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Physical play defines Lakers' 110-82 victory over Dallas Mavericks

60564701One shove sparked the Lakers' ire, united the team and sent a message across the league that no one should mess with them.

One win drastically affected the Western Conference standings, continued the Lakers' dominant play and left everyone else wondering if anyone can stop them.

One game provided a definitive preview of a playoff matchup, sparked possible suspensions and prompted Staples Center security to handle fan behavior.

Yes, the Lakers' 110-82 victory Thursday over the Dallas Mavericks featured all of the above. It provided enough drama to keep Lamar Odom's reality televison show crew satisfied and with a never-ending challenge on what to cut during the editing process. It sparked enough tension among the 18,997 fans at Staples Center, who witnessed eight ejections, including three from the stands. And it allowed the Lakers (54-20) to increase their mark to 16-1 since the All-Star break, extend their lead to 1 1/2 games over Dallas (53-22) for second place in the conference and cut San Antonio's (57-18) stake for first place to a 2 1/2-game cushion after the Spurs' fifth consecutive loss, the latest at the hands of the Boston Celtics. It's not often Laker fans are rooting for their arch rival, but this was one of those nights.

"We don't want the game to end up like that, but you want to see players competing and caring about the game at a level that brings that kind of intensity," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "It's just a buildup for what we can see down the road."  

That buildup reached its zenith on one play that signified all the testiness. The Lakers led 90-73 with less than 9:30 remaining in the game when Lakers guard Steve Blake drove the lane past Dallas guard Jason Terry, only to lose the ball out of bounds. The Lakers soon had reason to be upset with Terry beyond his wrongful contention that Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher couldn't keep up with Dallas' reserves. After getting shoved to the court by Terry, Blake immediately sprang up and jawed with Terry.

"I don't like to be pushed," Blake said as he walked down the hallway of Staples Center, "and no one else does either."

60564244Referee Sean Wright stepped in to separate the two, but Mavericks and Lakers alike surrounded them. Lakers forward Matt Barnes rushed in and pushed Terry, a sign that confirmed to Blake that "I know he has my back." Moments after Barnes was separated and ejected, he walked toward the court with Terry angling near him. Referee Joey Crawford, whom Jackson said "ejects guys if they have a hangnail," then pushed Barnes toward the Dallas bench so that he'd be far from the fray. But he was just entering it. Mavericks assistant coach Terry Stotts wrapped his arms around Barnes, a gesture he described as a "bearhug" and an action Jackson said "that's not what you do; you grab your own players." In turn, Barnes threw his hands out and pushed Stotts. Barnes then left the court immediately as he removed his jersey and tossed it into the stands.

"Joey bodied me all the way in the middle of their bench," said Barnes, who acknowledged uncertainty on whether the NBA would suspend him. "I'm just trying to walk to our bench and somebody is trying to bearhug me. I didn't realize it was a coach until I turned around and he was off me. I definitely didn't want to push a coach, but he was bearhugging me right on their bench. I was trying to get back on our bench."

But that wasn't the end of it. Terry picked up a flagrant foul type 2 and earned immediate ejections along with Blake and Brandon Haywood. The testiness lingered, though. Shannon Brown earned an ejection after pushing Brian Cardinal for his foul on Pau Gasol, a gesture that Cardinal appeared to exaggerate as he nearly tripped over Gasol as he lay on the ground and an action Jackson said "was nothing." Staples Center security didn't reach the same assessment regarding the three fans that were escorted from the stands, including a half-naked female that ran down the aisle toward the Mavericks' bench, a male involved in a fight behind the basket along Dallas' bench and a male who kept yelling profanity behind the Mavericks bench. "Joey had nothing to do with that one?" Jackson asked rhetorically. The only thing that could've been weirder is the fact Theo Ratliff made his first appearance since being limited to eight games because of arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

Jackson won't call it a fight. He'll describe it as "two cock-roosters bumping chests; just some pushing and shoving going on." The Lakers won't conclude the recent altercations continue a pattern of dirty play and lost composure. Andrew Bynum earned a two-game suspension for a flagrant foul 2 on Minnesota's Michael Beasley, who fell hard to the ground after being forearmed. Fisher picked up a retroactive flagrant foul on the Clippers' Chris Kaman, who was struck near the face while going through a screen. Bryant will argue all those plays were necessary. And the Lakers won't lament a possible Barnes suspension. They'll revel in the bond it forged. 

