Box Score: Lakers 115, Mavericks 89
On one hand, I was thinking to myself, “Is this a mirage?”
On the other hand, I was grinning from ear to ear. And I’m sure so did a lot of you readers and the other Laker faithful.
The Lakers absolutely hammered the Mavericks from the start. And I can describe the difference with just one word: energy.
They did not look like a team that played their fourth game in five days. Metta World Peace set the tone by scoring the Lakers’ first ten points. He made his first six shots and finished the first quarter with 16 points.
From there, the rest of the Lakers got involved. Dwight Howard was altering nearly every shot the Mavs put up. Darius Morris, while still raw, was fearless driving into the hole. Kobe Bryant had a huge second quarter. Pau Gasol was schooling people in the post. Antawn Jamison was everywhere. Chris Duhon was providing some timely plays. And Jodie Meeks seemed to hit everything in sight. All in all, it was the best collective game by the Lakers this season.
They beat the Mavs in nearly every facet of the game. The Lakers manhandled the Mavs on the boards (61-39, Jamison had 15 rebounds to go along with his 19 points). Suddenly, they looked like a fantastic three-point shooting team; they made 8 out of 10 in the first half and ended up shooting 12/22 (.545) from behind the arc. And it was nice to see great defensive rotations by the Lakers, which had been a problem all season. Very surprising to see Dallas come out flat but, of course, very encouraging for the Lakers.
If there was anything that Laker fans should be nitpicky about? The 19 turnovers. They were very good at taking care of the ball under D’Antoni in their first three games but they’ve had 37 giveaways over the last two. Jodie Meeks probably shouldn’t be allowed to dribble a basketball and Kobe forced too many bad passes and shots (he had six turnovers in the game). And while the Mavs did go on a 14-1 run late in the third quarter, the Lakers were able to suppress the Mavs in the fourth quarter.
The Lakers scored 115 points in this game but nobody scored 20. How’s that for balance? And holding the Mavs to 89 points is even more impressive. They held O.J. Mayo to 13 points (he was 7th in scoring coming into the game with 22.2 PPG) and Darren Collison was handcuffed to 1 for 10 shooting and 2 points. Scoring on the Lakers tonight was like people trying to beat Battletoads for the 8-Bit Nintendo; it was just too hard to do.
So the Lakers get their first road win out of the way and are now back on .500. They don’t play again until Tuesday when they go back to Staples to battle the inconsistent Indiana Pacers. But who am I to call the Pacers inconsistent when the Lakers have been just as bad? I suppose we’ll see on Tuesday.
Sometimes, you have to hit the bottom first before you make that way back to the top. Great win by the Lakers.
Now go drink some beverages on this beautiful Saturday night!