Lakers/Mavericks: When Push Comes To Shove, Lakers Outclass The Mavs

Darius Soriano —  March 31, 2011

Calling this game wild doesn’t really do it justice.

Three Lakers and two Mavericks were ejected. Seven technicals were handed out to seven different players. The teams combined to shoot 62 FT’s. A first half of offensive fireworks turned into a defensive, foul heavy slug fest in the second half. And after it was all said and done the Lakers cruised past the Mavs 110-82 to win their 8th straight game and increase their lead over them to one and a half games in the race for the 2nd seed.

And while most will focus on how this game devolved into a shoving match with flagrant fouls and ejections, what I’ll remember is how the Lakers once again proved that the Mavs truly struggle to compete with them over the course of a full contest. Dallas may have been able to keep this game close early on by making their jump shots and changing up the pace of the game with their reserve guards, but the Lakers bigs were again too much for the Mavs front line to handle.

With Andrew Bynum scoring 18 points on only 9 shots and grabbing 13 rebounds and Pau Gasol pouring in 20 of his own on only 14 shots while chipping in 7 boards of his own, the Lakers starting big men controlled the interior and just wore Dallas down. Bynum especially dominated the paint by earning excellent position inside and punishing any Dallas defender that tried to guard him. On several possessions he simply buried a Maverick big right in front of the rim and executed a simple jump hook for the easy two. As for Gasol, he worked his mid-range game to perfection but also went into the post against Dirk and got off several good looks in the paint as well. And when the Laker bigs weren’t scoring on their own shots, they cleaned up for their mates by securing offensive rebounds cleanly or simply tipping balls back into the hoop after their teammates’ misses.

Despite fantastic performances from Pau and ‘Drew though, Lamar Odom may have been the big man that really made the difference. In a game that many were claiming could determine who wins the 6th man of the year award, Lamar came up big (again) by scoring 16 points on 10 shots, grabbing 11 rebounds, and dishing out 3 assists. When the game was still relatively close at the end of the third and into the fourth quarter, LO went on a personal 11-0 run to break the game open by knocking down three consecutive 3 pointers and then getting to the bucket for a lay up. That push put the Lakers up by 20 and that was essentially the game.

With Dallas down big, however their frustrations started to boil over. Only a couple possessions after LO’s lay in, Steve Blake penetrated on the left side of the floor, took a bump from Jason Terry, and then proceeded to get shoved to the ground by Terry after the whistle blew. Blake, never one to back down, promptly got up and went face to face with Terry to voice his displeasure. As the refs rushed in to break up them up, Matt Barnes came in and gave a strong push to Terry and all hell broke loose. Before you knew it Brendan Haywood was going after Matt Barnes, Barnes was being restrained from behind by a Dallas Coach (who he ended up pushing down when trying to escape his grasp), and Blake and Terry were still trying to get at each other. The whole thing was simply crazy and resulted with Blake, Barnes, Terry, and Haywood all getting tossed.

After order was finally restored to the game, the Mavs made a quick push, the Lakers recovered nicely and got the lead back to 19, and the benches came into the game. However, before all the Laker starters could come out of the contest there was one last incident. After securing an offensive rebound and going back up for a put back, Pau Gasol got hit in the head and knocked to the ground by Brian Cardinal. Shannon Brown then shoved Cardinal and then was promptly ejected for sticking up for his teammate. All in all that meant all three of the Killer B’s got ejected. (As an aside, Brian Cardinal was playing sort of like a hockey goon at this point. I watched him for several consecutive possessions and on each play he took some sort of cheap shot at a player. Whether it was a giving a little bit extra push on a screen or going out of his way to bump a guy when he cut through the lane, he was initiating contact as often as he could. At the time I noted on twitter that he was playing dirty and a couple of plays later he committed his 2nd foul on Pau that ended up getting Shannon ejected.)

