11/11/2008 Mavericks vs. LA Lakers
Mavericks Unable to Hold off Laker Rally
The Los Angles Lakers improved to 6-0 on the season as they managed to overcome a 12-point second half deficit on their way to defeating the Dallas Mavericks 106-99 Tuesday night at the American Airlines Center.
Despite a triple-double from Jason Kidd and six Maverick players scoring in double figures, the Lakers mounted an 18-3 fourth quarter run which proved too much for the Mavericks to overcome.
The Lakers faced their first true challenge of the season and showed why they are defending Western Conference Champions. Los Angeles exhibited poise in the second half as the team’s bench kept things close before Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol could take over down the stretch.
Bryant was in typical MVP form, finishing with 27 points, nine of which came during the Lakers fourth quarter comeback.
The Los Angeles reserves continued their strong early season play. The tandem of Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza was quite effective as they combined for 25 (11-of-22 shooting) of the Lakers 36 bench points.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was quick to recognize the impact of the Lakers reserves on the eventual outcome of the game. “Their bench played a pivotal role in the game,” Carlisle said. “They were able to cut the lead at the end of the third. And it allowed Kobe Bryant to only play for 35 minutes so he was really fresh at the end of the game.”
In the fourth quarter, the Lakers stepped up their defensive intensity, holding Dallas to 30 percent shooting (6-20 FGs). After the game, Ariza was pointed out the Lakers defensive effort down the stretch.
"It (team defense) was big for us because they were beating us the whole game,” Ariza said. “We made a run early in the fourth and we kind of buckled down from there."
It is a difficult loss for the Mavericks as they led for much of the game until Trevor Ariza’s running two-handed dunk with 10:06 remaining in the fourth quarter gave Los Angeles the lead. It was a lead the Lakers would not relinquish.
The Mavericks, who remain winless at home this season, exhibited a renewed sense of urgency and confidence throughout the first three quarters.
Dallas jumped out quickly, building a nine point lead after the first quarter in large part due to the scoring efficiency of Jason Terry. Terry’s 13 first quarter points (5-8 shooting) set the tone early in the game for the Mavericks.
While Rick Carlisle was pleased with his team’s scoring balance, he is concerned with his team’s fourth quarter play.
“You’ve got to be able to finish games,” Carlisle said. “You’ve got to be able to win at home. It’s a great team we were playing but we were in position to win.”
The Mavs hit the road this week for a brief one game road stint against the Chicago Bulls before returning home to battle Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic on Friday, November 14th at the American Airlines Center.