Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lakers hold on for win

The rally shook the foundation of the American Airlines Center. The call sucked all the life out of the building, not to mention it infuriated the Mavericks sideline.

One call does not a game make, so pinning the 102-100 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers on a whistle against Jerry Stackhouse with less than 30 seconds left wasn’t fair. The Mavs know they dug themselves into a hole that they almost had no right climbing out of Tuesday night.

So when Dirk Nowitzki’s fumbling desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer, off a low inbounds pass from Josh Howard, failed to draw iron, the Mavs had no one to blame but themselves. And that’s exactly what they did.

“We made a run at it, even though it’s somewhat Fool’s Gold,” Stackhouse said. “We didn’t start the game off in the first half as we have in this last little stretch where we were playing – moving the ball, sharing the ball. This game was a game of individual matchups and that’s not how we’ve been playing, and it caught up with us.”

The Pacific Division-leading Lakers (46-21) rebounded from a tough loss at Houston by taking control of the pivotal contest between Western Conference contenders in the first half. Kobe Bryant led the way early and Los Angeles built as much as a 25-point lead in the third quarter.

The Mavs (44-24) were fresh off a five-game winning streak against low-rent teams from the Eastern Conference. Nevertheless, they felt good about their progress heading into a stretch of three straight home games against bona-fide heavyweights.

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