The Dallas Mavericks went into the Staples Center again on Wednesday night and walked out with a 93-81 win and a 2-0 series lead. The Mavs seem to be clicking on just about every cylinder. They are just flat out playing some good basketball. The Mavs opened the game going 11 of 23 in the first quarter, looking sharp offensively and playing tough on the defensive end. The first quarter set the tone for the rest of the game. The Lakers went inside to Bynum and Gasol early to try and establish their presence inside, something the Lakers could not do in game one due to good Mavs team defensive strategy and the play of both Chandler and Haywood. The Lakers came out with mixed results from going inside early. Bymun got going and was in double figures before too long. But there was still not any kind of dominant presence established, like the Lakers had hoped. Right now the Mavs are playing with an intensity and game plan that is going to be hard to match, no matter who the opponent. They are getting the input that they need from each player and are executing the X’s and O’s of Coach Carlisle. The ball movement on offense at times was poetry in motion. Dallas continued to get shots they wanted as they worked the offense and moved the ball…and it never hurts the offense when Dirk can hit his one legged fade-aways like they are going out of style. The Lakers stayed within striking distance of the Mavs for most of the game until around the midway point of the fourth quarter. JJ Barea came in and changed the game at that point, blowing it open for the Mavs. Barea was able to penetrate and create for teammates while putting in some layups as well. Barea’s quickness and ability to penetrate made the Lakers scramble on defense allowing the Mavs to get good looks with their ball movement. This allowed the Mavs to go on a 9-0 run around the 4:20 mark left in the fourth quarter. Barea ended with 12 points, all of which were important buckets, while dishing out 4 dimes in this Mavs win. Dirk finished with 24 points and 7 boards providing key buckets down the stretch, as usual. Shawn Marion also had a good game for the Mavs with his ability to get into the lane and knock down his patented runner, nearly finishing with a double double collecting 14 points and 9 boards.
The Mavs have to feel pretty good right now as they head back to Dallas with a 2-0 lead. The Lakers on the other hand seem to be unraveling in front of us just a bit perhaps? Despite another pretty good outing by Kobe, he cannot do it alone. There seemed to still be frustration between some of the Lakers during and after game 2. Ron Atrest let his emotions get the best of him near the end of the game when he close lined JJ Barea in the backcourt, leading to his early exit from the game. Don’t be surprised if Atrest has to sit one out as well for his actions. Bynum commented in his post game press conference that there are trust issues amongst the team and stated that he believes that until they are openly addressed they will not go away. Whether there are issues or not is not for me to say, but I can say that is the way that Bynum feels though, and that’s not a good thing for the Lakers.
Moving on, the Mavs will be trying to keep backing the Lakers into a corner in game 3, while the Lakers will be trying to gain some traction in the series. The last time the Lakers lost the first two games of a series at home was in 1976-77 against the eventual NBA champion Portland Trailblazers.
Finally, I can tell you that Mavs fans will show up for game 3 on Friday rowdy, proud and loud.
Game 3. Friday 8:30 CT.
About the Author
Written by Andy R Strom
I was born in Dallas, TX and raised in the suburb of Coppell, TX. I grew up eating and breathing sports. I "buy local" when it comes to my teams, Mavs, Cowboys, Rangers, Stars, Longhorns. I am 28 years old and currently live in Wisconsin where I graduated college from the Univerisy of Wisonsin Whitewater with a degree in health, human performance and recreation with a minor in coaching. I still follow my teams just as much now as when I am living back in Texas, they're just a little harder to see in person now. However, I follow all major sports and teams and love a good debate.