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Caught in the Web: Reactions to Lakers' 98-92 Game 3 loss to Dallas Mavericks

Photo: Lakers Coach Phil Jackson communicates with his players on the court after a basket by the Mavericks in the fourth quarter of Game 3 on Friday night in Dallas. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times Note: We will have a live chat today at 5 p.m. during the Heat-Celtics game. I figured it'd be a good forum for Laker fans to vent out their frustrations on the team's play, the opponents they're seeing on the screen and everything else in general. 

Game stories

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan details the Lakers' unraveling in their 98-92 Game 3 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, also reporting that the Lakers held their longest morning shootaround since the 2008 NBA Finals. Obviously, the extra preparation didn't work.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding notices the Lakers' emotions are getting the best of them.

--The Dallas Morning News' Eddie Sefko looks at Peja Stojakovic's defense on Lamar Odom.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford credits Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki and Peja Stojakovic for beating the Lakers in Game 3.


--The Times' Bresnahan focuses on Pau Gasol's disappearing act in the NBA playoffs.

--The Times' Broderick Turner highlights Phil Jackson's animated pressure on the Lakers' big men.

--ESPN Dallas' Jeff Caplan credits Nowitzki's leadership.

--Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears focuses on Bryant's optimism. 

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Five things to take away from the Lakers' 98-92 Game 3 loss to Dallas Mavericks

61431336-2Other than the fourth-quarter collapses, which I detail here, and my belief that the Lakers can't come back from a 0-3 deficit, here are five other things to take away from the Lakers' 98-92 Game 3 loss Friday to the Dallas Mavericks.

1. Pau Gasol continues to unravel. It almost became too painful to watch. His 12-point performance on five-of-13 shooting featured him leaving Dirk Nowitzki wide open from three-point range, Phil Jackson berating and even pushing him on the sideline and his frustrations continuing to boil over. We have never seen Gasol operate at such a low level, and the reasons are beyond comprehension. He's had an inconsistent stretch this season starting with fatigue from filling in for Andrew Bynum during his 24-game absence while rehabbing his surgically repaired knee. That created a trickle-down effect where he mentally checked out in certain games, lacked aggressiveness and cut corners on defense. But his latest effort in Game 3 goes beyond much more than that.

Just when it seemed like he was turning around, by hitting a late jumper he left Nowitzki wide open on the next play. After taking a charge on Nowitzki, Gasol forced up a jumper. As much as the Lakers are frustrated with him, particularly Jackson, at this point pointing fingers at him and yelling at him is simply the equivalent of kicking a person while he's down. Believe me, he deserves all the criticism thrown at him right now and no one should be making excuses for him.

That's why I found it perplexing and distasteful to see his teammates provide positive reinforcement during Game 2, but realized during Game 3 that they simply don't have any other choice. For the practical purpose of giving the Lakers their best shot at winning Game 4, the Lakers can't make him feel any more fragile than he already is. Nonetheless, the responsibility falls on Gasol to shape up. Whatever is bothering Gasol mentally, he simply has to let it go. Unfortunately for the Lakers, this lack of confidence and aggressiveness came during the postseason, resulting in a playoff average of 13.6 points and 7.8 rebounds, a dropoff from his regular-season averages of 18.8 points and 7.8 rebounds.

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Lakers experience another fourth-quarter collapse in 98-92 Game 3 loss to Dallas Mavericks

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant wipes his face as he prepares for the final minutes of Game 3 on Friday night in Dallas. Bryant finished with 17 points in the 98-92 loss to the Mavericks. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / May 6, 2011 Forget about Phil Jackson's increased animation and tightened rotation. Forget about Andrew Bynum showcasing his inside dominance. And forget how impressive the Triple Towers lineup looked with Lamar Odom taking Ron Artest's spot in the starting lineup.

I'll break down all of these issues later, but all that matters is that the Lakers lost, 98-92, in Game 3 on Friday against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Arena because of a fourth-quarter implosion. The Lakers have another game on Sunday because this is a best-of-seven series, but there's no way they become the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-0 deficit. I don't care that the Lakers have the talent and experience to pull off the feat, or that the Mavericks imploded in the 2006 NBA Finals after having a 2-0 series lead over Miami. There's no way the Lakers win this series. So the lasting images of the Lakers' dynasty points to their fourth-quarter unraveling. Below the jump, I explain how it all went down in the final 6:48 of the game.

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Lakers vs. Mavericks Game 3: Mavericks 98, Lakers 92 (final)

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 The Last Stand looked more like the Last Wobble.

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.


Lakers-Mavericks Game 3 box score

 Lakers-Mavericks Game 3 photo gallery

Lakers have usually gotten out of trouble

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Lakers Chat: Lakers vs. Mavericks Game 3

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Lamar Odom says he will start in Game 3 against Dallas

Photo: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a rebound in the first half while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals at Staples Center on May 2, 2011. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images Lakers Coach Phil Jackson was coy at the team's shoot-around Friday about who would start at small forward in place of suspended Ron Artest for Game 3 of the playoffs against the Mavericks in Dallas.

But Lamar Odom, who practiced with the Lakers starting unit Thursday and at shoot-around Friday, said: "As far as I know I am [starting]."

Artest was suspended for one game by the NBA for his flagrant foul on Mavericks guard Jose Barea in Game 2 Wednesday.

Before shoot-around, the Lakers issued some game notes saying that Shannon Brown would start Friday, but Jackson merely said the league mandates the team release some pregame information.

The Mavericks won the first two games of the playoff series at Staples Center. Tipoff Friday is 6:30 p.m. PDT.

