for this game

Dallas leaves LA with a 2-0 lead

May 5, 2011 - 6:32 AM Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - The Mavericks came to Staples Center this week having never beaten the Lakers in a road playoff game. Now they'll head back to Dallas with a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points, as the Mavericks upended the Lakers, 93-81, putting a damper on a possible three-peat for Kobe Bryant and Co.

Coming off a 96-94 comeback win on Monday, the Mavs pulled another surprise on the Lakers Wednesday. J.J. Barea came off the bench to score eight of his 12 points in the final quarter. Shawn Marion contributed 14 points and nine rebounds in the win.

"If you told me before we were going to win both games, it would have been hard to believe. But I believe we earned it," Nowitzki said.

This is the first time the Lakers have lost the first two games of a playoff series at home since 1977 when Portland beat them in the Western Conference finals. The Blazers won the title that year.

Bryant scored 23, but the Lakers missed their first 15 three-point tries and ended 2-of-20 from beyond the arc. Andrew Bynum tallied 18 points and 13 rebounds, while Pau Gasol totaled 13 and 10 boards.

"I saw guys tired out there, but I don't think it's contagious from two years ago, last year or three years ago being in the Finals," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "Energize-wise it looked like Dallas had more energy on the floor than we did, and that's concerning."

A frustrated Ron Artest, who had 11 points, was ejected in the game's final minute after clothes-lining Barea with a hit to the head. A suspension could be coming from the league.

Game 3 of the best-of-seven set is Friday in Dallas.

Both teams shot horrendously in the third quarter, each under 32 percent, but the Mavericks were able to maintain the lead throughout the stanza after holding a two-point edge at the half.

"In the third quarter we had a lot of good looks, just couldn't make a lot of shots," Nowitzki said. "Defensively we battled, tried to make it tough on Kobe tried to keep a tight paint."

DeShawn Stevenson banked in a three from the top of the arc for a 56-50 lead less than two minutes in. LA closed within one later, but a steal from Jason Kidd led to Marion's layup for a 68-60 cushion in the final minute, as the crowd at Staples Center got restless.

Bynum's bucket then provided the final points of the quarter, but the Lakers had no answer for a penetrating Barea in the fourth. The 6-foot point guard drove into the lane before dishing to Brendan Haywood on the left baseline for a dunk, moving the lead to 79-69 midway through the quarter. That was in the middle of a back-breaking 9-0 run for the Mavs.

"His penetration is a big part of our game," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "We're playing a lot of this right now without making play calls because these guys are so good at locking into stuff. Right now our guys are trusting each other, trusting the pass. They're using the space on the floor and we've been able to set good screens."

An offensive rebound by Haywood led to a three-pointer from Kidd from the left wing. Barea then slipped by Lamar Odom for a layup for a shocking 84-69 lead with 4:39 left. The double-digit margin was in place the rest of the way.

"They're executing extremely well and we're not making the right reads defensively," Bryant admitted. "We're making some huge mistakes on the defensive side of the floor, giving them wide open looks. We're not locking in on their rhythm on the offensive end."

Stevenson's three-pointer ignited an 8-1 Dallas push in the opening quarter, giving the visitors a 17-14 edge. The Mavs finished the period with a 26-20 lead thanks in part to a 4-of-7 effort from beyond the arc.

Barea's layup pushed Dallas' advantage to 37-30 with 7:19 left in the half, but the Lakers stormed back with the next 10 points, capped by Bynum's layup. It was a back-and-forth battle the rest of the half, but Nowitzki's turn- around jumper in the closing seconds provided Dallas with a 51-49 halftime edge.

Game Notes

This is the first time the Lakers have fallen behind 2-0 in a playoff series since their 2008 Finals loss to the Celtics...The Lakers went 11-of-20 from the foul line...The Mavericks are now 8-12 all-time against the Lakers in the playoffs (6-2 at home and 2-10 on the road)...When losing Games 1 and 2 of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are 2-16 all-time (2-15 Los Angeles, 0-1 Minneapolis)...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.