The Dallas Mavericks won Game 4, and the series, in decisive fashion, dominating the Los Angeles Lakers from start to finish, rolling to a 122-86 victory. Now I think it is safe to say that no one saw this coming. No one saw the Mavericks sweeping the two-time defending Champions. No one saw them blowing them out in the final game. Yet that is exactly what happened.
This game was over at halftime. Dallas shot the lights out, plain and simple. The best and deepest bench in the league scored 86 points(!) to lead the way. Jason Terry tied an NBA record by hitting 9 three-pointers, hitting 9-of-10 shots from beyond the arc. He finished with a game-high 32 points. The Mavs, as a team, tied an NBA record by knocking down 20 three-pointers. But Terry was not the only guy lighting it up from downtown. Peja Stoyakovic hit all 7 of his shots, including 6 from three-point land, finishing with 21 points. Combined Peja and JET set an NBA record for most combined threes by two players in a playoff game with 15.
J.J Barea, while not going unconscious from downtown, added 22 points and 8 assists. And, unfortunately, Barea was once again involved in an ugly incident. Following a flagrant foul, and subsequent ejection, Lamar Odom for throwing a forearm that caught Dirk Nowitzki in the face, Andrew Bynum decided to spear an air-borne Barea as he was driving for the layup. Barea hit the floor hard, laying motionless for several minutes. Bynum was quickly ejected from the game for his cheap shot on the significantly smaller, defenseless Barea. Barea was able to return to the game after a few minutes collecting his wits.
It really was sad to see the Lakers stoop to such low levels after having been such great champions. Surely this was not the way Phil Jackson wanted to end his coaching career, watching his team act like a bunch of thugs in an ugly loss. But that is the way it went down. The Mavs bench scored the same amount of points, 86, as the entire Lakers team. Ugly does not seem like an adequate word to describe the performance of the Lakers tonight.
Who would have ever thought that if Dirk Nowitzki scored only 17 points and Jason Kidd netted 3 and 7 assists that the Mavs would win by 36? This is an opportunity for Mavs fans to finally exhale and enjoy a big win. No more worries about a historic choke. Nowitzki and Kidd finally got one on Kobe and the Lakers. And they get the next week off to rest and recover before opening the Western Conference Finals at home in Big D. The only question remains who their opponent will be, the Memphis Grizzlies or the Oklahoma City Thunder. It should be fun series no matter who it is against.
The Mavs, while happy to get this win, made it clear that they were not celebrating anything yet. Their goal is not just to beat L.A. They want a ring. And they still have 8 more victories to get to make that happen.