Game 1 Preview & Chat: Lakers vs. Mavericks

Darius Soriano —  May 2, 2011

The wait for the games to come back is finally over as the Lakers’ second round series starts tonight. We’ve covered a lot of ground already – looking at the when the Lakers and the Mavs have the ball – but there’s still some things to look out for tonight in this all important game one. With more on the mind, a few additional things I’m looking for tonight…

*The forgotten “big” man in this series is Shawn Marion. He’ll have a lot of responsibility this series on both sides of the ball, likely spending a fair amount of time defending Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, and Lamar Odom. He’ll be depended upon to be a defensive stopper on the wing and will need to rebound well in the Mavs’ small line ups to ensure that the Lakers don’t rack up offensive rebounds. But where he’ll be just as important is on the offensive side of the ball. The Mavs primary scorers are Dirk and Terry, but in the games that they played the Lakers close Marion was a key contributor on that side of the ball. The Lakers must be aware of him running the floor as Jason Kidd will often reward a streaking Marion with an on time and on target pass to set him up for an easy finish. Plus, in the half court, his in-between offensive game where he uses his good first step to get by a defender and then flips up a floater before the second defender can rotate to him is something to watch for. The Lakers need to lay off Marion (think about how they’ve played Kenyon Martin over the years) to make him a jump shooter or to at least make his first dribble not be one that goes by the defender, but rather into the sagging D. This will allow his man to better contest his shot and also let the secondary big man stay home and grab defensive rebounds rather than having to help on Marion’s penetration.

*The Lakers (as every team) have had loads of trouble dealing with small, quick guards and the Mavs sport 3 of these types of players that fit this description to a “T”. We’ve covered notorious Laker-killer Jason Terry a lot already, but Barrea and (potentially) Roddy Beaubois offer similar types of games. Both of these guys love to attack off the bounce and the Lakers will need to protect against their dribble penetration in order to avoid getting collapsed and having shooters and slashers break open when the help comes. Expect Phil to use Steve Blake extensively against Jason Terry and that means Shannon Brown will spend a lot of time on Barea and Beaubois (should he play). Shannon must effectively use his size advantage to lay off Barea and then challenge shots only when he leaves his feet. The Laker bigs must also be aware of Barea’s penetration coming off the P&R as he loves to keep the ball on a string and not give up his dribble until he’s going to shoot or pass (much like Nash/Paul). I understand it’s difficult to imagine such a small player having such a big impact, but Barea is capable if allowed to run free. He must be marked consistently as he can push the Mavs 2nd unit to another level offensively.

*We briefly touched on the Mavs’ zone defense in our previews but didn’t go into a ton of detail into how the Lakers need to attack it should the Mavs deploy it in the series. As Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook breaks down, the Lakers must continue to run their offense against the zone as good looks can come out of it. The Lakers can not get lazy by simply swinging the ball around the perimeter and then settling for jumpers. That’s what the zone wants, and the Lakers would be doing Mavs a great favor by taking this approach. Instead, the Lakers must make direct entries into the post and to the flash man coming from the weak side in order to get into the gaps of the defense. After the entry is made, the cuts and screen actions of the Triangle will force the zone to move and players will break open for easy shots both going to the rim and in spot up situations around the arc. Odom and Gasol will be key players against the zone as they both have a great feel for space and movement while also showing great chemistry together. If both are in the game together when this defense is implemented, I’d love for Odom to find the creases at the FT line and along the shallow baseline and play some two man game with Gasol to hunt easy scores. If this fails, understand that Kobe can always attack the zone from the top of the key as the Mavs love to run this D with one or both of Terry and Barrea in the game. Against such a smallish backcourt, Kobe can easily go into his back down game, get to the elbow, and elevate for the shot or hit an open teammate when the help comes.

*Can either team make the opponent’s star work on both ends? I’m greatly intrigued by the big man battle for European supremacy (Pau vs. Dirk) and hope to see our Spaniard take it the big German on both ends of the floor. If Gasol can consistently force Dirk to defend (especially in the post), I think it can go a long way to taking away some of Dirk’s leg strength for all those jumpers he’ll be taking. On the flip side, I wonder how the Mavs are going to attack Kobe and his still not 100% ankle. Stevenson is not an offensive threat and if Kobe guards him, we’ll likely see our #24 look like Willie Mays (another #24), playing a lot of center field trying to disrupt Dallas’ sets. If Kobe is on Kidd, expect to see him sag off and make him bury the three pointer, but do so off the dribble ducking behind screens rather than just leaving him alone in spot up situations. If the Lakers know what’s best for them, they’ll treat Kidd like the capable shooter he is when given time and space to set his feet and fire away.

*Speaking of Kidd, the Lakers must try to keep him (and Terry) to one side of the floor in the half court. Kidd has no issues with going baseline and then leaving his feet to hit the cross court wing spotting up, but the Lakers offer enough size in the paint to obstruct passing angles and enough recovery speed to close out on those shooters. What the Lakers can’t do is allow Dallas ball handlers to attack the middle of the floor from the wing as it will destroy the team’s defensive integrity. Discipline must be shown here; this is no time for gambling as the Mavs’ smart guards will make the Lakers pay.

