Lakers vs. Mavericks, Game 2: Lakers fall to Mavericks, 93-81
But Wednesday night at Staples Center the Lakers hit a new low by losing to the Dallas Mavericks 93-81 to fall behind in the best-of-seven series, 0-2. Unlike Monday’s loss, it wasn’t even a good game. The Mavericks didn’t play that good of a game either.
Even the Staples Center crowd had seen enough as they started leaving with about three minutes to play.
Can the Lakers dig themselves out of this hole with the next two games in Dallas? If Wednesday was an indication, certainly not.
Let’s look at the shooting stats: Ron Artest (4 of 10), Pau Gasol (5 of 12), Derek Fisher (2 of 7), Lamar Odom (3 of 12) and Steve Blake (0 of 5). Andrew Bynum was bright spot making 8 of 11 (18 points) and grabbing 13 rebounds. Kobe Bryant finished with 23 points on 8 of 20 shooting.
Dirk Nowitzi was the leading scorer for the Mavericks with 24 points. Shawn Marion had 14 and reserve Jose Barea had 12.
If you are a Lakers fan, you are officially at Defcon Four.
Fourth quarter, 2:51 remaining: Mavericks 86, Lakers 73
After a timeout, Kobe Bryant came back in with 8:15 to play. The Lakers caught a break when the Mavericks were charged with offensive goaltending. The Lakers then turned the ball over a couple times, but the Mavericks weren’t much better. It was bad basketball.
The Lakers couldn’t do much right, especially Steve Blake, who was getting roundly booed.
Baskets by Jose Barea and Tyson Chandler gave the Mavericks a 10-point lead with just over six minutes to play.
If the Lakers were to have a chance they needed to start something pretty quickly. But that’s not going to happen when you miss a shot, give up an offensive rebound and allow Jason Kidd to hit a three. The Lakers then fell behind by 15 after Barea drove for another runner.
Shannon Brown was fouled by Kidd and missed both. Could it get any worse for the Lakers?
Bynum, the one bright spot, made a shot in the lane and Bryant followed that with two foul shots to make it an 11-point game with about three minutes to play.
But then came Dirk Nowitzi to make a two with one foul shot coming after a timeout.
Fourth quarter, 8:15 remaining, Mavericks 75, Lakers 67
The Lakers had possession to open the final quarter and Steve Blake missed his fifth consecutive shot. After a couple more misses Brendon Haywood put the ball back to extend the lead but Pau Gasol answered it.
But Jason Terry hit a three and suddenly the Maverick lead was nine, 73-64.
Gasol was fouled on the next possession and Gasol only made one of the free throws. He was three of six from the line.
Gasol then picked up his fourth foul as Jose Barea made both shots and it was a 10-point Maverick lead. Lamar Odom brought them back to eight.
End of third quarter: Mavericks 68, Lakers 62
The Mavericks were able to extend their lead to four on baskets by Dirk Nowitski and Jason Terry but Kobe Bryant cut it to two with a jumper. Nowitzki, who was shooting a torrid eight of 12, made his jumper and the lead was back to four with three and a half minutes to play in the quarter.
Bryant then missed his next shot as did Jason Kidd. Steve Blake didn’t help by missing two long shots. Then Kidd missed, it was not great basketball.
Peja Stojakovic upped the lead to six and after a turnover by Terry upped the lead to eight. The crowd at Staples Center was booing.
But Andrew Bynum finally got the Lakers a bucket making the margin six.
The Lakers are in trouble. Can they rally with just 12 minutes to play?
Third quarter, 6:50 remaining: Mavericks 57, Lakers 56
The first half was pretty evenly played, which is not what the Lakers were looking for. The Lakers had 26 points in the paint compared to 22 for the Mavericks. The Lakers had eight second chance points, with the Mavericks having only three.
The Mavericks biggest lead was eight while the Lakers was four.
But, the Lakers needed to get something going if they were to avoid falling into an almost impossible 0-2 hole in this best-of-seven series.
The half started slowly with Kobe Bryant missing a layup off a steal and Ron Artest missing a three. After a Derek Fisher steal, Artest was fouled on the drive and the Maverick lead was one. But Tyson Chandler extended it to three with a slam.
Shawn Stevenson then made a wide open three and suddenly the Mavericks were up by six. Then on consecutive possessions Pau Gasol was stripped of the ball and had his shot blocked.
Gasol then got a two off a Fisher assist and the margin was four. Gasol then got the next bucket and it was a two-point game.
Andrew Bynum then fouled a driving Nowitzki, who converted only one of two foul shots. Fisher then stole the ball and got the layup to bring the score to 57-56.
Halftime: Mavericks 51, Lakers 49
The Lakers returned most of their starters with seven minutes to play in the quarter and the Lakers got baskets from Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant to cut the lead to three, 37-34. Steve Blake then stole the ball and Bryant put up a shot for his 10th point.
