Sunday, March 2, 2008

Lakers Show Mavericks The Door!

On paper, it looked to be a classic matchup as the Lakers took on the Dallas Mavericks this afternoon at Staples Center. Today marked the first time that the two teams played each other since their recent big trades - the Lakers of course getting Pau Gasol, and the Mavericks acquiring Jason Kidd. The game was close throughout as neither team ever led by more than 12 points. Dallas jumped to a quick 7-0 lead 1:13 into the game, but the Lakers would then go on a 47-28 run over the next 18:25 to forge to a 47-35 lead. The visitors closed hard though, going on a 12-3 run of their own at the end of the half to make it a 50-47 Lakers lead.

Last year's MVP, Dirk Nowitski, and this year's probable one, Kobe Bryant both struggled in the first half. Nowtiski only had five points, while Kobe had 14 points, but uncharacteristically missed seven of his ten free throw attempts. In the second half, the two of them came to life in what turned out to be a classic battle. Nowitski would score 25 points the rest of the way, including a 3-pointer with 2.0 seconds to play to send the game into overtime tied at 93.

In the overtime period, the Lakers and Kobe took control early as they scored the first five points. An 18-footer for Kobe's 50th point of the game put the Lakers up 104-98 with 1:34 to go, and it seemed the game was well in hand. The Mavericks would mount one final run though, and cut the Laker lead to 105-104 with 10 seconds to play on a Jason Kidd lay-up. Kidd was fouled on the play by Gasol, but he missed the free-throw way short. Kobe grabbed the rebound and was fouled immediately. He calmly sank both free throws, for his 16th and 17th straight makes of the game. Nowitski had a chance to send the game to a second overtime, but he threw up an airball on a 3-pointer from about 25 feet away. Lamar Odom grabbed the rebound, and made one of two free throws with two seconds to play to seal the deal. Final: Lakers 108, Mavericks 104!


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