There’s certainly more to cover but in the end, there’s only so much to say as the game will be decided on the floor and not on a grease board. Game one sets the tone of the series and like the Lakers learned against the Hornets, a loss in this first game can mean a hard fought, uphill climb the remainder of the series. The Lakers need to strike first, hold their home court, and instantly instill doubt in the minds of the Mavs. Effort and discipline are needed tonight. Let’s hope the Lakers do what’s needed.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start on TNT.

Darius Soriano

Posts

179 responses to Game 1 Preview & Chat: Lakers vs. Mavericks

  1. …….for warren

    I want to see us pound the glass on this team, that’s where our advantage is most clear

  2. Number one issue: Endgame offense. Can the Lakers avoid the temptation to be Kobe-centric and is this the round where it’s really going to matter? I think back to the loss to the Spurs where McDyess’ tip in won the game. I echoed the feelings of many that there were positives to be extracted from that painful result, and the Lakers’ ability to diversify their endgame offense was one of the bigger ones. Since then, we’ve seen games where the Lake Show slips into the Kobe vortex, and I’ve no interest in the chicken/egg Kobe/team distribution of blame/game. The point is that the Lakers need to utilize the MULTIPLE scoring threats they have on the floor at the end of games.

    Last thing: I didn’t see the last game vs. the Mavs, but they CANNOT be serious about putting Kidd on Ron Ron for extended periods can they? That seems like a suicidal option for the Mavs on both ends assuming Ron Ron resumes the playoffs in the Beast Mode he’s been in since the second season started.

  3. Two things I hope to see…

    1. Feed the ball to whoever Dirk is guarding. Not only is he a sub-par defender, Dirk will have to choose between matador defense or possibly being in foul trouble. I’m pretty sure he’ll be exclusively guarding Gasol and Odom, and they need to attack the rim and use headfakes to get Dirk to bite.

    2. Let the Mavs be the Mavs. They’re a jump shooting team. Yes, they’re probably the best jump shooting team, but you’d prefer long shots over points in the paint any day. Relegate them to being one-dimensional, and we’ll see a team that will have scoreless stretches of 2-3 minutes.

  4. I am hoping to see our guards box out. We know that our bigs are superior on the boards, but jump shooting teams create long rebounds. The best way to compensate for that is to put a body on your man, turn to the basket, and then go to the ball aggressively.

    Looking forward to tonight, and to watching Bynum continue the fine post season we have all been longing for the last three seasons.

  5. Good point 3Threelll, can’t let J Kidd get those long boards.

    Bynum and Gasol need to set tone tonight, would love to see 2 early fouls on Dirk.

  6. im going to the game tonight!

    i may be in the nosebleeds, but i’ll cheer extra for FB&G!

  7. Nowitzki will find out tonight the difference between playing against 7-footer Lakers player and 6-9 Portland power forward. Memphis made smart choice to avoid Lakers in the first round.
    Lakers in six.

  8. J.D. Hastings May 2, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    For people who like statistical analysis, I liked this article by the guy currently in the lead of Truehoop’s stat geek showdown:

    http://skepticalsports.com/?page_id=69

    Nothing specific as to these playoffs, but it presents some alternative analysis to conventional wisdom. It shows that early season records matter more than late season, number of 3 pointers shot helps determine series length and other interesting correlations.

    I particularly like his point on pace. He doesn’t explain exactly what he means other than showing that more possessions allow your efficiency of offense to represent itself more often, but I’ve often thought pace is too easily thrown out of analysis. Efficiency is good to note when explaining how a high possession team isn’t as good at offense (or bad on defense) as you think, but a lot of times a team’s efficiency depends on the pace they’re able to play (for instance, d’Antoni’s PHX squads were much less efficient if you slowed the game down by forcing the ball inside).

    Anyways, interesting general analysis.

  9. J.D. Hastings May 2, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    BTW here’s my personal scouting report on how the Laker might tackle the zone:

    Ball handler will dribble on the wing, survey the zone, take a furtive step inside the 3 point line, back out confused, then pass to the man at the top of the key, who will repeat this action before passing into the corner or back to the original ball handler for a late shotclock 3 point attempt that will miss.

  10. I always believe that in the playoffs the last round of opponent always prepares the winning team to the next round. I think the Lakers will be somehow ready on having to guard a quick point guard using dribble penetration skills as they were already prepared by Chris Paul for during the last round. I do agree that we have to keep Marion in check as Dirk and Terry would get their points but if we can contain the other guys then Dallas would have a hardtime keeping pace with our firepower.

  11. I dont wanna get everyone over excited about this series.. but remember that all star forward we couldn’t stop on the Sacremento Kings? The guy we were rumored to be offering Lamar Odom for? He is our starting SF and our fifth option. Life is good. Enjoy and don’t stress till we okay the Heat in the Finals.

  12. I want to see a game 1 home victory. Winning game 1 at home is crucial, as it forces the Mavericks to win 3 straight in order to put the Lakers in a hole after the first rotation of home-and-home. Worst case scenario is probably coming home tied at 2-2 for game 5 with 2 of the last 3 at home.

