Who saw that one coming?
It was a stunning win from the Mavericks. It was the Lakers making the crucial mistakes down the stretch and the Mavericks playing the role of a composed veteran laden championship team.
The reality for the two-time champs entering Wednesday's suddenly must-win Game 2 is that their three-peat formula just isn't mixing. The bench, aside from Odom, has been a season-long disappointment. Exploiting their usual size advantage has been harder in the playoffs than they envisioned. And they're still waiting, obviously, for the first vintage Kobe kill shot of the 2011 postseason to tie it all together.
"I just felt like we gave it away," Phil Jackson said, and he was referring to the game as much as the lead.
The Lakers gave away something else, too. A loss like this chips away at their mystique, adding to a month’s worth of evidence that there’s less reason for opponents to fear them. Unlike the Hornets, the Mavericks didn’t sound surprised to have beaten the two-time defending champs. If they didn’t already believe they could win this series, they should now.
Of course, you have the typical elementary non-sense by Mark Kreigel who says that Nowitzki will never lead the Mavericks to a title.
A team’s identity is inextricably linked to its best. And it doesn’t matter if the Mavs are coached by Don Nelson, Avery Johnson or Carlisle, their best player is Nowitzki. With Kidd, he makes them a beautiful, fluid offensive team. Just the same, amid all this beauty, you can see why the Mavericks always seem to be a little less than their expectations.
Bryant repeatedly said it wasn't his fault, pointing instead to the Lakers' reserves.
"It had nothing to do with me," he said. "I'm going to do what I do. I think the second unit, we've got to make a conscious effort to get the ball in to Pau and get the ball in to Andrew
We felt like we had a bad start to the third quarter, turned the ball over three or four times in a row, Kobe got hot there in the third," Nowitzki said. "It wasn't looking good. But we talked about it in the huddle: Just stick with it, try to get some stops and not turn the ball over. Just get a shot up every time and give ourselves at least a chance to make it."
Ever since we got Brewer, he's come into practice every day with a phenomenal attitude. He has worked to get better and has gotten better. He had opportunities to go to other teams for more money and as good a winning situation as ours was. You're talking about a kid who won two national championships in a row, so he knows about big games."We got in a dire situation and he went in there and made some good things happen for us."