The Mavericks went to Portland for Game 6 of their first round series having lost eight straight and 18 of 20 playoff road games, the last of which had been an embarrassing performance in Game 4 in which they blew a 23-point lead. They had played the Lakers in three playoff series and had never won a road game, going 0-10 overall. Consider those trends reversed.
After eking out a come-from-behind win in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal in Los Angeles, the Mavericks steadily added to a two-point halftime lead in Game 2 and won easily, 93-81. Dirk Nowitzki once again led the way with an efficient 9-16 game, good for 24 points, hitting numerous difficult shots and doing his damage from the field while reaching the line just five times.
With Jason Kidd and Jason Terry, two of the Game 1 heroes, each hitting just three field goals, it was J.J. Barea who sparked a late run to put the game out of reach, as the Mavericks stretched their lead midway through the fourth quarter to 15 points and never saw the lead reach single digits again. Barea finished with 12 points and four assists.
The Lakers got a solid game from center Andrew Bynum who scored 18 on 8-11 shooting, but Kobe Bryant was unable to take over the game when the Lakers needed an offensive boost in the second half, and the Lakers went just 2-20 from three-point range and 11-20 from the free throw line.
It is now the Lakers who face some daunting trends. They last lost the first two games of a series at home in the 1977 Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trailblazers. Portland went on to sweep that series. Just four teams in history have come back from such a hole to win a seven-game series. Game 3 back in Dallas is Friday night and will be televised on ESPN.