Mavs-Lakers Game 2 Preview From the Puerto Rican Point Guard and the Old Coach

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

I asked Mavericks backup point guard J.J. Barea what he was thinking as the ball left Kobe Bryant's hand on the potential game-winning 3-pointer in Monday's Game 1 at Staples Center.

"I wasn't thinking," Barea said. "I was praying."

Despite playing 44 minutes of superb basketball -- the four minutes of what-the-what going into and coming out of halftime notwithstanding -- the Mavs needed some luck to beat L.A. A couple of calls here and a wide-open Kobe miss there and a sigh of relief turned into a shocking 1-0 lead.

It'll take more than pleading for divine intervention to win tonight's Game 2.

By admitting that he's "highly concerned" about playing a Mavs team that "can beat us," Bryant has put his team on alert. There's not exactly panic amongst a group that's won the last two NBA titles and that, remember, also trailed the Hornets 1-0 in the first round. But at the very least a Dallas that L.A. might have been dismissing before the series certainly has the Lakers' attention.

Barea says the key for Dallas tonight is to remain competitive on the boards, push the pace so L.A.'s half-court defense can't dig in, and exploit its advantage via a superior bench.

"Our bench is better," said Barea, who hit a crucial 3-pointer late in the third quarter of Game 1 to keep the Mavs within striking distance, and then made a lefty layup to pull them within one down the stretch. "We think we can win this series based on what we give our team down the bench. We didn't play a perfect game (Monday). We can play a lot better."

Just like that, the Mavs have won as many road playoff games (2) in the last five days as they did in the previous five years. The Game 1 blueprint, however, will be difficult to duplicate.

Right, Bob Ortegel?

The Mavs shot 49 percent, made nine 3-pointers and were only minus-4 in rebounding in Game 1. And on defense -- let's face it -- the Lakers made themselves easy to guard.

While Kobe was going off for 36 points, the other four Lakers were basically standing in place, spectating.

"Oh, in Game 2 I expect you'll see a heavy dose of the triangle offense," said Ortegel, who these days is just a really savvy fan after his 23-year run as the Mavs' TV analyst abruptly and unceremoniously ended in February. "Kobe getting 36 isn't a problem for Dallas when no one else is getting 20. It's when the Lakers are moving and cutting and spreading the ball that they're so tough. They got away from that in the second half, in the fourth quarter especially. I'm sure Phil Jackson will remind them of that."

While the Lakers return to their offensive roots and ratchet up the defensive intensity, the Mavs can play better by getting out in transition and by injecting more Corey Brewer and less DeShawn Stevenson.

The Lakers will be a desperate defending champ tonight. Will the Mavs remain hungry, or simply play like a team satisfied with a split?

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.