"We love Matt for his feistiness. He did it to us," Odom said, referring to Barnes' playing physical with Bryant and pretending to throw an inbounds pass at his face when he played last season with Orlando. "He's playing with us now so he better do it to the other team."

Nothing brings the Lakers closer together than victories. The Lakers have won eight consecutive games and won the regular-season series against Dallas, a crucial component should the Lakers hold a tiebreaker with the Mavericks at the end of the season. A game that Bryant touted as a "measuring stick game" revealed plenty of things the Lakers can offer.

"We're playing well against high-level opponents," Bryant said. "They've come in playing extremely well too and were able to match up and get a blowout victory against them. I think it says a lot about how we're playing right now."

Gasol (20 points, seven rebounds) and Bynum (18 points, 13 rebounds) can forever tout their size advantage, including a dunk that led Bynum soaring with enthusiasm and high-fiving teammates in the first quarter. Ron Artest can become a focal part of the Lakers' offense, a factor Dallas owner Mark Cuban argued was one of the keys to beating the Lakers. But with Artest finishing with 13 points on five-of-10 shooting and kissing his biceps for scoring a one-handed layup and drawing a foul on Dallas forward Peja Stojakovic, that formula can  yield punishing results. And Odom should be strongly considered for the NBA's sixth man award after dropping 16 points on six-of-10 shooting and grabbing 11 rebounds, an effort Jackson described as a "showcase for his sixth man award," including fancy passes and three consecutive three-pointers to open in the middle of the second half that was part of him scoring 11 consecutive points for the team.

"Hopefully I can finish the season out and win that sixth man award," said Odom, who became the 23rd player in NBA history to reach 12,000 points, 7,000 rebounds and 3,000 assists and the ninth fastest to reach such a milestone. "It's about making the right play. When I come in, I try to make the right play. The right play can change the momentum."

The Lakers aren't showing any signs that momentum will stop, a bad proposition for Dallas. The Lakers will likely meet the Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals with home-court advantage, renewed toughness and increased swagger, three elements that they fully displayed through one game, one win and one shove.

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Top photo: Lakers guard Steve Blake, left, and Dallas guard Jason Terry confront one another during the second half of the Lakers' 110-82 victory Thursday at Staples Center. Both players were ejected following the play. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo: Lakers forward Matt Barnes, front, tries to put up a shot over Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki during the first half of the Lakers' 110-82 victory Thursday at Staples Center. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times 

 
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Great game. Great so see Blake stand up and get in Terry's face for that foolish push.

MM,

Barnes was already ejected when he broke the coach's tackle - you have the timeline reversed.

I do think Barnes will see a suspension, but mostly for rushing Terry right after the play

New interesting stat:

The Lakers have now won 21 consecutive games at home when they score at least 97 points.

Can last nights game count as 2 wins?

If Jason Terry was LO's main competition for the 6th man award, this game should have settled the issue.

Question: How many head coaches would pick JT to be on their team over LO?
Answer: Probably just 1, the Mavs.

Of all the Lakers to get into a scuffle and ejected, I would have put Blake near the bottom of the list. Guess the B's gotta stick together, after Blake and Barnes were ejected Shannon must have felt left out so he got himself thrown out too.
The new B's motto, one for all and all for one!

Bummer if any suspensions, Lakers on such a roll it be too bad if they gotta play the Jazz short handed.

I like what Rick Fox said in the post game, if this happened in the 80's they would have just in-bounded the ball and kept playing, no ejections.
Ahh, the good old days.

Well, at least we got to see Theo, Smith and Luke all together on the floor at the same time. Is this the first time this year that happened?

I hate to get over confident but wow, what a roll they are on.

Rollin, rollin, rollin...

