for this game

Mavs erase 16-point deficit to top Lakers

May 3, 2011 - 6:42 AM Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Dirk Nowitzki made two big free throws with 19.5 seconds remaining, as the Dallas Mavericks erased a 16-point deficit to beat the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, 96-94, in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series.

Nowitzki ended with 28 points and 14 rebounds for the third-seeded Mavericks, who needed six games to beat Portland in the first round. Jason Terry added 15 points off the bench.

"We stick together and find a way," Terry said. "This wasn't our best game but we're not going to quit."

Kobe Bryant finished with 36 points and five rebounds for the second-seeded Lakers, who defeated the Hornets in six games to advance.

Pau Gasol donated 15 points and 11 boards, while Lamar Odom tallied 15 and 12 in defeat.

The teams finished with identical 57-25 records during the regular season, but the Lakers won the season series, 2-1, to earn home-court advantage in the first playoff meeting between the teams since 1988.

The Mavericks came into Monday's game with an 0-10 mark on the road against the Lakers in the playoffs.

Game 2 of the set will be Wednesday in LA.

The Mavericks started the fourth quarter on an 8-2 spurt to get within one. Nowitzki bookended the flurry with a jumper and three-pointer to cut the gap to 80-79.

But the Lakers continued to play front-runner, and Bryant's 17-foot jumper with 3 1/2 minutes to play made it a 92-87 contest.

Tyson Chandler made it a three-point game at the other end with an alley-oop jam.

A series of missed shots ended with Chandler blocking Gasol's shot. Shawn Marion capitalized with a short jumper to get Dallas within one, 92-91, with 1:20 remaining.

After Bryant made a 10-foot jumper, Nowitzki made a fadeaway while on one foot to make it a 94-93 game with 40 seconds to play.

Bryant then made a costly mistake while driving to the basket. Great defense by the Mavericks forced Bryant to kick the ball out, and Terry was there for the steal.

Terry was fouled with 20.3 ticks left on the clock. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Gasol fouled Nowitzki to send him to the line. He made both shots to give Dallas a 95-94 edge with 19.5 seconds to go.

Another big turnover hurt the Lakers on their ensuing trip down the floor. Gasol was doubled beyond the three-point arc and tried to hand the ball off to Bryant. The two Laker players collided and Jason Kidd picked up the loose ball.

Kidd was immediately fouled and made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to give the Mavs a 96-94 margin with 3.1 seconds to play.

Bryant had a good look at a three-pointer, but his shot was off the mark at the buzzer.

"We felt like we gave the game away," Lakers head coach Phil Jackson said. "I'm not so sure Dallas didn't outplay us, but the players felt like we gave it away...The game was won in the third quarter when we got the lead and stopped playing defense and stopped playing offense. It took a lot of energy out of us and gave a lot of energy to them."

Neither team led by more than six early on, and Dallas held a 42-39 edge with 2 1/2 minutes left in the first half.

But the rest of the half was one to forget for Dallas. Lamar Odom's layup sparked a 14-2 Los Angeles run. Derek Fisher followed with a three-point play to put the Lakers in front.

Things got a bit crazy after Nowitzki made a short jumper with three seconds remaining. Odom was fouled by Terry while attempting a half-court shot. After Odom all three foul shots, Nowitzki and Ron Artest battled for position. Nowitzki swung his elbow around and hit the back of Artest's head, resulting in a technical foul. Bryant made the foul shot to give the Lakers a 53-44 lead at the break.

Los Angeles started the second half on a 7-0 burst. Artest's layup, Gasol's slam and a Bryant three-pointer gave the Lakers a 60-44 margin.

But Dallas responded with a 17-4 run to make it a game again. Corey Brewer capped the burst with a three-pointer from the corner to get the Mavs within three, 64-61, with under 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the third.

Holding a 71-68 edge with 1 1/2 minutes to go, the Lakers went on a 7-3 flurry. Gasol made four free throws around Jose Barea's three-pointer to give LA a 78-71 margin heading to the fourth.

Game Notes

Dallas and LA have met three times previously in the playoffs with the Lakers taking all three sets, a 4-1 series win back in 1983-84 West semifinals, a 4-2 triumph in the '85-86 West semis, and a seven-game triumph in the '87-88 West finals...Kidd had seven points and 11 assists...Dallas went 9-of-20 from beyond the arc.