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Lakers retire Shaq’s number then retire Mavs playoff hopes with win

Apr 3, 2013, 2:44 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers' Bryant celebrates after his teammate Howard scored during their NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Los Angeles Reuters

LOS ANGELES — Lakers fans celebrated Shaquille O’Neal getting his number retired Tuesday night.

They did so by dancing about on the fresh grave of the Mavericks playoff chances. And while they did that, they could celebrate that the Lakers still have playoff life.

From the opening tip the Lakers pounded the Mavericks on the glass — 19 offensive rebounds — and got a triple-double from an active and energetic Kobe Bryant to beat Dallas 101-81. The win ties the Lakers with the Jazz at 39-36 on the season for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West (Utah has the tie breaker winning the season series). That race is on.

Dallas is now 2.5 games back of them with 7 games to play and both Utah and the Lakers have the tiebreaker on Dallas. While it’s not mathematically impossible that is going to be too big a mountain to climb and the Mavs know it. The Mavericks playoff streak ends at 12. You could sense it in a Dallas locker room that felt like a morgue after the game.

“It’s disappointing,” Elton Brand said. “This is one we really thought we were supposed to get, we had a chance. So losing this one really dampens the spirits (in the locker room).”

“We have some inexperienced guys that haven’t been (in an important playoff-like game) so this is a valuable learning experience for them, but it has a price,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said.

Carlisle tried to counter the Lakers size by starting Chris Kaman, who played solidly, but the Lakers length still controlled the game. Los Angeles grabbed 39.6 percent of their own missed shots with the offensive board.

But the bigger issue was the Lakers length really bothered Mavericks shooters — particularly Dirk Nowitzki, who had to deal with Pau Gasol much of the night. In his previous three games Nowitzki had shot 63 percent but the Lakers held him to 4-of-15 shooting and often took the ball out of his hands.

“They had long bodies on him, they were physical with him,” Carlisle said. “When we got him touches a lot of times he was forced to pass. Unfortunately, we were unable to hit a lot of the shot where he kicked out.”

Meanwhile Kobe Bryant was dishing and the Lakers were hitting, particularly late in the second quarter when they started to pull away. Kobe had a triple double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

When the Mavs doubled Kobe or Dwight Howard, the other guys made them pay (usually). Earl Clark was back from his slump and had 17 points (and played some good defense on Nowitzki as well). Steve Blake, starting for the injured Steve Nash (who will return Friday) had 11 points.

Kobe played heavy minutes — more than 47 — but never showed it, throwing down some big dunks — the kind he used to have when he played with Shaq — and being more active on defense than we have seen in recent games. It mattered.

“I feel sore right now,” Bryant said after the game, his feet and ankles soaking in ice. “My back is a little sore and my hamstrings are a little sore. I just have to get ready for next week.

“I just have to push through a little bit right now. Hopefully we can get a game and a little breathing room.”

Don’t bet on it. The Jazz have won five in a row and have and easier schedule the rest of the way than the Lakers. Every game is still must win for Los Angeles.

Starting with a tough one Friday night against Memphis. A team that can match that Lakers length that overwhelmed Dallas in the paint.

  1. beerndrums - Apr 3, 2013 at 5:49 AM

    The Lakers suck

    • fanofevilempire - Apr 3, 2013 at 6:48 AM

      they sucked 16 times before and got the big gold trophy, you BIG ugly sucker!

      good game for purple and gold, Kobe as the point guard had a good all around
      game and they played nice team ball.

      • eerock41 - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:09 PM

        Lakers would not be in the playoff hunt if not for the ref’s. Any NBA fan can see the games are rigged bt the ref’s to make sure the Lakers make the playoff’s.

      • LilTmac2003 - Apr 3, 2013 at 6:08 PM

        I’m not a Lakers hater, I really am not. In terms of careers, I’d take Kobe over LeBron with ease. I’m a huge Phil Jackson fan too.

        But the refs to cater to Lakers a bit too much. That’s from an NBA viewpoint. Even check out this video — watching it is so irritating b/c refs cater to Miami’s needs as well.

        Just watch the video. Lakers fan, Lakers hater, NBA fan, or David Stern hater, watch the 4 minute video and tell me what you think.

