A late rally by the Mavericks was not enough Saturday night as they fell to the Los Angeles Lakers 96-91.
The big question coming into the game was about the Mavericks' ability to cope with the Lakers' size.
Gasol and Bynum combined for 40 points and 20 rebounds.
Chandler and Marion did nothing to quell the duo and as a team the Mavericks continued their putrid run of interior defense by giving up 56 points in the paint.
This has to change if the Mavericks meet the Lakers in the playoffs. I would try a frontcourt of Chandler/Mahinmi/Dirk or Haywood/Chandler/Dirk to try and quell the Lakers size advantage in spurts. Obviously this wouldn't work for the full 48 minutes, but I think it would be worth a shot to see if it slows them down a little.
Otherwise, it will be a short series between these two teams if they meet.
Despite the Lakers' superior inside game they were never able to pull away. Thanks to poor shooting performances by Kobe Bryant (who was hampered by an ankle injury midway through the 3rd quarter) Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom.
The Mavericks had their own shooting problems though. The team struggled as a whole with only Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki accounting for 25 points each.
Rodrigue Beaubois had a night to forget. Beaubois went 1-7 from the field with a couple of costly turnovers and missed numerous defensive assignments on the defensive end. He did not look ready to play in a game of this magnitude and that has to change if the Mavericks are to rely on him come playoff time.
The loss dwindled the Mavericks lead on the Lakers to only a half a game and it will only be a matter of time before the Lakers grab a hold of the #2 seed. With only 16 games to go, the Mavericks look destined for a trip up I-35 to face Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.