Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers look to even the series against the Dallas Mavericks as the teams square off in Game Two from the Staples Center. The Lakers are 7-point favorites over the Mavericks with an over/under point total of 190.
The Dallas Mavericks looked dead in the water early into the 3rd quarter of game one as the Lakers scored the first seven points to stretch their lead to 16. This of course came after the infamous end to the first half where Jason Terry fouled Lamar Odom with a second to play on a half court shot and Dirk Nowitzki picked up a technical on the ensuing foul shots leading to 4 free points for LA to close the half. The Dallas bench would prove to be the difference maker to close the gap and Dirk Nowitzki’s fourth quarter shooting ended up sealing the deal. The Mavericks’ defense showed a lot of toughness in the victory, as Tyson Chandler was his usual fearless self in the paint and Jason Kidd welcomed the opportunity to guard Kobe Bryant in the final minutes, completing the task with great poise and success.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in familiar territory after having dropped game one of their opening round series to the Hornets. Kobe Bryant scored 36 points in game one, but on the last two possessions he simply wasn’t clutch, and publicly stated as much. Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom delivered an economical 30 points and 23 rebounds combined, but Ron Artest really failed to show up the entire game as he went a lousy 1-8 from the field. Pau Gasol struggled to defend Dirk down the stretch but it was really a matter of better offense beating decent defense. The real concern for Phil Jackson’s team should be defending the three-point line better as the Mavericks went 9-20 from deep on the night.
The line is a point higher than the first game, but I still like Dallas here even if the home team is supposed to rebound in this spot. The Mavericks have a big edge in bench production and I think it serves to keep them in the game during the stretches where the reserves see extended action. I look for a shooters duel down the stretch between Kobe and Dirk once more. I’m taking the Mavericks plus the seven
Dallas Mavericks +7 Los Angeles Lakers