Lakers vs. Mavericks Game 3: Mavericks 98, Lakers 92 (final)
History is standing between the Lakers and a second-round exit at the hands of the Mavericks after Dallas stunned them, 98-92, on Friday night in Dallas.
No NBA team has ever managed to come back from a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs to win a series.
The Lakers led by eight points with less than seven minutes remaining but the Mavericks, boosted by a stellar fourth-quarter showing from Peja Stojakovic, kept chipping away at the lead.
“We didn’t panic,” said the Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki, who had a game-high 32 points and collected nine rebounds.
Stojakovic had 15 points off the bench, including three three-pointers. Eleven of those points came in the fourth quarter.
Jason Terry added 23 more points off the bench for Dallas.
You know it is (mostly) going well when Kobe Bryant is smiling on the bench and then hugs one of his teammates.
It happened after reserve Shannon Brown’s drive to the hoop gave the Lakers an eight-point lead. Brown has 10 points and three rebounds off the bench, getting the big embrace and encouragement from Bryant.
Andrew Bynum just picked up his fourth foul and came out, reluctantly.
Jose Barea cut the Lakers’ lead to six points with 6:49 left.
Lakers 72, Mavericks 66 (End of third quarter)
Another strong finish for the Lakers, one quarter away from grabbing their first victory of this series.
They are doing it in a variety of ways, one of them being determined defense, having held the Mavericks to 19 points in the third quarter.
They finished the third quarter on an 8-2 run. Kobe Bryant went two for six in the third quarter but he has 13 points and six assists.
So who will be the hero of the fourth quarter: The Mavericks' Jose Barea (again) or the beleaguered Pau Gasol for the Lakers?
Lakers 58, Mavericks 51 (8:16 left in third quarter)
Pau Gasol made a running layup, Derek Fisher hit a three-pointer from the left wing and the Lakers managed to take their biggest lead of the game, going up by seven.
Kobe Bryant set up both Gasol and Fisher, and has four assists and 11 points on five-for-five shooting. Andrew Bynum picked up his third foul, though.
Lakers 51, Mavericks 47 (End of first half)
The Lakers stirred and came to life just in time for the end of the first half, finishing the second quarter on an 11-2 run, which was highlighted by Andrew Bynum on a fast break, finishing with a monster dunk to put the Lakers up by three.
Bynum and Lamar Odom have combined for 24 points for the Lakers, and Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry have contributed 30 points combined for the Mavericks.
Kobe Bryant has been efficient, going four of four from the field for nine points.
The Lakers are shooting 53%, the Mavericks 46%. Dallas made five three-pointers to only two for the Lakers in the first half.
Mavericks 45, Lakers 42 (2:53 left in second quarter)
It was Dirk Nowitzki and JET leading the way for Dallas. JET would be Jason Terry, who came off the bench and had nine points in the second quarter. He has 12 points in all.
Nowitzki is six-for-10 shooting from the field for 16 points.
Kobe Bryant has taken two shots, making them both. That is, two shots in the game … not the quarter. Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum have combined for 20 points.
Mavericks 38, Lakers 32 (8:41 left in second quarter)
The expected: Kobe Bryant with his fourth point of the game, passed Shaq for No. 3 on the league’s all-time playoff scoring list. No. 1 is Michael Jordan and No. 2 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The unexpected: Joe Smith actually got into a playoff game for the Lakers.
Mavericks 29, Lakers 27 (end of first quarter)
The opening quarter had no shortage of drama. Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum landed in early foul trouble, picking up two each. Bryant was limited to only 6:27 of play in the first quarter and had a mere two points.
Dallas center Tyson Chandler also was called for two fouls in the first quarter.
The Lakers shot 55% and the Mavericks 52%, but Dallas finished the quarter on a big surge, going on a 9-3 run.
Bynum, looking more emotional and demonstrative than usual, led the Lakers with 10 points.
Dirk Nowitzki had 11 for the Mavericks.
Mavericks 19, Lakers 16 (4:12 remaining in first quarter)
Just like that, the Mavericks got hot, at the hand of Dirk Nowitzki, of course.
Dallas went on a 9-2 run with Nowitzki hitting back-to-back three-pointers. The Mavericks are four for four from three-point range, and the Lakers have not yet attempted a three.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson immediately called a timeout after Nowitzki’s last three and aired out Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
Looked like he wanted to put them both into a timeout.
Lakers 14, Mavericks 10 (5:48 remaining in first quarter)
The opening minutes had the expected highlight. Kobe Bryant’s 17-foot jumper with 9:02 left in the first quarter meant that he passed Shaquille O'Neal for third place on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list.
Lamar Odom, starting in the place of suspended Ron Artest at small forward, is one-for-three shooting from the field for two points.
Jason Kidd has five points for the Mavericks.
There are a lot of things the Lakers must do better in Friday's Game 3 at Dallas.
Among their challenges: outplaying the Mavericks' deep bench. In Games 1 and 2 the Mavericks' reserves outscored the Lakers' bench by 70 to 37, and Dallas' second unit created 20 assists to only nine for the Lakers.
Lamar Odom, of course, is the Lakers' best bench player but he's expected to start Friday. So that puts the load on Shannon Brown, Matt Barnes, Steve Blake and, maybe, Luke Walton.
Gambling site Betus.com favors the Mavericks by 2 1/2 points and Beted.com likes the Mavericks by 2 points in Game 3.
Photo: Lakers guard Derek Fisher is fouled by Mavericks guard DeShawn Stevenson while trying to split the Dallas defense in the first half Friday night in Dallas. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times