The Los Angeles Lakers arrived at the American Airlines Center looking to avenge their season opening-loss to the Dallas Mavericks and things couldn’t have gone more their way.
The Lakers outshot, outrebounded and outplayed the Mavs in just about every conceivable way en route to a 115-89 blowout.
Metta World Peace couldn’t miss in the fist quarter and finished the game with 19 points, tied with Kobe Bryant and Antawn Jamison for game high scorer and leading 6 Lakers in double figures. The Lakers shot 54.5% from downtown as well.
LOL, well okay.
Shawn Marion had his usual solid game with 10 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals. He did his best to defend Kobe and Kobe didn’t have an overwhelming game but he didn’t have to.
Vince Carter had 16 points and Jae Crowder had 15, both coming off the bench.
When Rick Carlisle finally put Bernard James into the game for 15 minutes, he had 7 points on 3-of-4 shooting, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks.
Brandan Wright started again and hit 2 of his first 3 shots (both jumpers) then left the game early and only came in briefly later.
There isn’t always an answer for a hot-shooting team but the Mavs didn’t have one anyway. The Lakers pretty much had their way inside and out.
The Mavs two “big guns” for most of the season, O. J. Mayo and Chris Kaman shot a combined 7-for-27 and 17 points between them, both well below their averages and Darren Collison had another disastrous night shooting 1-for-10.
Kaman was completely thwarted by Dwight Howard and for a center with his array of offensive tools it should have been more of a contest. Mayo hasn’t had too many bad nights and for that matter, neither has Kaman and no one would expect Kaman to have a field day against Howard. That, however, was an embarrassment and he fouled out in 23 ½ minutes to boot. For Collison, consistency has not been his strength as he has had too many nights like this one.
Here’s a stat line that looks familiar: 17 minutes, 0-for-3 shooting, 4 rebounds, 5 personal fouls and a block. Elton Brand is now shooting 34.2% for the year. I hate to say it as I’ve been a big fan of Brand his entire career but something is wrong and it’s not getting fixed. I had a funny feeling about Brand after career-low numbers his last year in Philly and was hoping to nab Luis Scola instead and alas, my fears have been realized.
I know Brand is no Lamar Odom and I certainly didn’t expect him to put up big numbers but he’s never shot less than 45% and that was the year he was injured with the Clippers. When Bernard James is playing the way he is and Wright, even with fewer rebounds is shooting over 60%, I cannot fathom not giving them more minutes until Brand can turn things around. He is still valuable as a rebounder and defender but he and the staff need to figure out why he’s struggling offensively.
The team struggled to score inside which is another reason I would like to have seen Wright and James get more minutes. Also a huge factor was the free throw discrepancy: the Lakers only shot 67% but made 34 attempts. The Mavs shot a woeful 55% at the line and had only 20 attempts to start with – that’s a 12 point discrepancy right there.
The Mavericks also turned the ball over 15 times.
Competitive teams sometimes play pretty well but lose to better teams or other teams who just have a great game. The second Knicks game was a good example of two teams who played well but “there can be only one” victor. The Mavs’ story this season is different – it’s a matter of having complete meltdowns against opponents, regardless of who they are. Yes, the Lakers have a lot of talent even without Steve Nash but the same cannot be said for all the teams the Mavericks have lost to this year.
Rick Carlisle has his work cut out for him in trying to figure out where to find consistency. On any given night the Mavs can play very well and overall, Mayo, Kaman, Carter, James and Wright have been consistently solid. Collison has been very sporadic and Brand has done anything decent on the offensive end since joining the team. There is nothing more to lose by experimenting with players who have put up good numbers in the time they’ve been on the floor.
The Laker game doesn’t mean the end of the world but unfortunately it isn’t a complete anomaly—the players who have struggled (and some who generally haven’t) simply managed to do so on the same night and the Lakers also dominated on both ends of the floor. Overall, a good lesson and a good snapshot for what the Mavs need to fix, hopefully sooner rather than later.
The Mavs don’t get a break, as they’ll face the Philadelphia 76ers and the Chicago Bulls in back-to-back games this week. More contenders follow a reprieve in Detroit so the Mavs are going to be tested. Hopefully they will respond more the way they did to the Knicks than the Lakers…at this point it’s anybody’s guess…
Topics: Brandan Wright, Chris Kaman, Dahntay Jones, Dallas, Dallas Mavericks, Darren Collison, Dirk Nowitzki, DirkNowitzki, Dominique Jones, Dwight Howard, Elton Brand, Jae Crowder, Mavericks, O. J. Mayo, Rick Carlisle, Shawn Marion, Vince Carter