It hasn’t been a great three years for the Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, their recent storyline appears to have been contrived by the same guy who thought it was a brilliant idea to cast Ben Affleck as Batman over a rock wearing a black cape. In layman’s terms? They suck. Okay, “sucks” is a rather strong word considering that they have been playing without Pau Gasol, who has been suffering from vertigo, or Xavier Henry, who been suffering from an injured right knee and a torn ligament in his left wrist, and have been plagued with a plethora of injuries that managed to cripple their season.
But that doesn’t mean the charging Dallas Mavericks (46-31) are in any position to underestimate this Kobe-less team, especially when that specific team enjoys toying with teams on the playoff bubble—teams like the Phoenix Suns, who they beat 115-99 on March 30. Truth be told, the Mavericks need these supposed “easy” wins in order to secure their hold on seventh place in the Western Conference standings (a half-game ahead of the Phoenix Suns and the Memphis Grizzles) with only a few games left in the regular season.
Though, this 107-95 Dallas win should have been easier than it was.
The Lakers were ahead by two (56-54) going into the second half, which didn’t seem to waiver Dallas in the least, though it was clear that LA guard Jodie Meeks (who finished the game with 25 points) would be the guy the Mavs would have to keep a close eye on. Dallas rose to the challenge in the second half, however, and went on a 15-5 run at the start of the fourth quarter. Dirk Nowitzki piled on his 27 points and nine rebounds to overtake Dominique Wilkins for 11th place on the NBA career scoring list while Brandan Wright capped on 23 points off the bench. Former Dallas Mavericks point guard Steve Nash, who had missed a game with nerve root irritation in his back, returned to face his old team, but only finished with four points and seven assists. This win marked the first time in Dallas franchise history that the team has swept the Los Angeles Lakers in a season.
Dallas, a team that columnists and sports analysts have criticized for being “too old” since they’ve recently been blowing late leads and appear sluggish in the fourth, looked fresher and more confident during the last 12 minutes of the game against the lethargic Lakers. Especially 36-year-old Nowitzki, who appears hell-bent on proving that age is just a number by not slowing down. National NBA featured columnist Grant Hughes put it best when stating that the forward has converted shots from literally every spot on the floor “at an accuracy rate well above the league’s average.”
Dallas looks to take another so-called easy win from the 27-49 Sacramento Kings, who are looking to bounce back from a brutal 102-69 loss to the Golden State Warriors.