Loved their energy last night. They were unrelentless for all four quarters, and definitely sent a message to the Mavs.

I couldn't help but thinking that the game was "in the refrigerator" the minute Lamar hit two consecutive three-pointers to end the third period and then started the fourth period by also hitting on a three. Wow!

Sign those guys to long term contracts.

Oh baby ... We are SO rolling!
Bring on the world ... anyone, anywhere.
Portland? Done. Oklahoma? Done. Dallas? Done. San Antonio? Done.
Boston? Chicago? Miami? All finished.

In the 80s there would have been no ejections or suspensions. But this isn't the 80s. It was great TV. The Lakers crushing the Mavs was great. Odom vs Terry for the Sixth Man award was great. It was fun to watch. Terry was teh aggressor. But......


It is no coincidence that the two guys who got drawn into the "fight" (such as it was) were Blake and Barnes, two guys who have not been there before. As the intensity ramps up for the playoffs, you need to learn how to be tough but keep your cool, like Kobe did after Dirk pushed him on the breakaway.


It was cheap, dirty play by Terry. Blake should get right up and stare him down, and proceed to drain free throws. But instigating a scene just gets Blake suspended, nothing else. We finally saw the other side of Barnes, who jumped in where he wasn't needed and couldn't be calmed down. The Lakers need these guys in the playoffs and they need to learn how to be tough without getting tossed. A job for Mumford.


The stupidest move was Shannon's. The Lakers have 4 guards. One is likely already suspended. Time to let Pau fight his own battles. Yes, it was dumb that Pau was even in there, but Theo had been at the scorer's table, it's not that PJ didn't WANT to take him out. Again, a cheap, dirty Dallas foul but the Lakers have to be smarter.


Look, all Blake did was respond emotionally and go chest to chest. But the NBA judges these things by what happens AFTER them for some reason. And Barnes escalted it. Then some fans acted like idiots. Then the hard foul on Pau and Shannon's move. That all makes Blake's minor offense look big to the NBA. You just CANNOT be the spark for an incident that you don't control the outcome of. Right now HCA is on the line and the Lakers could be without the 3 B's.


It could be damaging now. In the playoffs, in the playoffs it could be fatal.

Oh, on a basketball level, the Mavs are dead.


The Lakers are no doubt playing the best ball in the NBA right now.

With the way our LAKERS are rolling....TROLLS MUST BE DYING INSIDE.

Here's something for all you TROLLS.... feel free to dance to the beat...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpzIKiKJYp0

LOL!!!


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

usually i am not as quick to make post season predictions but at this point and especially after the game last night where my hometown heroes throttled the CUBAN CLAN, I'm not sure the squad can be contained . TOO BIG, TOO TALENTED, TOO AGRESSIVE.

Oh what a beautiful morning!
Dodgers win a pitching duel and the Lakers win a brawl! And the Spurs lost again. PLG is a happy girl!

I called it yesterday that something had to give with the Mavs and I was expecting some wildness to happen - sure enough. Funny how the cameras didn't show any shots of crying Cuban.

LO brought it last night and has all season. Remember last year, we were begging for him to show some consistency. Wow, what a difference - it's been so great. AB may have finally come to the party but LO has really been a huge factor for this team's success as well. Unheralded.

LakerTom - the AB dunk with emotion is EXACTLY what I have been looking for. He had some explosiveness in his step/hop and was emphatic. If you think PJ has rubbed off on AB off the court, I'd say Kobe has rubbed off on AB on the court.

I really liked the game last night. I loved the Lakers energy out of the chute. I loved the team's focus. These are all keys for our success beginning in a couple weeks.

Think we might have a little bit of a letdown tonight but we have to keep the pedal to the metal. Hoping the suspensions aren't too crazy but that will at least force guys to be honed in. Luke playing a guard position tonight - that wouldn't surprise me???

Looking forward to tonight!!!!

Cheers all - PLG

No way Blake gets suspended. He didn't do anything except express his displeasure at a dirty play.

