Opening Day Rapid Reaction: Los Angeles Lakers vs. The Dallas Mavericks

Whoa, stop the presses!

The Lakers just lost! On their road to 82-0 the new look Los Angeles Lakers just lost to the Dallas Mavericks without Dirk Nowitzki! This can’t be real!

Well, it happened. The Lakers lost to the Dallas Mavericks today, 99-92. While this isn’t terribly shocking, it was a pretty unexpected loss. The Lakers didn’t get what they expected out of the Princeton offense today.

Now let me warn you, if you expect me to laud Dallas tremendously in this post you should just stop reading. But not really–make sure you finish this. I’m probably going to focus on the Lakers losing more than Dallas winning.

So with that being said, we’ll start of with my notes on the Mavericks.

For those of you who thought that O.J Mayo was going to have a great game shooting tonight, you were wrong. After starting off 3-5 for eight points–including two threes–Mayo finished the game 4-13 and 12 points. Early, he showed some playmaking capability but that faded away as the game went on.

The true key for the Mavericks winning tonight was small guard tandem of Darren Collison and Roddy Beaubois. They combined for 28 points and nine assists on 60% shooting. They dominated the game all night and kept the Mavericks in the lead.

Brandan Wright contributed also going 5-5 from the floor and scoring 14 points tonight.

Moving on to the Lakers, this team is enigmatic to me and its just their first game.

Of course, I’m not writing them off and saying that they can’t win a championship. That would obviously be foolish of me to do. What I am saying is that they need to reassess where they are on both ends of the floor. Especially the defensive end.

The Lakers have a three time DPOY in their hands, yet they didn’t protect the rim and they couldn’t stop a fly. It goes to show that Dwight Howard can’t always save you when your rotations are beyond lazy and lackluster.

You have to give full effort as a unit defensively. Especially in the West where you’ve got guys like Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook salivating at the thought of they can do to this team.

There were too many blown assignments and failed transitions defensively and that’s why the Lakers lost. They were able to score the ball, but stopping the opponent was what hurt them in the end.

Now, moving onto the other side of the ball. Obviously the Lakers were efficient. They shot 49.4% from the field and even Kobe Bryant only took 14 shots. He made 11 of them, by the way. And scored 22 points doing that.

This shows that they were incredibly balanced tonight, but at the same time that balance hampers what the Lakers should be.

This is a team much better suited for a pick and roll offense. The Princeton offense really only caters to Pau Gasol’s abilities. Steve Nash is kind of removed from this offense at times and Kobe Bryant is relegated to only mid range jump shots.

Howard and Gasol’s high-lows are very beautiful and wildly efficient. In fact, that’s probably the Lakers’ best option at this point. But the thing is Nash still has to be involved in the game. In his role, he went 3-9 and only scored seven points. That’s not the Steve Nash we know.

It’s going to be interesting to watch this team down the road, obviously. We’ll see what they look like once they turn things around–which they will. Lets not overreact to one game guys.

Happy opening day.

 

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