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Lakers' defense is missing in 109-100 loss to the Mavericks

After building a 10-point lead, the Lakers can't make any stops and allow Dallas to get its first victory in seven games. Andrew Bynum says the Lakers were 'lazy' on defense.

January 19, 2011|By Mike Bresnahan

Reporting from Dallas — It was tough to determine the most indelible image, the most telling part of the Dallas Mavericks' dominance over the Lakers.

So many choices, so many scenes playing out in the final quarter, none of which were appealing to Lakers followers.

There was Jason "Jet" Terry spreading his arms out like wings, gliding down the court after making another three-point shot for Dallas. There was Mavericks owner Mark Cuban smiling and congratulating his starters as they checked out of the game, one by one, a conga line of jubilation with a 109-100 victory easily locked up.

Above all else, there was Kobe Bryant, the first Lakers player to leave the court, jaw locked and eyes set forward Wednesday at American Airlines Center.

Mild-scoring Jason Kidd finished with a season-high 21 points and Shawn Marion looked like he was back with the Phoenix Suns circa 2006, running the court and scoring at will.

Contributing factors to the Lakers' demise were another failure to hold a double-digit lead and a reconfigured defense that fell off the table after holding opponents under 100 in eight of nine games.

It's also worth mentioning that the Mavericks (27-14) staggered into the game, losers of six consecutive games and nine of their last 11.

The Lakers led by 10 past the midpoint of the second quarter but lost a comfortable lead for the third time in as many games as their defense dissolved.

"Just being lazy," center Andrew Bynum said. "I'm quite sure if you look at the tape, everybody's kind of stagnant, standstill. We were just playing lazy 'D.'

"What's more disappointing is we keep getting up by 10 and then we just kind of say OK, offense is going good, we don't have to play 'D.'"

Even more disappointing than that for the Lakers is a 1-5 record on the road against teams with winning records.

The Lakers (31-13) looked fine after the first quarter, holding a 31-23 lead, but then got outscored over the next two quarters, 59-42, as Sasha Pavlovic, of all people, beat the Lakers on drives to the basket and three-pointers.

Kidd entered the night averaging 7.8 points but made eight of 12 shots, including five of eight from three-point range. He was scoreless in his last game, a 103-89 loss at Detroit.

Marion had 22 points on 10-for-13 shooting, and Terry matched him with 22 off the bench.

Bryant had 21 points and 10 assists but didn't like the Lakers' defense.

"It's one of those games where it's fool's gold," he said. "We were playing well offensively and got a lead, but defensively we made a lot of mistakes."

The Lakers also suffered a mild injury, Bynum sustaining a hyperextended right elbow after it was pinned between Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki when Bynum tried to block Nowitzki's shot.

Bynum had 10 points and said he would play Friday against Denver.

Gasol, had 17 points in the first half on eight-for-12 shooting but only six points on four shots in the second half. Basically, he became a forgotten man.

"The game kind of got away from us and we also got away a little from things that were working for us in the first half," Gasol said. "We had the game where we wanted early on."

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson was less subtle.

"Just get the ball into him," he said afterward, a public message for Gasol's teammates.

Jackson also couldn't avoid tweaking Cuban, a longtime rival, pointing to seven turnovers in a third quarter in which the Lakers were outscored, 30-17.

"Two of them are what I call 'Mark Cuban three-second calls' that went against 'Drew [Bynum]," he said, suggesting the referees were heavily influenced by Cuban, who sits courtside at Mavericks home games.

Cuban, however, had the last laugh. The Lakers were losers, another fumbled opportunity at a road victory.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/mike_bresnahan

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