Postgame Report – Round 2, Game 1: Lakers vs. Mavericks – Handing Out Victories (96-94, Loss)

Photo by Harry How | Getty Images

…literally. Like candy on Halloween. The Lakers had home court advantage, they received a nicely wrapped Dallas meltdown to end the first half (four points on four free throws with not even a whole second on the game clock!), they built a 16-point lead in the third quarter, they got 36 points from Kobe Bryant and even a double-double each from Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. The Lakers had every advantage handed to them in order to take this first game in the series with the greatest of ease, but in the second half of the third quarter, subconsciously decided they wanted a greater challenge. Well, here’s to the new tradition of losing the first game of a new series, Lakers! You’ve certainly earned it.

Dallas came into Staples with all the confidence in the world, and how could they not with an owner like Mark Cuban who’s got a loudmouth like his guard Jason Terry’s? The match-up to watch out for, however, was Pau Gasol vs. Dirk Nowitzki, two 7-foot Europeans known for their offensive abilities but credited very little for their defensive “efforts.” Despite his 15 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and one block, however, Gasol couldn’t hold a candle to Nowitzki’s 28 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, two steals and block. Neither player defended the other very aggressively, but Nowitzki certainly made Gasol work harder than Gasol did him. Nowitzki shot from everywhere, over everyone and there was very little the Lakers did to counter him. He’ll be a nightmare for Gasol and even Odom to check in this series, and if the Lakers can’t stop him, they’ll have to attempt to stop everyone else around him, which is no easy task either.

The battle of the benches is clearly in Dallas’ favor and tonight’s 40-25 advantage makes it glaringly clear. Beyond Lamar Odom (15 points on 5-10, 12 rebounds), the Killer B’s have yet to gain their shooting touches back from when the Lakers began the season 13-1. Matt Barnes is excellent at cutting to the basket for easy hoops, but when the ball isn’t moving, and especially when it’s not moving inside-out, there is very little opportunity for him to get those easy points. That lack of ball movement can be attributed to poor decision making, especially by Shannon Brown, who seems to know very little in the offense other than dribbling away the shot clock and then attempting a bad shot. Steve Blake attempted one shot which didn’t go, grabbed one rebound and handed out zero assists. To say the Laker bench would’ve made a difference in this game is an understatement. Avoiding losing even the slightest lead on their watch would have been an accomplishment and they couldn’t even take care of that tonight. Andrew Bynum (8 points on 3-8, 5 rebounds) was on the floor with the reserves for the majority of his minutes, which is telling considering his stat line.

Yes, the Lakers have Kobe Bryant, who was on attack mode from the tip to the final buzzer. Bryant scored 15 points in the third quarter alone, on his way to 36 points on 14-29, five rebounds, a steal and a block. When Bryant is in scoring mode, he’s relentless, accounting for his zero assists for the game. He, too, is guilty of wasting possessions, shooting early in the clock and raking up isolations rather than moving the ball and running the offense. This isn’t a new circumstance, but with Gasol handing out seven assists, and the Lakers as a whole assisting on 13 of their 20 made field goals in the first half, it should have been a greater part of the game plan. That last second game winner attempt by Bryant looked like a sure thing, but it shouldn’t have been necessary in the first place.

Phil Jackson stated that the Lakers lost this game in the third quarter when they stopped playing, and he couldn’t be more right. Losing large leads – it’s not a new issue for this Lakers team. And when you allow a 16-point lead to drift into a deficit on your own home court during the second round of the playoffs, you deserve to lose. As it’s been said often about the Lakers, the only team that can beat them is themselves, and tonight they threw one mean punch right into their gut.

Box Score
Pre-game Thoughts: New team, new match-ups. The Dallas Mavericks have the size to match the Lakers’ length so the Laker bigs need to work that much harder inside. They do still have the advantage inside. Pau vs. Dirk is a huge match-up that Pau absolutely needs to step up for.
Half-time Thoughts: 44-53 – If there were any fear that the Lakers would start this series as lazily as they did the last can feel at ease…at least for awhile. Pau Gasol looks like he’s making up for his lackluster performance in Round 1 with this 9 point, 6 rebound, 5 assist, 1 block first half. Kobe Bryant leads the game with his 12 points, aggressive from the get-go. Dallas’ mini meltdown to end the half gave the Lakers four free throws to gain that 9-point lead, but the Mavs will be primed to make up for it in the second half.
Most Thoughtless Play(s)/Player(s) of the Game: Where and with whom to begin? Lakers’ perimeter defense (or lack thereof) that allowed Dallas to shoot 45% of their three pointers? The line-up that allowed that 16-point lead to dwindle in the third quarter? Pau Gasol’s “defense” on Dirk Nowitzki? The bench’s inability to match the efficiency of their counterparts? Ron Artest’s incessant need to jack up threes? Andrew Bynum allowing the Dallas defense to dictate his game instead of the other way around? Yes…yes…yes…yes to all of it!
Most Thought-filled Play(s)/Player(s) of the Game: Kobe Bryant for being so aggressive, but that late possession where he just dribbled away the shot clock and then decided to drive it in and pass at the last second instead of shooting and getting fouled just resonates too loudly. Still, can’t ignore his 36 points.

Anna Gonda has been the post-game editor for LakerNation.com since the 2009-2010 season. Between post-game reports, she's a full-time advertising coordinator for an academic publisher and a part-time photographer. Favorite Lakers: Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher. Favorite Laker Moment: Game 7, 2010 Finals against the Boston Celtics.
  • laffsatu

    some ASSASIN` thought he never misses ,talk about 36 EMPTY POINTS……..HOW MANY TURNOVERSs

    • Anonymous

      Gee, YOU thought wrong? What a surprise!

