Lakers 107, Mavs 100: Highway to the Danger ZONE
The phrase may have been coined by Kenny Loggins to describe the jet flying antics that simultaneously fascinated Maverick and eventually took the life of Goose , but for the Lakers, the dangerous "zone" in question was the defensive scheme employed by the Dallas Mavericks, one that almost managed to screw up a 107-100 win. As noted in yesterday's K Brothers recap, the first half was mostly a cruise for the Lakers, offering up proof positive that this could end up a VERY one-sided first round playoff series.
Pau Gasol connected on his first ten field goal attempts, including a J shot literally over the seven foot Dirk Nowitzki, ineffective as any option to check El Spaniard. (The reverse? Not so much.) Trevor Ariza has hitting inside and outside shots- entering a career-high 26 into the box score- and proving his defensive worth by shadowing Dallas PG Jason Kidd and allowing the future Hall of Famer little room to operate. And if there were any doubt in the matter, Kobe Bryant was hitting from anywhere they wanted. Again, all appears ducky, a twelve point lead is taken into the locker room at halftime and basically maintained when the bench mob checked in down the stretch of the third quarter.
And that's when the proceedings turned as uncomfortable to watch as the Top Gun volleyball scene.
It was around this point that the Mavs decided to swtich things up and employ the zone and the bench mob, a unit dealing with recent struggles in most cases, didn't react particularly well. They took the zone's intended bait and began jacking outside shots, forgetting about the antidote parked in the paint ready to make Dallas pay, as Gasol wasn't shy about reminding them. Between that lack of discipline and Jason Terry's en fuego shooting from downtown, the Mavs got themselves right back into the game. It took some serious D from the starters, clutch shots from Kobe, and steely heroics from Ariza to make sure what was started got properly finished.
And with that potential disaster averted, we can focus on the positive, like the health update on Andrew Bynum. According to the seven footer himself, a return this season is definitely in the cards. He'd love to make it back over the next 2-3 weeks, but noted that the team brass may override such speediness. Running has been easy enough on a treadmill, but lateral movement is still a pain in the arse. Well, knee, really.
- The Nets will be in Brooklyn for the 2011-2012 season. Devin Harris' sprained shoulder should most certainly be healed up by then, but a more exact ETA is yet TBD.
- Jax has earned a suspension for his T count.
- Friday is the target date for KG and Big Baby.
- Been a tough stretch of late for the Blazers.
- Michael Ruffin is the Northwest version of Mikki Moore.
- If the Rockets are going to advance a round this playoffs, it'll take a large effort from an assertive Yao Ming.
- Michael Finley has been a pretty good "Manu lite" for San Antonio.