2011 NBA WEST SEMIS GAME 2 -- Mavs 93, Lakers 81: My Top 10 Observer-ations

10. For the Mavs, a shocking 2-0 lead. For the Lakers, a Stinko de Mayo. L.A. missed its first 15 3-pointers and was booed off the court in Staples Center. As they head for Dallas and Friday night's Game 3, the Lakers are muttering things like "dispirited" and "trust issues." Surreal.

9. History suggests it's a tad early to jostle former mayor Laura Miller out of her slumber and to dust off those old boxes of unused confetti from 2006, but nonetheless the Mavs' plane arrives from L.A. this afternoon at 3 at Love Field. The Lemmon Ave. side on Coker Street. If you go please encourage. Don't congratulate.

8. In a hideous game with a gorgeous result, we saw Dirk Nowitzki throw an assist that skimmed off the rim and Kobe Bryant flail a pass that caromed off the backboard out of bounds.

7. For the series, Kobe Bryant has taken 49 shots. All but one -- last night's blown layup -- have been jumpers. He's gotten his points, but that's called defense.

6. Didn't think J.J. Barea could morph into Chris Paul against the Lakers, but he continually got into the lane in the fourth quarter off Dallas' pet high pick-and-roll. With L.A.'s bigs concerned -- and rightly so -- with Dirk Nowitzki, they didn't hedge on Barea and the Puerto Rican point guard caused havoc with fearless, productive drives.

5. Are we upon that magical crossroads where "hope" becomes "belief"? Man, I love that junction. Could we be so fortunate, in the span of seven months, to be treated to Rangers over Yankees, America over Osama Bin Laden and Mavericks over Lakers? What's next, medicine over cancer and Cowboys over Steelers in XLVI next February?

4. Not surprised by Ron Artest's late-game clothesline of Barea. Punk move, by a noted punk. He should be suspended. Troubling, however, was Shawn Marion's lack of reaction to the thuggery. Marion was five feet from Barea when he got clubbed, but upon seeing his teammate cold-cocked he simply turned away and retrieved the wayward bouncing basketball. What the what?! I don't want Marion to retaliate to the point of starting a brawl and getting ejected, but at least get in Artest's face to have your teammate's back. Right? At the very least, make sure Barea isn't decapitated.

3. As you're well aware I'm a pretty jaded dude. Hard to get me genuinely excited at this point after covering games for 26 years. But when Dirk drilled his one-legged "and 1" over Pau Gasol -- the "Flamingo Fadeaway," I'm dubbing it from here on out -- for a 14-point lead with 2:50 left I jumped up with a fist pump. I then politely asked to be pinched.

2. In the wake of L.A.'s ugly performance, TNT's Charles Barkley continually cleared his throat, warned that the fat lady was warming up and claimed "the Lakers are done. The Mavericks got a better team." I'm not proclaiming it over. But if the Lakers don't play better...it's over. That just can't be all the two-time defending champs got, can it?

1. Lots of folks are yelling "Toldja!" toward me and my Lakers-in-five prognostication this morning. If you truly thought or predicted the Mavs would win Games 1 and 2, then take a bow. You're smarter than a stripper, a fifth-grader and Nowitzki. Admits Dirk, "If you would have told me before that we were going to win both games, it would have been hard to believe."


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