Skip to content

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Wizards “increasingly optimistic” they can retain Paul Pierce

    Jun 30, 2015, 9:01 PM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards-Game Six Getty Images

    The Clippers want him, but they have other, larger concerns.

  2. Reports: Warriors, Hornets both interested in Marco Belinelli

    Jun 30, 2015, 8:16 PM EDT

    belinelli AP

    It’s a deep pool of shooters in free agency.

  3. LeBron James wants Mike Dunleavy on Cavaliers, more likely gets Mo Williams

    Jun 30, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT

    Charlotte Hornets v Indiana Pacers Getty Images

    Mo Williams can still score, he’d be a good pickup for the Cavs.

  4. Report: Greg Monroe to meet with Knicks, Lakers, Bucks, Blazers to start free agency

    Jun 30, 2015, 6:03 PM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Detroit Pistons Getty Images

    Monroe finally has the free agency he turned down a lot of cash to get.

  5. Report: Jimmy Butler postpones meetings with other teams after max qualifying offer from Bulls

    Jun 30, 2015, 4:44 PM EDT

    Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers

    There is a clear compromise of three years at the max, but will the Bulls and Butler get there

  6. PBT Podcast: The top guys to watch as NBA free agency tips off

    Jun 30, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT

    Lamarcus Aldridge Wesley Matthews Getty Images

    Big men like LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan will shape the free agency landscape.

  7. Scottie Pippen: “I was LeBron James before LeBron James”

    Jun 30, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT

    Chicago Fire - Season 3 Getty Images

    Sorry Scottie, LeBron is just the better player.

  8. Report: DeAndre Jordan ’50-50′ in choosing between Mavericks and Clippers

    Jun 30, 2015, 3:03 PM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Five Getty Images

    He’s reportedly seeking a shorter deal, too, which negates L.A.’s inherent advantage.

  9. Report: Lakers among four teams interested in Iman Shumpert

    Jun 30, 2015, 2:20 PM EDT

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    Shumpert is a restricted free agent, so Cavaliers can match any offer he might receive.

  10. Luke Ridnour traded for the fourth time this summer

    Jun 30, 2015, 11:17 AM EDT

    Orlando Magic v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

    And he could be traded again before his contract becomes guaranteed on July 11.

  11. Report: Hawks ‘in the mix’ for Monta Ellis

    Jun 30, 2015, 9:55 AM EDT

    Monta Ellis AP

    Hawks are facing a lot of uncertainty with their roster.

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Wade (4261)
  2. L. Aldridge (4172)
  3. J. Embiid (3829)
  4. L. James (3672)
  5. D. Cousins (3496)
  1. K. Love (3356)
  2. K. Bryant (3061)
  3. K. Durant (2523)
  4. T. Harris (2486)
  5. N. Batum (2480)