In the end, there was so much more to this game that deserves mention that it’s kind of sad most of it will be overshadowed by the chippiness of the game and fact that Barnes may be facing further sanction from the league. I mean, Kobe had another good night scoring 28 points to go along with his 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and two steals. Ron Artest continued his offensive resurgence by hitting several key jumpers, including 2 of his 4 three point attempts, on his way to 13 points. Ron was also very good night moving the ball and in making plays for others, tallying a team high 6 assists while having 0 turnovers. As a team, the Lakers were excellent on both sides of the ball posting an offensive efficiency of 117.0 while committing only 7 turnovers (including zero in the fourth quarter. Their defense was just as great as they limited the Mavs to only 12 fourth quarter points, only 31 in the 2nd half, while posting a defensive efficiency of 87.2. Dallas only shot 36% from the field and no one outside of Dirk had a meaningful affect on the game.

Simply a dominant performance that has the Lakers in prime position to continue their run, playing what’s easily their best ball of the year. At this point, I think it’s fair to say that there isn’t a team playing better ball right now than the Lakers. And considering we’re only 8 games away from the end of the regular season, I’d say that’s pretty good timing.

Darius Soriano

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28 responses to Lakers/Mavericks: When Push Comes To Shove, Lakers Outclass The Mavs

  1. We need attitude as much as the wins at this point of the season, and establish ourselves as such as well.

    So not really fretting about the potential missed games by Barnes, even if it means us losing the 2nd seed and not getting the 1st.

    Worst that can happen is us drawing Dallas in the 2nd round, and after this game, I’m not so sure if that’s a bad thing.

  2. Where the heck did Theo come from? No publications listed him as ready to play and even Darius has him as out in his pregame. So how did he end up shooting a couple free throws and playing tonight?

    Oh yeah, it goes without saying “When healthy and complete, no team in the League can beat the Lakers in a seven game series.” That was simply awesome!!!

  3. I’m in college on the East Coast so I haven’t seen many games since winter break. What do you all think of Kobe and his bum ankle? Are the effects of that injury still easily discernible on TV?

  4. http://espn.go.com/espnradio/player?rd=1#/podcenter/?callsign=KSPNAM&autoplay=1&id=6270504

    It’s amazing that Celts fans really believe that they never lost with their starting five, us not having Drew (period) or Trevor (limited to 12 minutes) for the 2008 Championship did not matter because Drew was never healthy any way, but not having Marquis Daniels mattered when they played us. Wow, these guys are delusional!!!

  5. I have not yet seen the game (downloading it at the moment). So I have two questions:

    1 – Where did that shove from Terry come from, was there some precurser, seemed extremely stupid and should give a suspension.

    2 – How about the Terry or Kidd/Dirk pick n pop, that could be deadly play against the Lakers’ scheme with the big hanging back in the bucket. Did the Mavs burns us with that play?

    (Damn ‘Drew is beasting Dirk in the highlights, wonderful.)

  6. @TheDAne: where do u download the games?

  7. The Beast was back again tonight… And after one dunk by Bynum… Gasol had this look on his face like “I’m glad I don’t have to play against this guy.” But the thing I’ll take away from this game is how far we have come from a talent stand point. At one time we had a bunch of weak players and our starting PF playing Center. Now we have Andrew Bynum making NBA starting Centers look like college shooting guards. We have our back up PG pealing himself off the floor to go right after the bully. We have RonRon kissing his biceps. And of course there is Matt Barnes. What can you say about him? The man is just a killer. We have come a long ways. From a soft and weak unit to one of the most physically imposing rosters the NBA has ever seen.

  8. Great! Jackson finally puts Odom at SF for the long-awaited big line-up and it’s with Joe Smith and Theo Ratliff aka the oldest PF-C combo in league history! ;)

    It’s great to see Artest now doing effortlessly what he seemed incapable of last season and even much of this season – moving the ball well instead of stopping it, playing well off the ball and hitting on the catch and shoot, and being decisive when he is in position to make a play. Right now he plays his role perfectly while getting way less touches than he was used to on other teams. His attitude has been so much fun to watch.

    Also loving his new move of hooking the defender on the seal and making it look like he was being held.

  9. Renato Afonso April 1, 2011 at 4:40 am

    Aaron: I think the most physically imposing team ever were the late 80′s/early 90′s Pistons, period. No team will ever be as vicious as that one.

