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Lakers are slipping up in second half

They have lost focus and frittered away double-digit leads for three games in a row, the latest a 109-100 loss to Dallas.

January 20, 2011|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki drives past Pau Gasol, who dominated with 17 points in the first half but had only six in the second half as the Lakers fell to the Mavericks, 109-100, on Wednesday.
Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki drives past Pau Gasol, who dominated with… (Matthew Emmons / US Presswire )

Reporting from Dallas — It's getting redundant, for sure, a pattern repeated the last three games.

Lakers lead by a comfortable double-digit margin. Lakers seemingly stop caring. Lakers suddenly in trouble.

It's a way of life in the NBA to occasionally lose large leads in a sport where runs materialize out of nowhere and teams can go on 6-0 spurts in just two possessions.

But the Lakers aren't happy with what they've done this week.

They led by 12 in the third quarter last Sunday against the Clippers and lost, 99-92. They were up 15 in the third quarter Monday against Oklahoma City but had it trimmed to three before winning, 101-94.

Then came Wednesday, a 10-point second-quarter lead dissipating amid a hail of three-point shots and poor defense in a 109-100 loss to Dallas.

"We have to be consistent and communicating out there to one another so we can be more of a solid team," forward Pau Gasol said. "We've got to be more consistent throughout 48 minutes. Otherwise, there's too many ups and downs for us."

Gasol's shot count was indicative of what went wrong. He had 17 points in a dominant first half but only six points the rest of the way.

Lamar Odom had nine second-half shots, more than doubling Gasol's attempts, and Luke Walton had three second-half shots, one fewer than Gasol after halftime.

The Lakers were also sluggish defensively, and blamed that for their lost lead Wednesday.

"We took a step back tonight," Kobe Bryant said. "They started making shots and took over the game."

Bryant was worried ahead of time that the Mavericks would want to win to "kick-start" themselves after sustaining a rare six-game losing streak.

He was right to be concerned.

Gasol was too, after the game.

"The beginning of third quarters are important for either team to be able to set the tone for the last 24 minutes," he said. "No matter what happened in the first half, we've got to come out hard and come out firing."

They didn't and they lost, both a comfortable lead and a game.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/mike_bresnahan

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