Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 1/18/12

Wow, talk about barn burners and ups and downs of a game, that’s one of the ways that you could describe the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers. On a last-ditch effort by Derek Fisher to launch a rainbow three pointer over Dirk Nowitzki, and with the luck of the draw, it went in to give the Lakers a 73-70 victory in Staples Center.

It’s always interesting to see how opponents face off on each other after an elimination round of  playoffs; this one seemed as if it would have an extra interesting punch to it. After all, Dallas not only beat LA in the Western Conference Semi-Finals last season, they swept them in 4 games and took the first game in LA after the Lakers had given up a 17 point lead. But that was then, and this is now.

There was some extra, how do we say it, tension in the air, since this was Lamar Odom’s first game back in Los Angeles after his surprising trade to Dallas during the off-season and no one was sure how to handle it, at times it appeared there were egg shells on the court before the game.

However, this was an ugly game of sorts from the beginning. As it was, no one wanted to score and win, or it looked that way. Between the NBA Champs of 2011 and a team that has won the Championship 5 times, the score at the end of the first quarter was 18-15, yes you heard me correctly 18-15; and the second was not too much better with a 24-17 scoring margin to Los Angeles giving them a 39-35 lead; the third quarter was 16-7 scoring margin in favor of Dallas 51-46 lead; then come the fourth quarter when it looked liked we all woke up and wanted to play with LA scoring 27 and Dallas scoring 19 which gave them the 73-70 win.

As I stated, this was Odom’s first game in LA since his trade, but what I thought was a touching moment, he came in to sub for Dirk who was having a woeful night missing his first 6 field goal attempts, Odom went to the scorekeeper’s table and was greeted with a standing ovation from the crowd and a hug from Fisher. Lamar was humbled by the reaction from the crowd and with a little wave acknowledged the warm reception. This was the same reception he got from Kobe prior to the game, a hug and a smile.

On Dallas’ next possession, Odom took the ball to the outside and went up for a shot that went in and gave Dallas a 18-15 edge on a 3; and after that he as well as the rest of the Mavs, seemed to calm down and got ready to play; well as much as they could.

Tonight’s game was not a great one, it was an ok one because there was so many bad shots being taken, but there was good ones also, but they just didn’t go in and it showed on the stat sheets for the night. You have two of the elite teams in the league playing and one shoots 35% from the field and the other shoots 38.2%, that’s not a great game, that looks sloppy on paper and on the court. Let’s not talk about the other stats, my goodness; everyone wanted to shoot a 3 and not very many of them were going in either. Dallas shot 15.4% from behind the arc and the Lakers shot 10%, does that sound good? No, it doesn’t.

When you look at those kind of stats, you’d think that there were about 40-50 turnovers, wouldn’t you? Well believe it or not, Dallas only had 15 turnovers and LA had 11, 26 turnovers combined, it’s just that nothing for a while was going in the basket.

Kobe missed a lot of shots, Dirk missed a lot of shots, but Dirk finished the night leading the Mavs with 21 points on 8 of 17 shooting and had 7 rebounds, Odom added 10 points and Ian Mahinmi had 9 points and 10 rebounds.

Andrew Bynum actually led the Lakers with 17 points and 15 rebounds and Kobe added 14 and Fisher ended with 13 including the winning 3.

Dallas did lead in the rebounding tonight with 49 to LA’s 44 and had a dismal night at the free throw line with connecting on 62.5% of their attempts to LA’s 73.7%. This has been a rough year so far for the Mavericks at the stripe, especially when they have been one of the best teams in the league for some time on free throw percentage, but this season, they still have a lot of work to do to get that percentage up, because we all know that the points from the line are just as important as a field goal in close games.

Jason Kidd was back in the lineup after missing some games due to back spasms he suffered from the game in San Antonio and it was evident as he orchestrated things on the court and was able to run the court as he used to.

In the third quarter of tonight’s game it looked as if Dallas was going to come alive and repeat what they had done to LA in the playoffs last season when at the 8:55 mark, Shawn Marion stole the ball, caught Dirk in a break, swung the ball behind his back,and Dirk got a dunk and the Mavs were now within 1 point of a tie. Again game back and forth into the fourth, Dallas had a 55-52 lead, Kobe drove the ball to the basket, shot the ball, it went in for the basket and he got fouled, so the Lakers with the and one from Kobe, tied the game at 55 each.

With 4:49 left in the fourth, LA had a 62-59 lead, when Fisher stole the ball on a Kidd pass to JET and took it for the flush to give the Lakers a 64-59 lead. The game again went back and forth from there and with 9.9 seconds left, the Lakers had a 70-68 lead when JET took the ball at the free throw area on a jumper and now we are tied again at 70. LA calls time out and both teams set up a game plan, and hopefully, it will work.

Lakers take the ball out, ball gets into Kobe’s hands, which the Mavericks were prepared for and everyone was ready for him to get the ball, the defense rotated and rotated again, keying in on both Kobe and Pau Gasol and left Fisher open, but he was behind the 3 point line and they were dismal behind the 3, so Dirk went to try to defend him and got his arm up as the ball was released; made a rainbow effect, as some of Dirk’s shots do and went in. Now LA has a 73-70 lead with 3.1 seconds left, Dallas calls time out.

Rick Carlisle draws up a play and of course, everyone was thinking of Dirk or JET to get the ball and save the Mavs from a loss and possibly force overtime. Well to everyone’s surprise, the ball gets to Vince Carter and he tries to heave-ho a 3 and when me takes the shot, something happens to his foot and he hears a pop and misses the shot; bottom line is Mavericks lose to the Lakers.

Just a side note, when Dallas had tied the game at 70 and the Lakers had called a time out, the camera pans to Kobe who is setting up on Dallas’ end of the court in front of the Mavericks bench and you could tell he said something to Lamar Odom because of his expression and the looks on the faces of the other Maverick players and coaching staff; would love to know what he said.

Anyway, the Mavs played as good as the Lakers played bad and they both played bad, it’s just that the Lakers won on the last shot and we didn’t. Now the Mavericks have a couple of days rest to prepare for another game at Staples Center on Wednesday night against the Clippers before they continue on their road trip to Utah.

So I bid you a good day and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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