Lakers vs. Mavericks: Kobe Closes the Door on Dallas

Darius Soriano —  February 24, 2013

What really else needs to be said? With Mark Cuban’s comments obviously fueling his competitive fire, Kobe showed out in a big way to lead the Lakers to a 103-99 victory over the Mavs.

Kobe Bean was brilliant in this game, rattling off 38 points on only 21 field goal attempts, grabbing 12 rebounds, and dishing out 7 assists. His all around play carried the Lakers early (16 first half points) and late (14 of his 22 2nd half point came in the 4th quarter on 5-5 shooting), making it so the Lakers could claim a sorely needed victory in their pursuit of moving up in the standings.

Some notes on Kobe and the game in general:

  • What made Kobe’s night so amazing was his ability to mix incredible shot making (seriously, go watch that video again) with some very good decisions in how and when to move the ball. Kobe’s 7 assists were a team high and he got a lot of those dimes by simply reading the D in front of him and making the correct pass to an open teammate. After the game Kobe spoke of “putting it all together” after a season that has seen him play the roles of dynamic scorer and pass first facilitator in heavy doses. If Kobe can indeed find a way to keep his scoring up while still setting up his teammates for makable shots, the Lakers will take another leap offensively.
  • Kobe wasn’t alone on offense though as his backcourt partner also showed up in a big way. Steve Nash scored a season high 20 points on 7-12 shooting and handed out 4 assists as well. Nash consistently took advantage of any space the defense gave him when sending extra attention Kobe’s way while also creating shots for himself by attacking the P&R. Nash ran the action several times at former teammate Dirk Nowitzki, exploiting the big German’s lack of foot speed on the perimeter and turning the corner several times where he either got a good shot for himself or collapsed the defense to set up a teammate for an open shot. Nash’s shot making also created space for Kobe as the Mavs couldn’t send a double team from the top of the key and instead had to send help from the weak side block. This put the Mavs into rotations early and that helped generate offense for Lakers all over the floor.
  • Speaking of Dirk, he too was brilliant in this game, scoring 30 points on 11-19 shooting including all 4 of his three pointers. Dirk also grabbed 13 rebounds and did a good job of helping the Mavs close out defensive possessions after the Lakers missed shots. Down the stretch of this game Dirk hit several big buckets of his own — at one point on twitter I called the Kobe/Dirk back and forth a battle of the gods — and really kept his team in the game when it looked like Kobe’s play would have allowed the Lakers to pull away.
  • The difference for Dirk, though, was that he didn’t get much help from his teammates — especially his partners in the starting lineup. Shawn Marion (6 points), Darren Collison (7 points), and O.J. Mayo (8 points) combined for only a single point more than Nash scored and could never really put anything together offensively. The play of Mayo and Collison (combined 5-20 from the field) was especially disappointing if you’re a Mavs fan simply because they were directly matched up with Kobe and Nash and could not only do little to get their own points, but also gave up big nights to their counterparts.
  • I haven’t mentioned Dwight yet because he had a pretty uneven game. He picked up 2 fouls before 4 minutes passed in the 1st quarter and had three fouls before the half came, resulting in him only playing 11 minutes out of the first 24. This really affected his offensive rhythm and kept him from being as aggressive as he could be on both sides of the ball. In the 2nd half he played much more free but never did find his rhythm on O, though he did do very good work on the glass and in protecting the paint. His final point tally of 9 points (2-7 shooting) wasn’t very good, but his 13 boards, 2 steals, and a block were quite important to the win.
  • If you’re looking for a single team stat that had a huge impact in the result of game look no further than the Lakers 13-25 from behind the arc. Even though the Mavs shot 8-18 from three, the Lakers were able to best them and that shot making was huge.
  • The Mavs got great contributions from their bench with Elton Brand and Vince Carter both scoring well (14 and 15 points respectively) and giving quality minutes. In fact, the Mavs’ bench scoring of 48 points, really kept them in the game. That said, the Lakers trio of bench players also played well in their own right with Jamison’s 13 points and Meeks’ 11 points, and Blake’s 5 points and 2 assists (with some good defense and offensive facilitating) making a difference. With D’Antoni going to an 8 man rotation while Gasol nurses his foot injury, it’s important that the Lakers’ bench guys play well and against the Mavs they did.
  • Metta World Peace’s struggles on offense continue. He was 0-6 in this game and scored only a single point (though on a pretty big FT late in the game). His defense was also up and down as he had issues guarding the Mavs’ wings early in the game but played a physical style on Dirk in the final two minutes that helped limit his play. I don’t want to be too hard on MWP simply because it’s obvious he’s out there playing his heart out, but when he’s not hitting shots but insists on stopping the ball when he gets a touch, he really does disrupt the flow the team is trying to create on that end of the floor.