    Set the tone early and take care of business at home tonight please.

  13. anyone with a stream?

  14. Wow Atlanta is poised to take Game1 against the Bulls.

  15. This should be an exciting series, I say Lakers in 7. The fact that Kobe hasn’t played Dirk in the playoffs should not be all that surprising.

    http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/05/lakers-mavericks-why-havent-they-played.html

  16. Charles Barkley lives in an alternate universe. He doubts Kobe every chance he can get and has been proven wrong damn near every time. Dirk better than Kobe? WoW

  17. Attention, Lakers…the home team has lost in the playoffs once again. Chicago lost to Atlanta.

  18. What’s up? Why hasn’t the game started yet?

  19. whats the hold up?

  20. Bynum has got to finish those shots, he needs to use the glass.

    Dallas worries for me one reason and one reason alone – 3 Point shooting, if the Lakers aren’t disciplined on defense they will make us pay

  21. I like all the 2nd chance points we are getting, but to many J’s, need more pounding inside and cutters making layups.

  22. I don’t know if we call this a hot start by Kobe or not. After the first 3, he was clearly in heat check mode. I swear he does that more than any other guy in the NBA!

    Nice to hit some outside jumpers early in the game though. Need Drew to get operating down low now to mix it up.

  23. Try those:
    “http://www.myp2pforum.eu/threads/55831-NBA-Today!-May-2nd-Playoffs”

  24. I saw the one on three break and knew fish would stop it

  25. Honestly read the scouting report, the Mavs shoot the ball well. Run them off the 3 point line and force them to shoot mid range jumpers, this lack of discipline on defense is what has plagued this team all season long.

    I mean really is it a secret as to what Jason Kidd and Jason Terry do?

  26. kehntangibles May 2, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Lakers need to close out on three point shooters and run their offense inside-out and we’ll be fine.

    Also, how many times in the history of FB & G has one of us said that? :)

  27. Man, Lakers getting physical, bumping a lot on hedges and when they set sliding screens.

  28. @25 my thoughts exactly. this series likely hinges on how well they defend the 3 cuz I don’t think the mavs can score enough without 3s

  29. kehntangibles – It’s definitely up there with “it’s just 1 game out of 82″ as a common FB&G refrain…

    EDIT – And I am probably as guilty as anyone when it comes to using both comments!

  30. Haha! Thanks for that one, AusPhil. Yes, that comment was annoying all year! :)

    In this series, I think our bench play is going to be key because their bench has guys that are like starters.

  31. I like Blake on Terry and Brown on Barea. Barea’s quicker than our guards either way, but Blake’s the stronger defender and he has less chance of falling asleep and letting Terry get hot than Shannon.

  32. The Mavs were also one of the best road teams in the NBA this year so I hope the Lakers play with a greater sense of urgency.

  33. Yeah, if we leave their 3-point shooters alone, they will take them and make them all night long.

  34. Having twice as many turnovers as Dallas so far is not helping LA build any kind of rhythm.

  35. this aint the team for double teams and scrambling defense

  36. Wow, did you see that play, a Gasol no-look-pass to a cutting Bynum for a power dunk!

  37. The Law of Averages is catching up with Artest

    Love this aggressiveness by Lamar

  38. Love Lamar’s defensive work against Dirk so far. Really bodying him up well without fouling.

    Pau’s playing in great control offensively. Not forcing anything, finding cutters, really making some gorgeous passes.

    Looks like Ron’s regressing to the mean.

    Also, I liked Shannon’s defensive work while he was in. I’m the first to cringe at his low-IQ defensive, but he looked focused and energetic and really took on the challenge of guarding the fastest guy on the floor.

  39. I wish D-Fish would pull a Luis Scola on Terry.

  40. kehntangibles May 2, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    pro tip: STAY NEXT TO JASON TERRY

  41. We’re a little too jumpshot happy. We could learn a thing or two from Memphis about properly using the bigs. We’ve had several chances to grab the lead, but we end up taking some poor shots.

  42. Lol Fisher and his layup prayers

  43. Thats at least the 3rd time I have seen Fisher go basket to basket this post season. Usually I would cringe with Fisher take shots inside, but hes been making them.

  44. nice to not be on the recieving end of one of those for a change

  45. kehntangibles May 2, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Nice job by Artest to provoke Dirk there

  46. Snoopy – Excellent point re: Memphis. I was thinking about that when watching the Spurs go down the other day. The Grizzlies have really worked their offense around the 2 bigs (especially since Rudy Gay went down). I wonder how hard it is for LA to do this due to the Kobe factor.

    And for those of us complaining about finishing quarters, THAT was a nice change!

  47. LA is clearly the mentally tougher team so far. They’re not playing better or executing extremely well, but Matt Barnes was right. The formula for beating the Mavs is “punk em”

  48. He threw an elbow there deliberately. Is that a suspension!?

  49. @49. It’s a tech, but he didn’t rotate his shoulders and swing the elbow. Also, they’re not going to call a foul on Artest on a made FT. They probably would have called him for the foul if that last FT was missed.

