The Dallas Mavericks shocked the Los Angeles Lakers in a 96-94 game 1 victory Monday night in Los Angeles and added wins Wednesday and Friday to take a 3-0 series lead.
In game one, Dirk Nowitzki started the game with six points but quickly fizzled in the second quarter. Things got even worse as the Lakers ended the first half on a 14-2 run and Jason Terry fouled Lamar Odom in a three-point attempt at the buzzer. After the final free throw, Nowitzki shoved an elbow at Ron Artest, which led to a technical free throw to end the half.
“The last 10 seconds of the first half are things that may never happen to this team again, ever,” coach Rick Carlisle said about the last second struggles.
The Lakers blew a 16-point halftime lead, as the Mavericks came alive in the second half. The Mavericks went on a 17-4 run and brought them within 64-61. Nowitzki was a huge part of the run, scoring 16 of his 28 total points in the second half.
In the fourth quarter, Nowitzki continued to outshine Kobe Bryant, as he scored 11 points compared to Bryant’s six.
Although Bryant shined in the first three quarters, he, and his Lakers, fell apart in the fourth quarter. The Lakers looked to their star five times in the final three minutes and only gained two points and two turnovers. Bryant also missed the buzzer beater game winner.
The Mavericks have the NBA and ESPN scratching their heads, as they defeated the Lakers, 93-81, and took a 2-0 lead from the two-time defending champions.
The Mavericks held the Lakers to an astonishing 81 points, marking the fewest points in a LA home loss since June 6, 2004. This is the third straight road game win for the first time in Dallas’ playoff history.
History is now on Dallas’ side, as teams who take a 2-0 lead are 224-14 and teams who have won the first two on the road have won 15 of 18 series in NBA history.
The Mavericks looked downright dominating as they battled the defending champions. Their pesky defense forced the Lakers to go 2-20 from behind the arc.
The surprise star of game two was J.J. Barea who scored 12 points. Barea was too fast for LA as he pushed the tempo and got to the rim multiple times late in the game.
“The smallest man on the court probably has the biggest heart on the court,” Brendan Haywood said about Barea.
Barea was also efficient on the defensive end, causing Lakers frustration. Barea caused turnovers and made things difficult for LA. The frustrations finally came to a head in the last seconds of the game.
Artest clothes-lined Barea in the final seconds and was immediately ejected. On Thursday, the NBA announced Artest would be suspended for game three for the altercation.
Things also got ugly for the Lakers, as their fans started booing Pau Gasol early in the third quarter and began filing out of the Staples Center halfway through the fourth.
The Lakers didn’t have an answer for Nowitzki and the fans had enough. Nowitzki finished with 24 points and high confidence as Dallas headed home with a 2-0 lead.
A record 21,156 people filled the American Airlines Center Friday night to watch the hometown Dallas Mavericks defeat the Lakers, 98-92, in game three of the playoffs.
The Lakers took a quick lead as they relied on Lamar Odom, who started for suspended Artest. Nowitzki responded with back-to-back threes to start a 12-4 run as the Mavericks took a 29-27 lead at the end of one.
Jason Terry helped the Mavericks as Bryant tried to help the Lakers control the game, as LA went on a 13-3 run and a 51-47 halftime lead.
Out of halftime, the Lakers opened up a seven-point advantage following a big three by Derek Fisher. Carlisle called a quick time out to regroup and Nowitzki and Jason Kidd answered with another pair of threes.
The game was back-and-forth until the fourth quarter. The Lakers took an eight-point lead in the middle of the fourth, but Dallas gave the ball to Nowitzki. Nowitzki and Peja Stojakovic hit a pair of threes that began a 10-2 run in the final five minutes of the game.
The Lakers tried to respond, but couldn’t stop Nowitzki and Terry, who added extra points at the free throw line to take a 95-91 lead with 18.7 seconds left. A costly Laker turnover in the next possession led to a foul on Terry, who was again perfect from the line.
Kidd finished off the Lakers, grabbing a rebound off Gasol’s missed free throw with 9.0 seconds left.
Nowitzki finished with 32 points, Terry added 23, Stojakovic was 3-for-7 from behind the arc and added 15 points and Kidd contributed 11 points and nine assists.
The Mavericks look to close out the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday afternoon in game four. Tip-off is set for 2:30 p.m.
If Dallas wins today it will have time to rest before facing the winner of the Oklahoma City-Memphis series in the Western Conference championship.
Memphis has been the surprise team of the playoffs after upsetting the No. 1 seeded San Antonio Spurs in the opening round before taking a 1-0 series lead against the Thunder.
OKC rallied to tie the series at one before Saturday’s game.
Los Angeles is the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, Dallas No. 3 while OKC is No. 4.
In the Eastern Conference the Chicago Bulls have a 2-1 series lead against Atlanta in a math between No. 1 and No. 5 seeds. Miami had a 2-0 series lead against Boston.