“If you would have told me before the series that we were going to win both games,” Dirk said after Game 2’s 93-81 win, “it would have been hard to believe.” But we sit here today with that being the case.
Dirk’s dominance and the Lakers’ dreadful shooting were just too much for the two-time defending champions to overcome. The Lakers have yet to find a way to slow down the Mavs, and now the series moves to Dallas with talk of a sweep. History is on the Mavs’ side; teams that win the first two games on the road have won 15 of 18 series in NBA history. Here’s another stat for you: the Mavs were 0-10 in playoff games in L-A until taking the first two games of the series.
The Mavs have taken the Lakers not only by surprise, but off their game. Kobe Bryant continues to get his, but can’t do it alone. There has been no support for him, with basically everyone else being picked apart. The best example of the Lakers losing their composure is the Ron Artest ejection. Artest practically “face-grabbed” JJ Barea with less than a minute left in the game. The cheap shot got Artest and his madness suspended for Game 3, but that may not even be a factor since he really hasn’t done anything in this series.
The Mavs are shooting on all cylinders right now. Dirk continues to score at will, and presents a huge match-up problem in the playoffs. Their outside shooting also continues to be effective. The defense, led by Tyson Chandler, is clamping down and forcing others whose name isn’t Kobe to try to beat them. More importantly, the Mavs are showing confidence in the fact they feel like they can beat anyone anywhere.
After Game 2, Kobe said “we’ll be fine.” And if anyone can turn a 0-2 start into something magical it’s the Lakers. In the past, there would be skepticism on whether the Mavs are tough enough to put teams away. But after flipping the script in L-A, they are showing this time around they are more than capable of doing so.
Written by C. James