Every win is important for the Lakers at this point, but a win against the Mavs on the road when both teams were tied in the loss column is especially so. Add in the fact that this was the front end of a back to back with the team flying to Denver to play in altitude against the red hot and home dominant Nuggets and the stakes were even higher.

And while it looked like the team may not get it done, they turned around and pulled it out at the end. In large part because of Kobe.

Darius Soriano

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33 responses to Lakers vs. Mavericks: Kobe Closes the Door on Dallas

  1. After scoring 40 points on 15-of-23 shooting (65 percent) in a win against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, Kobe had 38 points on 13-of-21 shooting (62 percent) as the Lakers defeated the Mavericks on Sunday.

    38 Points, 60 FG pct in Consecutive Games
    Oldest Players in NBA History
    Years-Days
    Feb. 2013 Kobe Bryant 34-185
    Jan. 1983 Artis Gilmore 34-128
    Oct. 1969 Wilt Chamberlain 33-62
    March 1996 Hakeem Olajuwon 33-53
    Jan. 1995 Hakeem Olajuwon 31-358
    >>Source: Elias Sports Bureau

    Kobe is the oldest player in NBA history to score at least 38 points while shooting at least 60 percent in consecutive games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

    ===

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/55154/has-kobe-ever-been-better-than-right-now

  2. Thanks for the great recap, if we win tomorrow in Denver i would say the Lakers are on the verge of a real playoff making tear, lets see, what im worried is that this team wont shoot over 50% from beyond on that many attempts most of the time, have to be careful about going trigger happy with that, other than that obviously this team is starting to mesh. Its maddening that it looks like we cant get everything going at the same time kobe and Dwight were killing it against Portland but Nash could not buy a bucket, today Nash and Kobe were dominating and Dwight was on foul trouble. But hey i take the w anyway i can.

  3. Kobe is the oldest to… wow, it seems just yesterday that he was setting records for youngest. Now he’s setting records for being oldest.

  4. There is a reason why MJ would pick Kobe over Lebron, and this past two games would show why. Skill and not physical tools are what makes the Beans game great.

    And If Lebron wasn’t blessed with video game like physical tools, it wouldn’t even be a debate who’s better. In terms of skill and perfection of craft, please, its not even close. Kobe over Lebron all day.

  5. Kobe was KOBE. Nothing new there, just exciting when he’s so efficient. But the real game changers were Nash & Howard. Nash showed me that he still has it in the tank. Howard showed me just why Mitch wants to keep this guy. His defensive presence is REMARKABLE!! Notice how eAsy teams score when he’s not in the game.

    I’d love to see Next game stats like this:

    Kobe 40….proving he’s still the greatest at this
    Nash 15-15…vintage Nash shows up
    Howard 15-15MONSTER GAME ON DEFENSE
    Jamison 15……efficient scoring off bench
    Metta only 10 but MONSTER defense
    Meeks 10 contributes from beyond the arc
    Clark 10-10…50/50 balls belong to him!
    115-118 win over Denver (that 3 belongs to Blake) ;)

    Side note: I was laughing crazly when announcer mention that SACRE was going CRAZY on the bench after a Kobe play….LOL Iove the energy he brings!!

  6. The ankle breaking crossover, between the legs, and pull up jumper against Mayo in the first half was one of the most devastating examples of perimeter footwork and ballhandling I’ve seen. Ever.

    Going forward, until Pau gets back, Dwight is going to have to be smarter about picking up cheap fouls (grabbing a guy in transition defense). It’s clear that when Howard goes out the Lakers have zero inside presence on offense or defense. Adding Pau as a backup center will be huge for the team if they are still in the hunt.

  7. I love “efficient Kobe”, but it’s also been fun to see him shoot, and make, thousands of crazy, ridiculously difficult shots over the years. Today was fun because we got a little bit of both, in a win.