    • Ronin99

      Send in the clown, assclown I mean. Yes…you laffs. ASSCLOWN = laffsatu.

    • http://twitter.com/SenorJawsh Joshua Herrington

      3 while Kidd had 5.

  • ICE CREAM MAN

    The bench lost the game for us again with the exception of lamar. How hard is it to send the ball inside then wait till it comes back out? Why the hell does everyone all of a sudden forget to send the freaking ball inside? They are some STUPID BASKETBALL PLAYERS on the Lakers! All year the lakers have let leads get away from them. Honestly I don’t trust it when the lakers have a lead above 10 with 8 minutes remaining in the 4th. They will not keep it. Our bench suck ass everynight. Killer B…what is the B for Bitches? Dumb asses.

    Another thing, we have the most awful fans period! Every arena that gives out shirts, the fans wear it and are all together in a sea of the same color, giving that extra umph to help the team win but nooooo not us. We have stupid rich bastards that wont wear it. Only the true fans on top had those things on but down were the cameras catch the fans wont wear them. They had them on the shoulders or on the floor. I mean at least make them a sort of flag and wave them so they will miss freethrows but nothing. They rather text and facebook all day. Stupid rich fans.

    Today sucks.

    • Toni

      Totally agree!!!

    • LakerMarc

      YEAH WELL THE LAKERS RIDE ON THE LITTLE YELLOW BUS………….EXCUSE ME GOLD. WITH PURPLE RIMS

  • Anonymous

    Disappointing game. So many mistakes at the end. Unbelievable. Kobe attempting a pass when he had a layup or a foul on that last drive. Pau foolishly overplaying the inbounds pass. The bench in the 3rd qtr forgetting that Bynum even exists.
    A little attention and effort and this game was an easy win.
    Wake up, guys! LET’S GO!!!

    • ICE CREAM MAN

      Very frustrating to say the least. Yes, it’s a winable series and I don’t see it going past 6. Anyways, we just have to go and take one in Dallas. We honestly gave that game away with the exception of the 3rd quarter. The mavericks took that quarter because they wanted it more then we did.

  • gasoft

    gasoft better not get punked by chandler
    if he plays soft as most of the time we gonna lose
    hopefully he will show his balls

    that is what i wrote yeaterday
    unfortunately, exactly what happened
    gasoft can’t even shoot when defended by chandler, i mean it was pathetic
    and to everybody that complaints about pjax leaving kobe in the bench…
    wake the fukk up boys
    this is not the same kobe we are used to
    this year he has played awfully in the 4th quarter
    he clearly is more tired at the end of the game, and commits more mistakes
    which is why pjax is trying to rest him
    did not work, kobe still missing shots and committing turnovers

    now dallas has home court, and we gave em a great boost of confidence
    good luck winning this series, with butter gasoft and the kobe that cant play effectively on 4th quarters…

  • Anonymous

    Kobe should had gave to Artest or Fisher for the 3, we know in past playoff everyone gonna lock down defense on kobe, and usually role player would be open in those situation.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EBSP2NHQGTSVYUHYANRNCEYDUM 123KID

    I think we can all agree that this game was given to them. But move on and on to the next. For the next game these are the keys to winning:

    -Drew has to step up and I am sure he will because he said so in his postgame interview
    -Control the tempo
    -Pound it inside and get Chandler in foul trouble and will probably lead to Dirk getting into foul trouble because he cant defend.
    -Get those hustle points
    -Bench is going have to play a whole lot better

    I think overall, there were good things, but bad mistakes like, jacking up unnecessary 3′s, speeding up the tempo, costly turnovers, and damn well not sustaining the lead.

  • ilikebasketball

    two plays where stars got knocked down. One got the call, the other didn’t. in Barkleys words about the non call on kobe “you can’t make that call because it would decide the game” back up just 10 seconds of the game and Dirk gets a call and hits free throws that decide the game.

    basically though, we let a 16 point lead get away.
    but kobe shoulda been at the line and taken the lead.

    what a crappy end to a well played game.

  • ilikebasketball

    and ron artest and blake both looked horrible.
    brown and barnes both looked like they were working hard.

    • LakerMarc

      WELL BROWN WORKING HARD ISNT SOMETHING YOU’LL HEAR YOURSELF SAY TOO OFTEN.

  • Empire8840

    Steve Blake….somebody please remind me why we signed this weak ass player?

    • Anonymous

      I believe it had something to do with how well he played against NOLA in the last round.

    • Anonymous

      I believe it had something to do with how well he played against NOLA in the last round.

  • LakerMarc

    EXACTLY LOVE THE TITLE CUZ ITS 100% TRUE AND PATHETIC, MAN! THE MAVS DIDNT GO OUT THERE AND WIN THE LAKERS HANDED THAT VICTORY TO THEM!!!!!

  • Touch Me

    Are you all this foolish we lost because dallas is better. Dallas have homecourt now and we have no anwser for Dirk. Pau is soft and Kobe isn’t clutch anymore guys it’s over let’s throw in the towelas we will get runned over in game 2.

  • Anonymous

    Kobe gave the win away when he made that stupid pass in where he drove the lane. That was just a complete blackout moment for him. And then when he tripped and turned the ball over later down the clock.

    Of course, the lackluster bench play and giving away that large lead was really bad too, but in the end we would still have won if Kobe had not made these two big mistakes down the stretch.

    He had a good game but in the last possessions he simply tripped, literally.

  • http://twitter.com/Yaya_LTL Yaya

    LMAO

  • JJ30

    Sorry but it looks like the Lakers are done. They’re playing in Dallas tonight and I have a feeling they are going to lose again. Dallas just looks like the better team and seems to want it more.