    • loungefly74 - Apr 3, 2013 at 7:33 AM

      thanks for the insightful feedback (rolls eyes…)

  2. eboneseagles - Apr 3, 2013 at 6:28 AM

    So funny, this team was apparently so title ready! #1 in the power rankings to start the season, now they battle to secure a first round exit.

  3. paulhargis53 - Apr 3, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    The Celtics hav 17 trophies, what’s your point? You don’t hear any of us bragging about that this year. You know why?
    Because the Celtics are a 7 seed and past trophies have nothing to do with THIS season.

    Its funny you idiots can’t admit that this season is a FAILURE, whether they squeak into the playoffs or not.
    Nope, not you dopes, let us dust off our trophies when our team isn’t contending.

    Sad and pathetic fanbase, of course, everybody knew that anyway.

    On a positive note, I see that I chased lakerslurper away again…YOU’RE WELCOME.

    • omniusprime - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:02 AM

      Yeah Pauline you chased away someone with your moronic drivel, must have bored lakerluvr with your ignorant banter. I take it the 53 after your name must be your IQ multiplied by 53. Just another Clueless Celtic fan who can’t get over how much his franchise sucks now.

      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:07 AM

        ….IQ multiplied by 53 made me laugh!

    • musician0785 - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:53 PM

      the celtics have 17 trophies, you know why we never hear any bragging? Because more than half of them came before 1980…..lmaooo 1 trophy in 20 years is not something worth bragging about

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Apr 3, 2013 at 8:28 PM

      Yeah sure. That’s because your only claim to relevance is that sole measly ring in 2008 after 22 years of mediocrity.

      That’s because most of your trophies where given at a time when the number of teams involved are equal to two NBA Divisions of today.

      That’s because a huge chunk of them (11?) came from an era when there wasn’t much equal opportunity for everyone regardless of race to play in the league. Guys like Russell and Chamberlain were exceptions to the rule. And even they admitted that they had to deal with issues and people who don’t approve of them playing in the league. Part of Red Auerbach’s greatness come from his magnanimity over non-caucasian players to play in the league and continue to stay there and back them up.

      How many potential Jordans, Magic, Kobes, LeBrons, and Durants do you think were not able to play in that era simply because there were no favorable opportunities for them to play?

      Given that, identify one modern/contemporary NBA team whose composition is very much like that of your Celtics team back in the late 50’s to the 60’s.

      Thanks to people like MLK, Jr. we don’t have to worry about that anymore, right?

      Still playing Don Quixote?

      You know what’s so pathetic about you?

      You think that you’re some kind of hero doing us a favor when in fact, many of the guys here that are even non-Laker fans think that you’re some nutcase doing some pitiful nutjob.

  4. florida727 - Apr 3, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    Hey Mark Cuban, maybe you guys needed Brittany Griner (different story) :)

    Do please waste a draft pick on her, Mark. You’ll be the laughing stock of the league. She’d get her @$$ kicked by every player in the NBA, including those on the far end of the bench. Anything to sell out a couple preseason games though, huh Mark? What an idiot.

  5. omniusprime - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    Nice to see the Lakers pour it on down the stretch to leave the Dallas trash in the dust. So good to see how the Mavs have fallen on such hard times. Now the Lakers have to take care of business every game so they beat the Jazz for the final spot in the Big Bad West. An 8 spot is always harder to earn in the Wild West than in the Eastern Cream Puff Conference where sub .500 garbage gets into the playoffs every year. Miami is just Snow White leading the 7 disabled dwarves, they have no competition.

    It would be fun to see the Lakers match up against the Spurs in the first round, a team they can beat. Pau Gasol looked good last night and he’ll be instrumental in getting the Lakers to the second round. Nice to hear Chris Webber last night smartly say that the Lakers are better off with Pau than without him. He’s much smarter than the moron sports pundits on the internet who are so clueless whining stupidly for the Lakers to trade Gasol, huh Kurt?

    Thanks Shaq!!! Thanks Dr. Buss!!! Fire Dumbtoni!!! We Want Phil!!!

    • eerock41 - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      It will be nice when Howard leaves the Lakers for the Mav’s.

  6. youngmouth83 - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    THIS season has not been a good I cab admit that but why the lakers upstage boston is cause one is L.A big stars be money where dreams come true and two when boston won them rings it was only 8 teams in the league .

  7. paulhargis53 - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    You call my banter lame, yet you use the turning my name into a girls name and the old standby is joke? Uff…

    Go back to what you know, that dazzling fire dumbtoni, trade trash Nash garbage.