  8. darius: this needs to be said now.

    one game does not a career make but after all is said and done, people with thick skulls back east will come to realize that it is kobe and not jordan as the greatest 2 guard in the history of the nba. over a career, never has one with so little at times accomplished so much. exactly how many championships did jordan win without specifically pippin? and with shaq, had he been a laker for life, it’s been argued that together they would have had between six and eight championships before even sweating the possibility of more if championships alone were the barometer of greatness. Stressing the obvious, we all know kobe, with less has won two without shaq. the phil factor is the great equalizer in this equation, so consider the obvious. That had to be said now.

    gotta love those laker fans in every opponent’s arena. can’t help but laugh with every ethusiastic cheer we see amongst the home crowd. and even if chop liver cannot consistently make a wide open shot if he was paid to do so, he’s in it for defense and irritation. today, good job with the irritation. game in game out until the end of the regular season will call for more of the same.

    overall, one could do with a little less edge of the seat drama. one would think we would be use it by now. moreover, these are the lakers we come to know and love this season, different and yet the same. blue and gold thru and thru and every game is a big game to win.

    Can you dig it?

    Go Lakers

  9. I love “efficient Kobe”, but it’s also been fun to see him shoot, and make, thousands of crazy, ridiculously difficult shots over the years. Today was fun because we got a little bit of both, in a win.
    ==

    This was the 3rd really fun win of the year for me, the other two being OKC and BOS. This one was fun because of Kobe sticking it to Cuban.

    I bring this up because this has been the least fun year for me as a fan since 1991-92.

  10. Kobe was awesome again, I would not be surprised if the Dallas guards asked him for his autograph after the game like opposing teams used to do to the “Dream Team” in the Olympics. It is great to see Kobe attack the basket again even if he does not always finish with a dunk. It was refreshing to hear Dwight admit that he has not been in shape and is not able to play both ends of the floor. He can focus on what he needs to do to help the team win, like play defense, and let the offense come to him. Nash is settling into the role he needs to play which includes being more aggressive as a scorer. The most surprising player to me was Blake. He was actually useful and looked aggressive on offense and kept his dribble longer forcing the Mavs to actually play defense against him. Blake seemed a lot more relaxed and made good decisions with the ball. The Lakers seemed to have turned a corner and now if they can just avoid more injuries….

  11. I used to make fun at Blake and Fisher, but after seeing what a true 3rd string guard looks like, I have to say that they are ‘serviceable.’

  12. David H: Kobe’s curse is “Jordan did it first”. Its a pity. because Kobe is just as good as Jordan but he will never get the recognition that he truly deserves.

  13. @ david h it always been a source of bitterness for me how the Shaq- Kobe era ended we will never know but i bet they could had won at least 2 more rings and its a fact that MJ never won anything w/o Pippen or Phil for that matter but as much as i like Kobe and apreciate his skills his heart and his acomplisments MJ is the GOAT, he is simply a better player than Kobe and the fact that those Bulls teams core remained togheter for so long is something that its almost imposible on today’s NBA, the Bulls FO broke up the Bulls not any players ego, i was watching that MJ interview on NBATV today were he made his comments about Kobe vs Lebron and one of the things he said it was that he was bitter how it all ended because they would bnever khow many more they could win or how would it feel to finally lose one. Pretty revealing and amazing stuff .

  14. I loved the benches reaction after the Kobe crossover, even Howard’s…they look like they are getting it together and staring to gel. If we stay healthy, the league better watch out.

  15. But Kobe is top 5 all time in my book, if he win another ring he would be the second best player of all time in my opinion.

  16. To me, both the video Darius opened his recap with & Kobe´s tweet say it all, great win!

    enjoyed your posts: rr (& thanks for the stats up top), david h, Funky, Jayz, tonyt

  17. It looks like you copied the entire video from http://www.lakersmedia.com — but stripped out his attribution completely at the beginning and end. What’s up with that?

  18. Dave,
    I’d have no idea how to do what you’re describing as I’m not very technical when it comes to that type of stuff. I got the video off youtube by typing in “Kobe, Mavericks, 38 points”. Here is the link to the video if you want to know the source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HOdkESwE0nY

    As an aside, rather than accuse me of something, you can simply ask.

  19. If Kobe wins one more ring he would be considered the GOAT with The Captain KAJ as close second. And MJ would be third

  20. Completely off topic, but as everyone here loves basketball, please check out this cool trick a Turkish team pulled on its players including The Machine and Jordan Farmar:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYYzAdA8f6E

    Maybe we should show this to Dwight to let him see what identification with a club looks like.

