A funny thing happened on the way back to Showtime.
After winning 10 of 12, the Lakers must have thought that Wednesday night’s lesson was how to come from behind because they slept late into their game with what little remains of the Dallas Mavericks.
The Lakers didn’t like what they found upon awakening, either.
Here’s how it went:
With three seconds left, Terry Teagle hit a five-foot jump shot to put the Lakers ahead, 89-87.
With no time left in regulation, Dallas’ Rodney McCray drilled a 19-footer, tying the game.
The staggered Lakers then turned the ball over on their first three possessions in overtime, were outscored, 23-8 in the extra period and lost, 112-97, before 16,086 in the Forum.
The Dallas total in overtime missed the NBA record by one point.
Just for perspective, the Mavericks had lost 10 of 12 without injured star Roy Tarpley. Of their two previous victories without Tarpley, another was over the Lakers, who blew a 14-point lead in Dallas.
“We just didn’t give them the respect they deserve,” Laker Coach Mike Dunleavy said. “We didn’t come out with the right frame of mind. We let them get the jump on us. We expended so much energy catching up.
“Emotionally that (McCray’s basket) was a shot to the stomach, and we didn’t respond. But that game never should have gotten that far.”
The Lakers trailed, 46-43, at the half, then saw the Mavericks start the third quarter with a 7-0 run. Now the Lakers had a real deficit to play with.
They chased Dallas through the rest of the third and fourth quarters. With 1:06 left, Magic Johnson got the Lakers their first tie in the half with a left-handed layup.
With 16 seconds left, Johnson batted the ball away from Dallas’ Rolando Blackman.
With three seconds left, Teagle, shooting two for 12 at that point, scored on a short jump shot after driving into the lane.
The coaches started jockeying. After three consecutive timeouts, Dallas inbounded the ball and Johnson took a foul that the Lakers had to give. Now Dallas had only 2.1 seconds to work with.
This time, the ball went to McCray. A.C. Green had a hand in his face, but McCray’s shot from the top of the circle dropped cleanly.
Followed shortly thereafter by the Lakers.
“I was probably the third, fourth or fifth guy they would expect to get the ball,” McCray said. “But I ended up with a good shot. I had a lot of time to get it off.”
For the Mavericks, this season has been another game, another injury and, until Wednesday, another loss.
Or as Blackman put it: “The pillars of the house are coming down and I’m just trying not to get hit by any bricks.”
Another brick teetered before the Wednesday’s game when they learned that Herb Williams’ bursitis in one heel might sideline him, too. Williams, however, played.
Whether the Mavericks raised their level, or the Lakers lowered theirs, the two levels met in the first half.
Alex English needed 22 points to become the eighth NBA player to score 25,000. At his average (7.5), that would have been four games’ worth. He finished with 18.