Don't look now, but the Dallas Mavericks have won two games at the Staples Center, and hold a commanding 0-2 lead as the series shifts back to Dallas. If anyone said that Game 1 was kind of a fluke, let this one serve as reaffirmation. The Mavericks used a couple main principles that are tried and true in the Playoffs to win this one; defense and balanced scoring.
They held the Lakers to just 32 second half points, and had six players who registered nine points or more. Only one player, DeShawn Stevenson, registered a negative +/-, and he was just -2 over the course of 13 minutes. 12 points isn't the biggest deficit in the world, but the Mavericks beat the Lakers just about as thoroughly as you can in this one.
Our Mavericks blog Mavs Money Ball does a great job of compiling quotes from some of the key players in each game. Let's start with Jason terry, who noted the balanced scoring effort.
"DeShawn Stevenson started it off. Again, it’s been a theme throughout the playoffs, throughout the regular season. Somebody is gonna step up for us. We don’t know who it is, and someone is gonna be the unsung hero. Tonight it was DeShawn and J.J. Barea, what he did at the end of the third and start of the fourth quarter, and our bigs. So, it was a collective effort. We’re a team and that’s evident."
Barea was an absolute sparkplug in this one, and his 12 points in just 17 minutes helped lead a second unit that continues to embarrass the Lakers' reserves. Terry only got nine points on just 3-12 shooting, but he got five assists and two steals.
As we said up top, the other big part of the Mavericks' attack was their defensive effort. Rick Carlisle breaks it down to the pretty pretty colors level so that we can all understand.
"For the most part we're at a stance, we're helping each other and we're scrambling. We need to have teams see a blue or white, depending on where we're playing. When we're scrambling and helping each other and have five guys in there getting rebounds we're a very good defensive team. Tonight was the kind of effort we have to have."
The Lakers shot just 2-20 from deep in Game 2. Some of that has to do with them having their own off night, but the Mavs also have to be given some credit for their ability to close out on outside shooters. Kobe shot just 9-20, Lamar Odom 3-12, and the combo of Steve Blake and Matt Barnes an abysmal 0-7. The team as a whole shot 41% from the field. It also didn't help that they went just 11-20 from the free throw stripe.
Now the Mavericks are heading to Dallas with a 2-0 lead that I'm sure not very many expected them to earn at the Staples Center. If they continue to play this brand of winning basketball, and the Lakers continue to self destruct like they have been, then the Mavs could have a chance to close this one out without getting back on a plane to Los Angeles. Game 3 is on Friday.