  50. They have been letting them play tonight also, I love it, Playoff basketball for sure.

  51. We need to come out at the start of the 2nd half and blitz them. Get some seperation … Also have to do a better job of ‘marking’ Terry. As I and a few others mentioned on a previous thread, if you eliminate/nuetralize him, the Mavs don’t have a chance n hell

  52. this is a big 3rd quarter. if the lakers win the quarter it will be hard for Dallas to win the game

  53. kehntangibles May 2, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Oh god this third quarter start is as filthy as Ke$he’s laundry hamper.

  54. more DeShawn!

  55. Kobe w/ the dagger 3!

  56. And THAT is how you start a half. Now that they’re on the ground, you put your foot on their throat. It’s what LA have struggled to do this season, so let’s see if we can manage it tonight.

  57. Well, the Lakers just picked up at the beginning of the 2nd half where they left off after the 1st, taking out the Mavericks, in any and all ways. Lets build up like a 25 point lead or so.

  58. Yup. Ron’s trying to get back to the mean as quickly as possible.

  59. Well, those early quarter celebrations were premature to say the least! Gave up that nice big lead in a hurry.

    That’s a 17-4 run in the wrong direction over the last 5 minutes or so.

  60. that was a terrible couple of minutes

  61. does any team struggle with success more than the lakeshow? come on guys….go inside and slow the game down…

  62. Damn it AusPhil. I blame this all on you. Foot on their throat… yeah right.

    We’re talking about the 2011 Los Angeles Lakers. Come on.

  63. Typical Lakers.. Jumps into a big lead nad lets the opposing team crawl back without calling a timeout until the lead is to small. After the timeout they will pull away again.

  64. 2 straight TOs by pau and then a defensive breakdown on dirk. horrible stretch here for pau

  65. Unbelievable. Starters establish the seperation that I was looking for and then give it right away.

  66. Dallas on a 17-4 run, ugh . . . The Lakers always make it harder on themselves than they need to.

  67. Simonoid – Yeah, I was being WAY to optimistic there. I needed to keep my “foot on the throat” concept to myself! Lesson learned!

  68. Ron, I think you’ve undershot the mean. Feel free to make shots now.

  69. KOBE TIME!!!

  70. Right now, we’re living and dying by Kobe, which is good and bad. Good because we need every bucket we can get to kill the Mavs’ momentum after blowing the big lead. Bad because… well, we all know why.

  71. That 2nd Kobe 3 point attempt is so frustrating to me. We’re up 6, and he heat checks from 27 feet straight off a turnover. Not my favourite shot.

    (If it goes in, we’d all be loving it, but yeah.)

  72. Message to Barkley. Dirk is not and never has been as great as Kobe.

  73. Monster quarter from Kobe, love it. But I really hope in the 4th (when Kobe checks back in) we continue to feed the bigs. Especially Bynum. Play inside-out, that’s sustainable success.

    I’m in awe of these Kobe runs, but I’m also a little bit terrified that he’ll take this as license to gun poor-percentage shots late in the game. Generally though, he plays a smarter game in the playoffs. We’ll see.

  74. Bynum is definitely still not 100%. He looks just a bit slow and awkward out there.

    Honestly, if I were the Mavs, I wouldn’t double-team Bynum. He just isn’t dominating when he’s single covered.

  75. kehntangibles May 2, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Mavs are unreal from beyond the arc. Half of it’s our fault, but this will regress to the mean over the course of the series. Hopefully

  76. when is shannon brown ever going to recover from his slump?

  77. Um Phil put the starters back, our bench quite frankly sucks based on the talent they have it’s embarassing.

    Note to Ron Artest- Never shoot again.

  78. The offense and defense has absolutely no logic right now. They are gunning from all over the place and allowing Dallas’ shooters to play target practice. It’s time to get patient with the ball and close out on shooters on the other end.

  79. Dallas is shooting 50% from 3PTLand.

    Which is BETTER than their overall percentage.

    Not good.

    Let’s hope that Phil doesn’t give our bench too much more rope. They are being outscored 34-19…

    (Bench has maintained a 3 point lead for the starters… Let’s go guys.)

  80. Time to bring back the starters Phil

  81. WTF PHIL put the damn starters back

  82. Is it that hard to pass the ball to Bynum in the post? I’m not a professional NBA player, but it seems like a reasonable request.

  83. bynum missing gimmes

  84. That’s where Shannon should be taking shots, from under the basket using his athleticism, not from distance.

  85. I’m surprised we got the most road-friendly refereeing crew in NBA history for our first game. And even more surprised they actually favoured us more today.

  86. kehntangibles May 2, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    A close and arguably undeserved win would be the best scenario here. We’ll need a kick in the butt for game 2

  87. I love that move by Odom!

  88. I like sitting Bynum in crunch against Dallas, he has been ineffective most of the night and Lamar plays so much better when he’s not trying to be our entire bench by himself. The only issue is that puts Pau on Chandler and Pau can’t handle his aggressiveness. Lamar is probably our best defender on Dirk as well

  89. i moan and groan about pau and lamar regularly….so tonight kudos to both
    (so far)

  90. 89. lamar has defended dirk really well

  91. kehntangibles May 2, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Either team in the penalty?