The Mavericks called a timeout to try and slow a 6-0 Lakers run that cut the lead to one.
But there was no immediate help as Bryant stole the ball from Jason Kidd and finished the play with his patented jumper and the Lakers were back in the lead. After a Maverick miss, Andrew Bynum put the ball in after two Gasol misses and the Laker run was 10 points.
Shawn Marion stopped the streak with a two but it was answered by Bryant.
On the Mavericks next possession, Ron Artest was given a technical and then Gasol fouled Kidd while shooting a three. Kidd made two of three and the score was tied, 42-42.
Dirk Nowitzki fouled Gasol on the next Lakers possession and he made only one of the foul shots and the Lakers led by one. Nowitzki then put the Mavericks back in front with a jumper.
Bynum put the Lakers back up with a reverse from under the basket. But a foul by Artest sent Nowitzki to the line where he got his 12th and 13th points. At that point Nowitzki was five for eight from the field.
The Lakers went up by one on a Bynum put back off a Bryant miss . Marion then drove to the basket for two and followed with a foul shot and the Mavericks were up by two.
Artest then tied it on a put back off a Bryant miss. Nowitzki then scored the last basket of the half and the Mavericks had a two-point lead.
The Lakers were shooting 47.7% (21 of 44), while the Mavericks were shooting 50% (20-40).
Bynum and Bryant had 14 for the Lakers while Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 15.
Second quarter, 7:13 remaining: Mavericks 37, Lakers 30
The second quarter opened with Andrew Bynum and Dirk Nowitzki the only starters on the court. The play was kind of sloppy and the Mavericks extended their lead to eight on a Peja Stojakovic bucket.
The Lakers cut it to four with baskets by Bynum and Shannon Brown but the Mavericks answered with baskets by Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry.
Coming out of a timeout, Lamar Odom picked up his first points of the game. Shannon Brown followed that up with a basket and the Lakers were with four. After a Maverick free throw, Odom drove the basket for a two, picking up a foul but he missed the foul shot.
The Mavericks then got two baskets from Jose Barea and the lead was back to seven.
End of first quarter: Mavericks 26, Lakers 20
The Mavericks took the lead, 15-13, coming out of the timeout when Jason Kidd hit a three. It was the Mavericks third three in five attempts.
A soft jumper by Andrew Bynum brought the Lakers back to within one but Tyson Chandler answered with a slam. After each team missed, Bynum took a nice lead pass from Lamar Odom and also slammed it home. Odom came in the game for Pau Gasol.
At that point Bynum was the leading Laker scorer with six, followed by Ron Artest with five. How often do you see that? Definitely a different strategy to get more people involved in the offense.
Kidd was guarding Bryant and doing a pretty good job. Bryant did make a couple foul shots off a Kidd foul but Dirk Nowitzki answered with fallaway jumper.
After Steve Blake missed badly, Nowitzki came back and made a three and the lead was six.
The Lakers were seven of 19 (37%) in the first quarter while the Mavericks were 11 of 23 (48%).
Nowitzki was the leading scorer with seven. Bynum and Bryant had six for the Lakers.
First quarter, 5:40 remaining: Lakers 13, Mavericks 12
In Game 1, Kobe Bryant scored the first seven points for the Lakers. Wednesday, the early look was they were going to try something different. For example, Ron Artest took the first shot — and made it.
The second possession, Andrew Bynum was fouled going to the basket and made both shots. The next time down it was Pau Gasol scoring off a Bryant assist.
OK, that was enough. It was time for Bryant as he scored the next two baskets. Now, it’s not like the Mavericks weren’t scoring too. The first few minutes were pretty even with a slight advantage to the Lakers.
Gasol was more involved in the offense, shooting three times in the first six minutes — only one went in.
Shawn Stevenson hit a couple of threes for the Mavericks to keep it close as the Lakers hung on to a one-point lead going into the first timeout.
After the Lakers lost Game 1 in their series against New Orleans, the team didn’t seem too worried figuring they were just better. But, after losing Game 1 against the Dallas Mavericks, the tone was a little different.
“Yeah, we’re worried now,” said Lakers coach Phil Jackson a little more than an hour before tipoff of Wednesday’s Game 2. “They had the same (regular season) record as us. We have to play better through the series.”
That is pretty evident or the Lakers will be bounced from the playoffs. A loss on Wednesday would likely be more than the defending champions could overcome.
“But one of our strengths is we get better as a series goes on,” Jackson said.
In a couple hours we’ll know if the Lakers have improved from Game 1. Follow the game right here with frequent updates as the game unfolds.
-- John Cherwa
Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant looks up at the clock during the final seconds of the Lakers' 93-81 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 2 on Wednesday. Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times