The Mavs came back from 16 down in the second half to win 96-94. What’s impressive is they ended the game on a 10-2 run, taking the role of closer this time around.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 28 points and hit two go-ahead free throws with 19 seconds left, which isn’t surprising since he is accustomed to being clutch when it counts. What is surprising is the Mavs defense at the end that sealed the deal, forcing Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant to make a crucial turnover.
Things looked shaky at the end of the first half for the Mavs. The Lakers jumped out to a 53-44 halftime lead with four points in the final seconds, thanks to an ill-advised foul by Jason Terry and a technical foul on Nowitzki. The start of the second half wasn’t any better, falling behind 60-44 in the 3rd quarter before making a 20-6 run to climb back in.
Kobe got his, scoring 36 points, but missed the potential game-winner with time expiring. Needless to say, a lot of people were holding their breath once that shot went up, and some breathed easier once it bounced off the rim.
There is no love lost between the two teams, but both held their composure in Game 1. Last month, both Terry and Matt Barnes got into it, on the court and in the media. Everything was tame this time around, but I’m not sure how long that will last.
This is the first time in 23 years the Mavs and Lakers have met in the playoffs. The Mavs sent a message to the defending champs in Game 1, stating they aren’t going away once the chips seem down.
Written by C. James