Barnes pushed Terry AFTER the play. I think he gets suspended, but that's the only Laker

Great blogs LAKER- LOVERS keep them comin , also how bout them DODGERS , i think the DODGERS need to watch film on how to bring the hardware home where it belongs.

Mamba24,

We missed you man. Come back now!

We are Rolling yet no Roll Calls, so sad.


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

Hoping the suspensions aren't too crazy.............Posted by: PsychedLakerGirl | April 01, 2011 at 06:47 AM
________________________

PLG,

I was actually thinking of the same thing. Though good thing this happened during the Regular Season, we can't afford suspensions(if any) during the PO's.


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

Putrid - begone troll, you sound like a Grade school kid. Go home to yo momma, she waitin for ya...

Just too BIG, just too STRONG, JUST TOO GOOD!!! 3-peat baby

Photo 1, above, would make a good "Photo Caption Contest".....LOL!


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

And yes, DOGS rule.


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

Here's my prediction:

Terry 2 game suspension (possibly 3)
Barnes 2 game suspension
Blake not suspended - he didn't really do anything
Haywood not suspended - not sure why he was even thrown out
Brown 1 game suspension

Stotts should be suspended/fined for grabbing Barnes. What was he thinking?

Tim 4 Show - You're correct. I made the fix

Good Morning Laker Nation,

Put little brother in his place – check
LO show em how 6th man changes momemtum – check
Killer B’s get fiesty – check
Drew dominant the paint – check
Kobe set the aggressive tone – check
Next…

What fun. I hope Cuban didn't miss it as he was texting the whole frickin' game.

I think the Mav's assistant coach should be fined as well; PJ is right: you don't grab an opposing team's player (unless he's about to take a chair to one of your guys), you grab your own. I don't think Matty'll do that in the post season, but if he does for good reason (and in a way, that was), that's part of why he's there. You saw the starters stay calm, and that was important.

More interesting to me is that on the inbounds for what was to become LO's 1st or 2nd 3pter at the start of the fourth quarter, it looked like Drew pushed LO to the spot and play he wanted to set up. Like Drew was shoving him to the spot he set the screen that freed up LO for the jumper. Did anyone else see that? I think that was GREAT!

LO is the Man, sixth or otherwise.

Kobe has a problematic shooting night, yet making highlight defensive plays - the man can do anything... that's what people forget: rebounds, assists, steals, blocks. He can take control of the game in so many ways. That's why he's a champion. It's NEVER just about the scoring people!

I hope Stern doesn't make a Van Gundy sort of rule to stop Artest from the now-famous bicep kissing. On Ron it looks good.

Now: no letdown tonight! A loss tonight is the same as a loss last night (in the standings). We are WAY beyond statement games... we're about the W's all the way to the Ring!

This may be LakerTom's only chance to see his "big" lineup, as we may not have any guards left, and LO may have to play point! I kid! I kid!

I'm sure there will be suspensions....how else do you stop us?....Ain't no stoppin' us now.......

Mavs got TKO'ed on the basketball so they lost their cool by initiating a rumble. Too bad the small millionaires among the Lakers will shed a couple of thousand to Stern treasury chest. Kobe was right, this is nothing in the 80's today there is too much attention on the fight including that half naked lady who attack the Mavs. Was she looking for the billionaire? Again, it is just half body covered, we're used to streakers running around in the sixties which adds more flavor to the show.

Lake Show was superb, it's like the Showtime group aiming for 0 losses in the playoffs. There's really something to be scared about the Lakers. Should we be over confident and be euphoric with success. Not yet, it does count because the season is winding up. The best thing is to be tactically alert by avoiding injuries, spreading the playing time and a little rest on the veterans like Kobe, Fisher, Gasol who have been playing longer minutes during the year. We don't need to pour more points but just enough for victory, reserve that energy in the playoffs.

Kobe almost dunked last night that tells you that he is feeling it. 28 points, GET READY LADIES AND GENTALMAN HESSSSS COMING

LO is going too get the award so he shouldnt worry

Great entertainment! It's ironic that in the first half, Matt Barnes shoved JJ Barea to the ground, and then he took umbrage that Terry did the same to Blake.


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