Sweep! Mavs Escape LA With Win Over Lakers
The Dallas Mavericks on Friday looked very much like a team well-aware of its superiority to the Lakers ... and for a time played like a club that could flip a switch when neeed.
A dangerous concept. But against a team as poor as the Lakers, an eventually effective one.
Dallas 107, Lakers 95 allows the Mavs to hang onto the No. 7 slot in the West playoff race -- important because their two hot pursuers also won.
"On a night when Phoenix goes into Portland and wins, which wasn't expected, and Memphis wins, it was a much-needed win," said Dirk Nowitzki, and who said these guys don't scoreboard-watch?
Nowitzki, who passed Dominique Wilkins for 11th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list and is now 32 points shy of 10th-place Oscar Robertson, had 27 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
"Off the charts,'' coach Rick Carlisle said of Nowitzki. "He had a strong will and everybody's getting behind him. He's been great."
Indeed, in the six games since Dirk mentor Holger Geschwindner arrived in DFW on March 5, Nowitzki is averaging 26.3 points, 9.5 rebounds while shooting 56.4 percent from the floor and 42.2 percent from the arc.
Meanwhile, he got big-time help in the pivot from Sam Dalembert and Brandan Wright, who combined for 16-of-19 shooting, 19 rebounds and 37 points.
"Wright played really well – 10-for-10 is a big night," Carlisle said, citing B-Wright's shooting numbers. "And we needed juice tonight.''
Wright scored 23 points. Dalembert made six of his nine shots and contributed a 14/14.
Dallas trailed 54-52 at intermission and 78-77 in the second half before reeling off 14 consecutive points to take charge against a Lakers team that is historically bad. Kobe has missed the season. Gasol is out. Old friend Steve Nash made a token appearance against his old mates in what might be his swan song.
But, as Nowitzki noted, winning this game is just as important as having won the previous one.
"(Thursday's 113-107) Clippers win means nothing if we lose (to the Lakers)," Nowitzki said. "A big win for us.''
The 46-31 Mavs are 15 games over .500 for the first time all year and need to win four of their final five regular-season games to record a 12th 50-win season in the last 14 campaigns. An honor to be sure -- but more important, a path to a certain playoff berth.