    About the game, nothing to say… Love the fact that both of our SF’s play the enforcer and with Bynum in beast mode the rest of the team follows them. Maybe we don’t need an OKC to wake us up this time around ;) Similarities to the 2001 season, anyone?

  10. Been laying in the weeds for a while, after last nights contest the league has been put on notice. This take no prisoners attitude LA has adopted since the all star break is really fun to watch. From the smiles on the players faces as a teammate makes a play, to the dont mess with my boy or your messing with me mentality. I knew this team would get to this point some time or another during the course of the season( I thought it would have been a little earlier in the year). It doesnt matter who this team plays or where they play, if LA continues to have the same focus there is no team in the league that will be able to compete in a seven game series.

  11. I’m beginning to think that Phil’s “I don’t think we can chase the Spurs for No. 1″ was another one of his jedi mind tricks.

  12. Hillary Ocholla April 1, 2011 at 6:25 am

    One loss through the whole month! March 2011 was definitely a good month for Lakers fans (besides that one loss to the Heat).

    Hopefully June will end up being a great month.

  13. #4 re: the celtics and their whining about “if healthy
    bs”…ofcourse it’s bogus. we know exactly what happened in 08 and then in 10 with a very injured bynum.

    but in a way, if you are a true celtic hater, then last year’s scenario makes them losing to the lakers even more bitter. it’s when you think u should have won and don’t that is hard to swallow. the hardest loss during the 80s run was in 1984 when the celtics won in 7 games after the lakers handed them a gift in game 2…

    the 2010 banner will stick in their craw for a long time. 2011 will be the butt-whipping they deserve and franchise records will be even.

  14. kehntangibles April 1, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Here’s the flow chart to thinking like a Celtic fan:

    STEP 1: play the injury card.

    STEP 2: play the refereeing card

    STEP 3: call Gasol soft

    STEP 4: When a Laker fan points out that Gasol out-rebounded Garnett 18-3 in Game 7, see STEP 1

  15. I thought Barnes and Terry deserved to be thrown out. Not so sure about Blake and Heywood. Those two didn’t do a whole lot besides the usual mouthing off and gesturing. Unless there was something really incendiary that wasn’t picked up on the audio, seems like it was typical Joey Crawford overreaction in trying to get a handle on the situation. At most double T on both and let them stay in the game. But Barnes and Terry for their actions, definitely should have been thrown out.

    I like Barnes chippiness but he’s got to restrain it a little bit. Okay to rush in there to protect your teammate but not to initiate physical contact. He’s got to be a lot smarter than that.

    I really liked Blake’s activity in this game. From the second he was on the floor it seemed like he just had that extra pep in his step. He’s usually pretty active anyway but it just looked different this time. Liked he was more on edge and locked in even more. Yeah, he didn’t make shots but I loved how aggressive he was in penetrating and taking shots. It really helped the overall offense.

    Defensively, he just seemed more physical. Fighting over screens and bumping his guy just seemed like he was laying the wood harder. Almost Fisher-esque in how he would initiate contact with the screens and his guy.

    Amazing how this team has come from 08 softness offensively finesse image to being seen as one of the most physical defensive squads in the league. All in the span of 3 years.

    On Drew’s monster man’s dunk, I loved the joyous look on Pau’s face afterwards. Ran it back a few times just to see the combination of disbelief and happiness on all the Lakers as the realized what Drew did. At the same time Drew just had this glower to his face. Awesome, just awesome.

  16. For all his dominance, Drew is just a big kid glad to be playing the game. This really came out when you look at some angles of the Terry – Blake altercation in the 4th qtr. Andrew was staying away from all the action. He is our anchor and I am glad he doesn’t have to prove how tough he is in confrontations with other players. Just do it to them at the basket Drew – we love it.

    This also belies the comments that I have seen that he has a mean streak and his hard foul was evidence of it. This latest ‘fight’ just shows he was frustrated – like Phil said – in the Timberwolf game.

  17. Kehntangibles,

    Ha, ha! Classic!