  92. Sorry, I can’t give Lamar too much credit when he’s allowing Dirk to get to his spots and only getting his hand up on jumpers half the time.

  93. Pau came to play tonight, aggressive and active. But, I am on the edge of my chair, and now Kobe just turned the ball over.

  94. WTF was that Pau?

    Kobe with the great play and then the horrible TO

    Well if you can’t win a game by getting one final stop on defense then you don’t deserve to win the game at all. This is where Champions are made

  95. Interesting ending.

  96. Kobe really wanted to go himself that time. Dallas sent the double and many times, Kobe makes the read and passes out of the double perfectly. But he really wanted to force the issue there.

  97. Bynum should be in the game.

    Kobe needs to realize that the book on defending him has now been simplified, “Hit his hands as he dribble drives.”

    Gasol needs to body up, make a strong move TO the basket, and draw the foul.

  98. Even if we lose this game, my fear of Dallas is low. Am I crazy?

  99. The refs owe us a foul.

  100. WTF was phil jackson doing during that time out????

  101. Thanks Pau.

  102. what is Phil doing? first he leaves bench in too long and then pau on dirk. Wtf

  103. EMH101 I think you are crazy this team is the biggest threat to LA in the West.

    I cannot in my right mind understand why Pau would even attempt to steal that pass. Play sound defense instead of gambling, you are not Trevor Ariza circa 2009

  104. Dirty Dirk sold a flop..

  105. Go inside hard & force DAL to foul. Make the freethrows!! Play D. Done deal.

  106. Wow Pau Gasol way to give Dallas the game

  107. Wow. Why wasn’t a foul called there?

  108. Wow. That was not how I envisaged the last 30 seconds of this game playing out.

  109. kidd was grabbing kobe

  110. kehntangibles May 2, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    How did Kidd not foul Kobe there?

  111. Kidd TACKLED Bryant. He shoved him right in the back, right in stride, and tackled him…

    No call.

    Unreal.

    Let this be a lesson kids: Never call the referees a bad name on national television.

  112. Wow, 3.1 seconds left, Lakers with the ball, exciting Playoff basketball, down to the wire, best team tonight wins, period.

    Edit: We just lost home court to the Dallas Mavericks.

  113. I’m sorry Phil just can’t trust Gasol in the clutch anymore he’s just to soft and can’t defend. But this is why they’ve been terrible in the clutch all season. I can’t wait until phil retires because they collapse time and time again when the game is on the line. He still refuses to play bynum in crunch time.

    The reason why the lakers don’t learn from their mistakes is because Phil doesn’t learn from his. He just looks confused. Just horrible coaching down the stretch.

  114. amazing that Kobe and Pau combine to blow this game.. very unclutch play from both

  115. So close . . .

  116. There is no candy coating this, this was a HORRIBLE loss.

  117. Pau and the refs were screwing with us at the end there.

  118. Phil Lost this Game at the third quarter mark when we were up by sixteen and Dallas made a run and Phil never called a timeout until the lead was only 3 pts.

  119. Can’t expect the refs to bail you out, but there should have been a foul call on Jason Kidd on the Gasol turnover.

    Lakers can never win easy…

  120. kehntangibles May 2, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    horrible no-call there. but, our own fault for putting ourselves in that position

  121. Very bad end game execution form our supposed star players. Kobe makes a terrible pass that leads to a turnover; Gasol fouls Dirk 40 feet from the basket on a very stupid play; and the icing on the cake comes when Kobe tumbles and knocks the ball out of Gasol’s hands. Simply amazing.

  122. You’re right, sT. Best team wins. And they did. How the hell do you blow a 16 pt. lead in the 3rd qtr?! It blows my mind.

  123. The Lakers are not supposed to be the weak minded ones in a late game against Dallas.

  124. Fun times.

  125. Lakers aren’t winning this series

  126. I’m going to crawl in a hole and pretend this game never happened. After I kick Mark Cuban in the mouth. Hard. Repeatedly.

  127. Could there be a more frustrating team to watch than the Lakers this year? Stuck with the bench for way too long in the fourth…. That’s when Phil normally goes for the jugular.

    I’m so mad right now, we had the lead with a minute to go and literally could no get 1 stupid stop. Dallas is a jump shooting team and they left em wide open all night.

    gab…

  128. Damn. That sucked. Can’t ask for a better look at the end though.

    That one sucked. Definitely didn’t feel like we crapped the bed like with the Hornets. We went hard from the opening tip. No room for error now.

  129. E for effo…… nah lol Lakers got lazy when they were ahead again

  130. This team just love to blow a big lead. Lakers bench is just terrible and got soundly outplayed by the opposing bench. The other problem comes from mister Phil Jackson in playing the scrubs from the bench all the way to the 6 minute mark in the final quarter, while Dallas had their best players on the floor.

  131. Lakers played this game like a regular season game and Phil did not give them the wake up call he allowed his bench to play long minutes. Did not call a timeout when the Mavs were making a run. Still confident that he Lakers will win this series.

  132. What shitty play down the stretch.

  133. this loss falls squarely on the shoulders of pau. he’s become my least favorite laker by far – soft, whiny, and not very manly. LO was right to not give it to him in the block.