-- Broderick Turner in Dallas

Photo: Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a rebound in the first half while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals at Staples Center on May 2, 2011. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Lakers Game Notes: Shannon Brown to start in place of Ron Artest

Liymjxnc The Lakers plan to start Shannon Brown at shooting guard and Kobe Bryant at small forward Friday in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinals series with the Dallas Mavericks, according to the Lakers' game notes. 

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson wouldn't divulge who would start in place of forward Ron Artest, who will serve a one-game suspension for his clothes-lining of Dallas guard J.J. Barea in the waning seconds of the Lakers' Game 2 loss. But by no means are the game notes binding. According to NBA Statscube, the lineup featuring Derek Fisher and Brown sharing backcourt duties, Bryant playing at small forward, Pau Gasol at power forward and Andrew Bynum at center, has been on the court a total of 12 minutes through five games.

That's a very small sample to evaluate, but for what it's worth, this lineup posted a statistical improvement from the team's season average in offensive rating (170.35 versus 107.9), turnovers (four, 13), field-goal percentage (75%, 46.3%) and three-point field-goal percentage (66.7%, 35.2%). Meanwhile, the team's defensive rating dipped from its season average (84.41, 101.32). Brown, who has made six of 10 shots while playing 27 minutes in the two games against Dallas,  has largely been inconsistent since a strong start to the season (he shot 48% in November). Although Brown's 10 field-goal attempts makes it difficult to gauge what his shooting clip against Dallas really means, the start may jump-start his performance, considering he may not be as inclined to shoot outside shots with the starters.

The move would also give Bryant more freedom to operate in the post, a role that he thrives in. This lineup could surely change before tip, with Lakers Coach Phil Jackson possibly starting Matt Barnes or Luke Walton at small forward and increasing Lamar Odom's time off the bench.

-- Mark Medina

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Photo: Los Angeles Lakers point guard Shannon Brown. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire

Caught in the Web: Lakers prepare for Game 3 against Dallas Mavericks

61403703-- The Times' Mike Bresnahan will be hosting a live chat today at 2:30 p.m. using the Cover It Live Interface. It's just a hunch, but it's possible there's a few things to talk about heading into Game 3 of the Lakers-Mavericks West semifinals series. Though the Lakers have a 2-0 deficit, Bresnahan details how the Lakers are remaining calm.

--The Times' T.J. Simers believes the Lakers will still beat the Mavericks.

--The Times' Mark Heisler believes injuries, advancing age and a lack of hunger has contributed to the Lakers' woes.

--Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick remains perplexed about the team's even-keel attitude.

--Fox Sports' Todd Behrendt debates whether the Lakers can recover and win the series. 

--The Orange County Register's Earl Bloom argues the Lakers have no answer to stop Dirk Nowitzki.

--ESPN Dallas' Jeff Caplan details Jason Kidd's longevity. 

--Ball Don't Lie's Dan Devine features a funny photo of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

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Ron Artest suspended for one game, will sit out Friday's game

Photo: Ron Artest walks off the court after being ejected in the second half of  Game 2 against Dallas on Wednesday night. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press Lakers forward Ron Artest will sit out Game 3 of the playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks because of a one-game suspension handed down by the NBA.

Artest was ejected from Game 2 with 24.4 seconds left after smacking Dallas guard Jose Barea in the face with his forearm. It was Artest's second technical foul of the game.

The Lakers will start either Lamar Odom or Matt Barnes in Artest's place Friday. Luke Walton might see his first playing time of the playoffs.

Artest will forfeit $57,476 in pay for the suspension. He had a strong start to the playoffs against New Orleans but has tailed off in the Western Conference semifinals against Dallas, averaging 6.5 points while making only five of 18 shots (27.8%).

Artest didn't exactly express remorse for his suspension, citing the need to "move forward" or "move on" no less than seven times in two minutes with reporters.

The Lakers trail the Mavericks, 2-0, in the best-of-seven series. Games 3 and 4 will be in Dallas.


Bill Plaschke: Pau Gasol and Lakers look finished

T.J. Simers: Despite attempts by Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, this is no laughing matter

-- Mike Bresnahan

Photo: Ron Artest walks off the court after being ejected in the second half of  Game 2 against Dallas on Wednesday night. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press

Caught in the Web: Reactions to Lakers' 93-81 Game 2 loss to Dallas Mavericks

61378460Game stories

-- The Times' Mike Bresnahan details the Lakers' frustration over their 93-81 Game 2 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, including Andrew Bynum's contention that the team has "trust issues."

The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding looks at the odds the Lakers have to overcome from a 0-2 deficit. 

The Riverside Press Enterprise's David Lassen notes this interesting nugget: "Only once in their history have the Lakers rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win a playoff series: 1969, when they defeated San Francisco in six games in a first-round series."

--The Dallas Morning News' Eddie Sefko notices the Lakers have no answers for stopping Dirk Nowitzki.

-- The Daily News' Elliott Teaford looks at why the Lakers have unraveled. 


-- The Times' Bresnahan catches up with former Laker Caron Butler.

-- The Times' Lisa Dillman highlights Dirk Nowitzki's performance.

-- The Daily News' Jill Painter credits J.J. Barea's effort.'s Marc Stein details how the Mavericks are overcoming the odds. 

--The Dallas Morning News' Bob Sturm credits the Mavericks' defense. 


--The Riverside Press Enterprise's Lassen details the NBA's clarification on officials disallowing Phil Jackson from making a late-game substitution in Game 1. 

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