Lakers vs. Mavericks: Dallas dealing with its past
Count veteran center Tyson Chandler, who's in his first season with the Mavs, as one of those guys who called them soft when he played against Dallas. He happily admitted it.
"Oh, yeah, I definitely did," he said Tuesday at practice in Playa Vista. "That was one of those things when I came here I wanted to turn around because I knew if that was my mind-set, it was probably some other people's mind-set too. It's a process. But I felt like we're up for the challenge. When things get tough, this team doesn't back down."
The old Mavericks, faced with a 16-point deficit on the road, might have crumbled Monday night. Instead they beat the Lakers by two points in Game 1 and were looking to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals. Game 2 is on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
"I think we’re mentally tougher than we have been," said Mavericks star forward Dirk Nowitzki. "It showed after the meltdown Game 4 in Portland, the way we came back and basically won two big games, back-to-back. Everybody already said we’re dead.
“So I think we’re a bunch of veteran guys that have been through a lot in this league already and seen a lot in this league and know one bad quarter or one bad half or even a bad game, you can overcome it by coming ready to play the next night and just get it out of your heads."
It's all about adjustments at this stage, and Dallas Coach Rick Carlisle is expecting more pressure from the Lakers in Game 2 and possible matchup changes.
"All that stuff is secondary to us playing our game at a higher level than we did in Game 1," he said. "We can’t give up a 12-2 run to end the first half and go from up one to down nine, and survive. You leave too much to chance."
-- Lisa Dillman
Photo: Tyson Chandler #6 of the Dallas Mavericks dunks the ball against Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half of Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals at Staples Center on May 2, 2011. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images