  134. What a surprise, the Lakers lose yet another close game. I said it after the game 3 hornets loss. All year long they have not been great down the stretch and they lose another one yet again. You reading this Zephid, this proves my point, not only did the Lakers lose, but they gave it away.

  135. Well, that was disappointing. I still feel that the Lakers will win the series, but now it’s going to go at least 1 more game than it should have.

    16 point lead in the 3rd. Who are we this season? The 2000 Trailblazers?

  136. Mavs has 5 sharp shooters, Lakers has 1. Mavs has 2 legit big men, Lakers have 2 and a half. Cuban custom made this team for the Lakers. This is going to be a tough series for the Lakers.

  137. Hate to say it, but this loss is actually on Phil…he let Dallas go on their run, and then left the bench in too long in the fourth quarter…

    Then again, not sure how that was a foul on Pau, but not on Jason Kidd…

  138. Yes, one step closer to a heat vs mavs finals…haha

  139. So much for Dallas not being Clutch. They’ve been great in close games all year. Love this win for all those local A.M. radio callers calling for a sweep. Thanks for home court and PUNK THAT!!!! :)

  140. This in on the bench…

  141. There is lots of blame to go around (Pau, Phil, Kobe, bench) but to me it boils down to the 3rd quarter and start of the 4th quarter. The starters built a 16 pt lead and then like usual relaxed and let Dallas back in the game. Then they turned it back on and led by 7 going into the 4th and the bench lost the cushion by the time Phil put the starters back in.
    The ball didn’t roll the lakers way down the stretch (near miss at buzzer by kobe, dirk flop, no-call when kidd tackled kobe) but it never should have come down to that.

  142. It’s really time to look at Phil. The lakers do the same exact shit in crunch time every single game. Unless Kobe and/or Fisher got hot and went off, they lakers have lost close games. The Mavs close out the game on a 10-2 run because the lakers can’t defend when bynum isn’t in the game. Not to mention he’s so intent on letting his bench play all those minutes because he “likes” them. If it were last year Farmar would’ve been immediately benched if he played as bad as shannon.

    In the last 3 minutes the mavs get dunk to Chandler, 5ft shot from Marion, 9 Ft. shot from Dirk and freethrows.

    While Pau gives up alley -oop over his head because he decides that he needs to focus on Kidd while Kobe is defending him and loses his man, then takes its patented off balance falling down contested jumper because he’s too weak to get off a decent shot nowadays, fouls and sends Dirk to the Ft line, turns it over.

    Can Bynum please close the damn game. Defense wins championships. Now whatever Pau does this post season.

  143. Everyone deserves some blame on this one. Phil for questionable decisions about substitutions and timeouts. Gasol for playing tentative and committing that stupid foul. Bynum for missing 3 layups. Artest for not showing up AT ALL. The bench on paper is about as good as Dallas’s. But we get outscored by double? Lousy effort from this squad. Disgusted.

  144. I’m not worried as usual Lakers and Pau blew this game Dallas has no defense this felt more like a regular season game especially with the bs calls by the refs Lakers still In 6

  145. WTH? I don’t have access to the game but saw we were ahead midway through the fourth. I had hoped (obviously mistakenly) that we had decided to play hard all the time. I sometimes think the Lakers like the challenge of losing a Game 1, just to give themselves challenges.

  146. Here’s the scary thing, Kobe shot the ball pretty well, what if Kobe doesn’t shoot even remotely as well as he did tonight? The Lakers lose easily.

    I’ll say it again this series is the Lakers biggest threat in the West, I have felt that way all year and honestly LA is lucky Caron Butler isn’t healthy because when he was Dallas was the best team in the NBA.
    They have all of the tools to exploit the Lakers, 3 point shooters, the best bench in the entire NBA, and a superstar in Dirk that can match Kobe shot for shot, as well as big men who can negate the size of Pau and Bynum. LA better steal 1 in Dallas or this series isn’t going to end well.

  147. Sounds like no Ron Ron, Andrew with a sub-par game, and Lakers played lackadaisical D…..still not scared of the Mavs. If Lakers play as well as they can, we’re fine.

  148. “Could there be a more frustrating team to watch than the Lakers this year?” — CDog

    Yes, all the ones that are bad or not particularly good.

  149. Oh heck, a 2 point loss, we will recover, like usual. But, I am bummed out tonight for sure.

  150. i really don’t understand phil’s substitutions: he sits kobe for the first half of the 4th to instill confidence in the bench, but last game he wouldn’t trust the bench w/ the team up 17. lakers will still win the series, but b/w phil’s substitutions and pau coming up small yet again, this will be a much closer series than anyone expected.

  151. Can steve Blake make a shot?

  152. I still think Lakers are by far the best team in the west.But maybe thats the problem.

    The reason why they lose is when they get lazy. Pure effort by every player on the Lakers is virtually unstoppable.

  153. Lewis really? The Mavs can’t play defense? They were one of the best defensive teams in the NBA all season long.

    Not sure why people are blaming Kobe for this loss, yes he had a crucial turnover up 1 with little time to go but without his hot shooting the Lakers aren’t even in the game.