    Hey, at least I got you to quit your repetitive nonsense.

    Jerry Buss probably croaked so he didn’t have to read your garbage anymore.

    Uh oh, now watch all of you swarm on me like I said that about a family member.

    Celtics made it to the ECF last year. They aren’t 1-8 in the last 2 season ending series they have played the last 2 years…

    Don’t worry, you won’t need to worry about playoffs this year.

    Retire Kobe!!! We want a 1st round draft pick!!! RIP lakerluver!!!!

  8. yuwannano - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    Let the Lakers take the 8th spot. So they can get swept by the Spurs in the 1st round

    • aboogy123456 - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:47 AM

      At least the lakers will try hard and have a chance against the spurs. last time the spurs and Jazz played in a series, the spurs were only up 2-0 and then Al Jefferson said “nobody is going to beat that team”.

  9. aboogy123456 - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    I think what’s very exciting about the last couple of games is that Pau has been playing fantastic! It looks like they are finally finding a way to utilize him, and you can see that when he is in the game and involved, the lakers are a much better team, both on offense and on defense. When they are healthy, that’s one awesome trio of players, kobe, pau, dwight.

    • rjlink1 - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      Yes, the offense becomes lethal when Kobe is doubled up top and he finds Pau at the top of the key. From there Pau just slices up any defense.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      Pau looking like Nash last night with some of those passes. He has incredible touch for a big man.

  10. mazblast - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Given how much David Stern loves the big-market teams and loathes the small-market ones (except to serve as the Washington Generals for the “big” boys), I’m eagerly awaiting those two or three weird calls by the refs that will send the Lakers to the playoffs and send Utah home. It doesn’t have to be as heavy-handed as the Patrick Ewing fix or the Kings-Lakers travesties, but I fear it will happen.

  11. brugis23 - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    I’m a big Jazz fan and to prove it, there’s also the fact that I hate the lakers. Big time! My night is only complete when the Lakers lose, it doesn’t matter if the jazz won, and it starts with their not so loyal fans, when we call them fakers, is not because of the players or the organization, is the FANS!
    Also, wtf! Stop that madness about 16 here and 16 there! Money bought you championships! That’s it! And it’s also the past! Get over it Fakers!

    • aboogy123456 - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:57 PM

      I respect your loyalty to your team but I just wanted to say that I think Jazz fans are the trashiest fans in the league after the way they booed fisher when he came back to play against them. The worst was there were some stupid people with signs about his daughter and some were even covering one of their eyes to make fun of her. I’ve hated the jazz for kicking the lakers butt in the stockton and malone years, but I think laker fans are generally classier and don’t cross that line of sports.

  12. jtfawver - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    There is not a top 5 team in the West that the Lakers can win a series against.

    The Lakers beat a below 500 team and they are title contenders again?

    Their perimeter defense is still terrible.

    Good grief.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:35 AM

      No one said they’re title contenders. Only that they’re a threat to make the playoffs. Which is a fact, they are either tied for the 8th spot or only a half game out, I’m not sure which. They hold the tiebreaker on Dallas now too.

  13. paulhargis53 - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    musician: That’s what you’re coming back with? 1 in 20 Years?

    Ok, either they count or they don’t.17>16.
    The lakers haven’t won one in going on 3.
    2010 is just as irrelvant to 2013 as 1964,is.
    So which is it? Old trophies do not matter, or they do. You sure like to wave 16 around.11 of those predating Kobe.

    of those 11, 5 were won in Minneapolis….in the 50s!

    How about you just sthu?

    • chicago240 - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:44 PM

      How about a weighted average on how much each championship counts. So the 11 the Celtics won before the Vietnam War concluded and no current NBA players were even alive counts less than, say, those post-2000 championships when there were more than a handful of teams in the league, more playoff rounds, and longer (thank you) shorts. On second thought, we can take the Celtics out of the equation altogether because they had nothing to do with the above article in the first place.

  14. losanginsight - Apr 3, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    The Lakers seed doesn’t matter. They will be ready for any team. Shaq is MDE and Kobe messed around and got a triple double. Good night in LA

  15. zickhead - Apr 3, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    The season seems rigged again, flashback to the 2002 Kings vs Lakers playoffs where refs are trying to help lakers again.

  16. madddness - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Lakers can pull it off !

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