvin Ham if the coaches could poke any holes in that first half: no. They were just pleased with the energy and effort, and that sustained into the third quarter, as two Bryant and one Chris Duhon free throw pushed the lead up to 78-46.
0:00 Even with the Mavs hitting five triples in the final three minutes of the third – three from Vince Carter – L.A. took a 24-points lead into the fourth quarter. The Lakers led by as many as 37 points, getting scoring from everywhere, the Mavs managing only 65.
4:52 Two free throws from Jamison pushed his impressive total to 19 points with a game high 15 boards, though some of those should be credited to Howard for influencing several Mavs misses. Moments later, with the bench emptied, Devin Ebanks drained a corner three to make it 107-77. Kobe, Gasol and Co. watched with smiles from the bench.
0:00 The final: 115-89. L.A. scored at least 24 points in all four quarters, highlighted by the 36-point first period that put the Mavs in a deep hole. The Mavs never got within 20 points in the second half, and finished the game at 37 percent from the field. L.A. hit 48.8 percent, and drained 12 of 22 three-pointers, including 5 of 7 from World Peace and 3 of 5 from Meeks. After the game, the unified message from Jamison, Bryant, Howard and D’Antoni was simple: consistent effort and energy from a group this talented is going to do put them in great position to win. Up next is a Tuesday tilt against Indiana, giving the Lakers a few extra days to rest. We’ll see you there.