  154. Lakers lost this game in the 3rd. When Artest was jacking up stupid shots and Bynum was playing like complete shit around the rim. Stupid plays down the stretch were either flukes (Gasol’s foul) or Kobe being a stupid selfish bitch. Would it kill Kobe to actually run a play in the last two mins?

    If Artest doesn’t jack up three stupid shots in a row in the 3rd, the Lakers would’ve won. Stupid long shots led to what, 8 easy points for the Mavs. Stupid stupid game. I’m done watching Lakers till my vacation is over

  155. There is one reason why players are called starters and bench players. And in a playoff series the usual minutes for the bench declines while the starters minutes go up. Little runs would immidiately trigger a timeout and the usual philosophy of “letting the players figure out the game themselves” is thrown out of the window. I think the debate on who among the bigs should finish the game was answered inthe 1st round and in this game. Let Bynum and Odom finish the game if Pau will continue to play like this.

  156. Zephid

    I agree that the lakers lost it in the 3rd. The got up by 16 points, and while Bynum couldn’t finish around the rim, while Kobe was being selfish, and while Artest was Jacking up shots, Phil wouldn’t call a time out and waited until the lead shrunk form 16-3.

  157. We have no one to blame but ourselves for this loss and pls, lets not start whining about the officiating. This loss had NOTHING to do with the refs. As noles, @ #122 so eloquently put it, ‘how the hell do you blow a 16 pt lead in the 3rd quarter?” And I will add, at home. The starters giveth in that 3rd and then basically let up and allowed them back in the game. IMO, that was the game right there.

  158. Well yah, by definition LA cant win the series if they dint win the Dallas now…

    You could see it in the third quarter, Dallas got layups off of almost every Laker missed jumpshot, that’s unacceptable in any game, what are they saving their energy for. We got punked at home, I’m so pissed. Kobe played awesome tonight (last minute aside) but where was either Pau or Bynum. I though Bynum was just awful tonight, not mobile, too often went black hole, never sent it out to Blake for the Wide Open corner threes.

    An uphill battle again. lakers need to start playing pissed off, and with some emotion, as opposed to going through the motions. Dallas didn’t even go into their patented zone D.

  159. 148, I totally agree. I am a Lakers fan, but can’t stand these people who think we will beat Dallas “easily.” Or, oh Dallas will chooke, Dirk will choke. People always like to go by how it has been in the past and don’t actually look at the actual situation in the moment. Fact 1, Dallas has been great in close games this year, the Lakers havent. Fact 2, Dallas has MUCH better shooters and run their offense a lot better. Fact 3, Dallas was the best team in the NBA this season when they have had Dirk. Don’t underestimate your opponent, especially this one.

  160. Quo Vadis bench??And what a stupid foul on Dirk,by Pau..

  161. Either Black Swan shows up or Dallas goes on to the WCF. Dirk has to be shut down and outplayed.

  162. Gotta agree with Zephid. Game was lost when the Lakers suddenly decided in the 3rd quarter that Artest needed to hit a three pointer (after they went up 16). Artest misses four straight, and Dallas is back in the game when the Lakers could have put them away.

    Here’s the saddest part – does anyone remember the last time Kobe hit a game winner? His biggest crunch time highlight came against a terrible Kings team…and was only necessary because he had just missed 5 shots in a row.

    I just don’t think Kobe has it anymore.

    That was a great look at a three, and Kobe missed…and do you know what’s scary?

    I didn’t think he’d make it.

  163. @ Joe, watching a bad team is different because expectations are set lower. It’s not frustrating when a bad team blows leads, because it is expected. What Can we expect from this Lakers team?

  164. The only positive thing about moving forward is that Dallas has shown themselves to be vulnerable all season long at home, we can only hope the trend continues in the playoffs.

  165. But Zep, thats what the Lakers do. They just stand around and let Kobe do all the work at the end. It will never change. On the other end, there was one possession where every Mav player touched the ball and they just swung it around with crisp ball movement. Teams go on runs throughout the course of the game. Lakers had theirs and Dallas had their runs. Playoffs is about getting it done in crunch time, which the Lakers failed to do.

  166. Burgundy really? Kobe doesn’t have it anymore? The guy dropped 36 points tonight against an outstanding defensive team. He CARRIED the Lakers offense.

    Do you expect him to hit every game winner? A guy like Lebron hasn’t hit more than 3 game winners his entire career! Would you rather someone besides Kobe shoot that? Maybe if the Lakers hadn’t been sucking at Kobe’s tit all game long he would have had energy to knock that down.

  167. It is funny to read these comments from people who are not worried about Dallas or think Dallas will fold. Tim Duncan stated he thought Memphis would eventually fold. Tim is now on vacation at his flat in the Virgin Islands and Memphis just beat OKC in game one of the second round. Let’s not be so dismissive of the competition. Dallas is a REAL threat. Game two is basically a must win now.

  168. I dont know whats with this Laker team. They are playing with 70-80% intensity as if they have a lot of rooms for mistake. Maybe its time for Fisher’s speech to nail it to the players head that this is the Playoffs and every game you loose or win counts. No margin of error when you are in the playoffs its a race to win 4 games in a series. I dont know if its an advantage when you see your coach calm and collected despite the urgency and intense atmosphere. But I do hope that some words of encouragement that would increase the players adrenalin would be given by the coaching staff.