  21. dont follow many athletes on twitter but kobe sure knows how to tweet

  22. @Funky Chicken…

    Yes that crossover was as sweet as sugar then followed by the prettiest jump shot. That move epitomized Kobe’s entire repertoire. Amazing, that on this day we see a guy in Vince Carter, who was once touted as Kobe’s equal and OJ Mayo trying to tug on Kobe’s cape as a member of a newer generation. And Kobe, 17 years in, busting them both up. Amazing!

  23. I only wish that the Lakers had made a move to get some more size. The loss of Jordan Hill and Pau is going to bite them, IMO. MD’A obviously has no faith in Sacre and has trimmed his rotation to 8. When Dwight is out of the game, the team is very small.

  24. Well it is what it is and Gasol will be back this season, the team is finally looking that they might be up to something and people still complain, i agree with the 8 man rotation i mean does anyone here wants Duhon and Morris out there?, Sacre is a big dude but him being out there dont help the team, it would not made a lick of difference. The frontcourt issues are old news already and the Lakers have won 11 of the last 15. Howard looks like he is getting “there” phisically and he is a 40+ minute guy when healthy. As long as they keep showing the toughness and determination they are showing lately they will be in the playoffs.

  25. Great title for the article again–Kobe the Closer delivers another Glengarry Glen Ross finish. “Always Be Closing”—because “second prize is a set of steak knives.”

    Whether we realize it now or not, we are going to miss this guy’s greatness when he is gone, and wonder if we sometimes dwelled a bit too much on his admitted flaws while we still had him.

  26. Rusty Shackleford February 25, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Looking at the box score I was expecting to see something more like 27 minutes played by Dwight. I was hoping that the lack of minutes in the win would mean he’d be fresh for tonight’s game in Denver where he’s going to be key to keeping Faried off the glass. Instead it turns out he played 33 minutes last night so we will have to see what kind of energy he brings tonight.

    The two steals Collison got on inbounds passes to Nash were inexcusible. Don’t think other teams’ scouting won’t pick up on that. The 20 points from Nash were great but on nights when shots aren’t falling 4 assists to 3 turnovers won’t help this team win games. He needs to do a better job of not turning the ball over. I know Kobe had 5 TO’s but I think everyone here would agree he more than made up for it by filling the box score everywhere else.

  27. @mindcrime thats true one of the reasons I rarely criticize kobe because i feel he has deserved the benefit of the doubt. 5 championship rings, 30000+ points scored playing, one of his most efficient seasons of his career at age 34 are just some of his accolades. Sure sometimes he shoots too much or doesn’t get his teammates involved but lets just enjoy greatness before he decides to retire.

  28. FYI FB&G, in your links section for Lakers site in the right sidebar, the “Land O’Lakers” link still links to the ESPN Lakers Index and not the K-bros new site.

  29. Gary:

    Living as I do on the upper great plains (within a few minutes’ drive of the state that gave this team its nickname) I rarely get an opportunity to see the team “live.” Minneapolis is close enough to drive in a few hours–everywhere else necessitates a flight. So I get by with watching the network games, and pay for the rest on satellite. However, I’ve lately made it a point to go to the Wolves/Lakers games at Target as much as I can, and don’t plan on missing anymore of them now–because I don’t want to miss seeing Kobe “in the flesh” when I know he’s going to be gone soon.

    I’m always amazed how much more pronouced the superiority of guys like Kobe is in person–they just seem to be moving at a different speed, with a different purpose, even at times seeing and playing a different game than everyone else. Television viewing actually makes them seem more mortal.

  30. Kaifa, that video is unbelievable. Thanks for posting that. Highly recommended!

  31. @kaifa,

    Thanks for the link to the Turkish Team Video. I always thought that Sasha and Farmar relegated to play in Turkey was like sending them to Siberia, but now I feel that they may be having the times of their lives. Getting to play the game the love, and being adored by close fans that truly appreciate the show they put on.

  32. Rusty, a lot of the rebounds dwight should have grabbed went to clark or kobe…dwight was there they were just grabbing the boards so D12 could get back with out a hand off pass as if they called “i got it” before so, also D12 blocked a few and altered tons of shots leaving him out of rebounding position, but with one of the guys mentioned above or a guard being there…..and guys i know metta cant score but he does a great job annoying people on defense…that is extremely valuable in my opinion

  33. PA?

    Glengarry?

    Great win

    We need a big man