  18. It’s hilarious to me how Cuban and Terry try to make it as if the Lakers and Mavs have this big rivalry. I respect the hell out of Dirk and the rest of the players, but Cuban and Terry talking trash makes me glad that they get punked out everytime (by PJ and Barnes respectively in this case)

  19. I don’t know why I keep forgetting there is history between Matt Barnes and the Mavericks. It always slips my mind that he was on that Golden State team that took Dallas down in the first round in 2007. I am curious to see the NBA’s reaction to the whole situation. If Barnes is suspended it should only be for one game. Personally, I don’t think he should be suspended. He did not initiate the situation and he was attempting to walk away. But the NBA is weird when it comes to these kinds of matters.

    Also, Lamar pretty much wrapped up 6th man of the year last night.

  20. Re: “big rivalries”.

    Portland thinks we have a “big rivalry” with them. So did Sacramento. So did Phoenix. So did Utah. So does Dallas. So did Denver, until the Ariza steal.

    NBA Championships among those teams, all-time: 1.

    What they all have in common: a desire to be contenders and knowing that they have to go over, through or (they’d prefer) around the Lakers.

    The only rivalry the Lakers have is with the Celtics, and that’s getting settled this year.

  21. I can’t believe I’m doing this, but to quote Wheelchair Peirce, in response to the Knicks saying they are rivals with the Celitcs, “We have a rivalry?”.

    That’s the Lakers’ response to all teams in the West except the Spurs.

  22. If Jason Kidd is going to gaurd kobe your done. It’s not even going to be a series. Kobe in the playoffs and kobe in the regular season is a completely different Beast. We always have that trump card. If You wanna sign bigs to your team (okc) (boston,shaq(you coward)), it doesn’t matter because nobody on your team can gaurd kobe. even at 60% that he’s playing at right now he punishes his defender. in the playoffs even if he was on one leg he would dominate you in the post. If we play Miami, I have no doubt kobe will win that battle with wade because of his abillity to go into the Post and punish him at 6’4 dwade can’t handle that. We always forget we have the kobe trump card when teams clog in the middle with the fifty free agent big men they picked up. Dallas has Brendan Haywood and Tyson chandler. 2 good defensive big men and it doesn’t matter cuz kobe just splashed 28 all over your grill cuz you have a 38 year old kidd gaurding him. Terry talkin all this mess before the game that kobe doesn’t wanna chase him around….yea duh cuz he’s hurt, but can you gaurd him? i didn’t see you steppin up and asking for that assignment. I’M THE JAUGGERNAUT *****!

  23. The KILLER B’s have lived up to their name :D dont mess with me or my bro or am gonna kill yah!! On a side note, with the spurs losing tonight, it seems the impossibility of the lakers taking the 1st seed is more becoming possible. I have been on the side of the lakers having the easier route to the playoffs by facing NOH then Dallas on the 2nd round. But now that the lakers may indeed catch up with the Spurs, I am a bit on my way on turning a 360 degree on my original position. Afterall, that would be a better preparation for a Finals meet with either Chicago, Boston, Miami or Orlando if we face Memphis, OKC & San Antonio in the West playoffs. And having HCA through out the playoffs is an assurance of some sort that we will have a threepeat

  24. @3: Kobe has an ankle injury?

    Seriously though, he isn’t playing like he had one lately. The ankle injury he had mirrored one I had back in the day and I thought I broke it too, only to be sidelined 1.5 months. It really was the closest to breaking my ankle I ever had.

    Another one of the many reasons Kobe is already a legend, his ability to recuperative abilities and pain threshold compared to other players is unparalleled.

    Bye.

  25. Exactly, and the Lakers and Spurs are both too smart to get caught up in “rivalry” nonsense. They just want to beat each other.

  26. If you are looking for a precedent to the Barnes-Terry-Blake incident, you don’t have to look very far. John Wall got suspended one game for “throwing his arm (jabbing at the chest) at Ilgauskas” Ilgauskas gets a 35k fine for starting it all and throwing 3-4 elbows at Wall’s face. Juwan Howard, who came over and “shoved” Wall, got a 25k fine. In my opinion, what Howard and Barnes did was the same thing, so I’m expecting a heavy fine on Barnes, and a one game suspension for Terry and no additional penalties for Brown and Blake

  27. I’d expect at least a one game suspension on Barnes, because he looks like a thug and the NBA will do anything to keep its image clean.