  169. Horrible loss. Massive turnovers. Stupid decisions down the stretch. I don’t like their chances…I’m climbing back in from the ledge, however.

  170. I hate being right about stuff like this. I said endgame offense was a concern, and it killed us at the end.Everybody has it pretty much right on in the comments above, except for the casual attitude about Dallas. They want it very badly, and they were far more solid in the endgame than the Lakers, which is not a surprise, because the Lakers struggled in this regard for most of the season. You must make the other team at least CONSIDER that somebody else might handle the ball and take the shot. That’s the key. Kobe can take the shot, but these other teams KNOW the other players aren’t going to take the ball to the basket at the end. The shots need to evolve organically, not from one player dribbling the ball all over the court and then trying to beat 5 guys. That Kidd tackle was a brilliant play by him. do it until it gets called. the Lakers have all these different sets and counters in their offense, and they abandon it all at the end of games.

    Looking at the larger view of the game, I sat in disbelief as Phil sat Kobe for the first 6 minutes of the 4th. the bench has not rewarded his faith all year long with any consistency and did nothing in the game to earn that trust from Phil. Can we please lose with our best players on the floor? I thought that was the point of limiting Kobe’s minutes this year…..

    Something is wrong with Pau. That foul on Dirk was Shannon-level moronic. A reach/gamble 38 feet from the floor? That’s a player with no faith in his own defensive ability. I think this illness is bothering him because he has been a very ineffective player for longer stretches then we’ve ever seen from him before.

    Dallas made some really nice plays throughout, but I have to question a Laker D that gets roasted on HOW MANY LOBS TONIGHT? one or two a game, maybe, it felt like a lot more than that tonight. Frankly, Dallas MISSED a lot of shots by not much, as opposed to the Lakers forcing numerous difficult ones. The margin for error in terms of talent, depth, experience, coaching, and discipline is gone in this series. The Lakers are going to have to outplay the Mavericks 4 times, not outsize them, out-Kobe them, or out-pedigree them. THe size advantage is there, but the Lakers did not have the discipline to ride it all the way until the end. Ron had to get his, Kobe had to get his, and it just concedes our advantage, to say nothing of the fact that seemingly all our missed jumpers lead to uncontested runouts by the opponent.

    It’s times like these that I’m grateful for Darius and his even handed perspective, because I disagree with what most of the posters are saying. I am far more worried about this loss than I was the New Orleans opener.

  171. I’m sure darius will cover the X’s and O’s and what went wrong. But here’s a more philosophical approach to whats wrong with the lakers. The problem with the Phil jackson’s lakers teams are either they’ve won the championship or been embarrassed in the playoffs. Not just losing but getting embarrassed.

    03′ out second round 4-2, 04′ lose finals 4-1, 06′ lose 3 straight games to lose the series after being up 3-1, 07′ out 4-1, 08 lose 4-2 and getting blown out by 39 points in the clinching game. My point is that whenever they’ve faced a team that is equal or more talented opponent since the first 3 peat, Phil Jackson teams have folded and Phil was thoroughly out coached and unable make necessary adjustments. There are about 4 teams that are that are at least just as good as the lakers. And by the way they’ve played thus far, it’s shaping up to be a disappointing postseason.

    What’s more troubling is that they constantly need a “wake up” call. I remember Phil saying after a loss in the regular season “Is it the playoffs yet?” Well now it is and by the looks of it the lakers havent been ready to start the first 2 series.

  172. My question is why was Odom in the game at the end? dirk was getting every shot he wanted from ten to fifteen regardless of who was guarding him… And Odom really didn’t bring much on offense tonight (what happened to his three point stroke?)

    Hard to be even keeled after this loss, it’s not like any Dallas player went all CP3 on us in this one, Kobe actually went cp3 on them and they managed to fight back.

    Talk about a must win in game 2 (and probably 3). Wake up Pau, we miss you.

  173. Im done ranting I think.

    But here is some solace, the Lakers have played much better basketball on the road then at home this year…

  174. RJ was spot on in his post, and yes, Lakers8884, I’m dead serious. I’m one of the biggest Kobe fans on the planet, and I keep hoping he’ll turn back the clock, but any honest Laker fan has to admit that he’s been attrocious in crunch time ALL YEAR.

    He doesn’t have the quickness or burst to get his spots anymore, and worse yet, there are 14 years of tape detailing all his go-to moves, so every team knows what’s coming.

    I repeat, Kobe doesn’t have it anymore in crunch time.

    He can still kill it during a third quarter run, but he’s a mess in a crunch time.

  175. Hate the break the news but Dallas had the same record as the Lakers and lost the. 2nd best scores in Butler. Their 8 deep players are way better then ours. Especially when we have Ronnie The Brick Artest starting, Winne the Pau fumbling passes, Fish watching 3 pointers from afar and out of control Brown matching his low IQ with Artest’s.

    Face it Laker friends Dallas is a better and deeper team who got better this year while our Lakers just got older with a lame duck coach.

  176. 172 well said!