On a night where the Los Angeles Lakers needed to assert their dominance over the Dallas Mavericks, a funny thing happened during the progression of Game 2 of the Western Conference semi-finals series. It all started off well as the team went into Andrew Bynum every chance it got during the beginning stages of the game. Every loose ball and rebound came up in the hands of Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Derek Fisher as Kobe Bryant directed the triangle offense with precision. At the first time out it was 12-8 then, it all changed from that point forward.
Dirk Nowitzki started to make shot after shot, Shawn Marion started to slash to the basket for teardrop jumpers and lay-ups that kept the Lakers’ defense off balance the rest of the night, and the bench outshined Los Angeles’ bench (30-12) once again with J.J. Barea leading the way with 12 points this time. Meanwhile, it seemed that his counter-part, Steve Blake, had trouble with just handling the ball as he committed a couple of turnovers and missed every shot he attempted.
As a result of last night’s meltdown/beatdown, the Lakers find themselves in the rare and precarious situation of being down 2-0 in a series that is heading to Dallas. To make matters bleaker, both losses have come on their home court when they had the advantage, which hasn’t happened much in the history of the franchise. As a matter of fact, the last time it happened was during the 1976-77 Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trailblazers, which ended in a sweep.
Although the series isn’t officially over until a team wins four games, the Lakers must win three of the next five games in Dallas to advance, which isn’t impossible, but it won’t be easy either. With all the talk going around that the Mavericks haven’t been able to finish teams off in recent years, they are poised to make a huge statement to their naysayers and doubters. According to Ron Artest’s late-game actions and Andrew Bynum’s post-game interview, the Lakers already got the message that there might be a bigger and better team in the west.