Lakers’ reserves struggling against the Mavericks
The nightmare just won’t end for Steve Blake.
But he’s not the lone Lakers reserve who is battling demons in the Western Conference semifinals.
As a group, all the Lakers’ substitutes suffered in Game 2, failing to deliver like their counterparts from the Mavericks successfully did so in helping Dallas pull out a 93-81 victory over the Lakers on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
The Lakers’ bench scored 12 points.
The Mavericks’ bench scored 30 points.
The Lakers’ bench was six-for-23 shooting from the field, zero of nine from three-point range.
As for Blake, he missed all five of his shots, all three-pointers, and was scoreless.
He had two turnovers, looking tentative when he handled the basketball.
Blake stood before the media and offered his remedy to get himself going for Game 3 on Friday night in Dallas.
“Forget about tonight,” Blake said. “Pretty much that’s all I’ve got to do and get back to playing the way I know that I can. I just got to go in [Thursday], work hard and get ready to go.”
That can be said for the entire Lakers team.
The Lakers became the 19th team to lose the first two games at home in a best-of-seven series.
Three teams have come back from that deficit to win a series: the 1969 Lakers, 1994 Houston Rockets and 2005 Dallas Mavericks.
“We’re fine. We’re fine,” Blake repeated. “We’re just going to move to the next game. We’re going to win the next one.”
It will take a better effort than the Lakers gave in Game 2.
They never seemed able to slow down Dallas reserve point guard Jose Barea, who had 12 points on four-for-nine shooting.
He also had four assists, constantly getting into the teeth of the Lakers’ defense.
“I came out with a lot of energy that I knew we needed and we were up,” Barea said. “I think a little spark by me worked out in the win.”
So did the play of backup center Brendan Haywood, who had eight rebounds, five points and three blocked shots.
Meanwhile, the Lakers’ bench struggled.
Versatile forward Lamar Odom, the NBA’s sixth man of the year, had onlysix points on three-for-12 shooting.
“We’ve got to get the ball to our strengths,” Odom said. “We have to move it and understand where the mismatches are at.”
Backup guard Shannon Brown had six points on three-for-four shooting, but he also had two turnovers.
Reserve forward Matt Barnes missed both of his shots.
“Our bench does not play the same as other benches,” Brown said. “They’ve got guys coming off the bench playing 35, 40 minutes. So you really can’t compare the benches. But at the same time, we do have to hold up our end of the bargain.”
For Blake, it has been a tough postseason.
He hasn’t made a shot in their series, missing his only field-goal attempt in Game 1.
He has made only four field goals in seven playoffs games, all of them three-pointers.
“Speaking about myself, I’m just extremely frustrated,” Blake said. “I hate to let my teammates down and I did that tonight. So I’ve just got to move forward.”
There were times in the game when it looked as if Blake wanted to disappear.
He missed three-pointers in succession late in the third quarter.
One of them was after Odom got an offensive rebound and kicked the ball out to him and then the second after Andrew Bynum got an offensive rebound off Blake’s first miss and kicked the ball out to him again.
The crowd booed Blake’s second miss.
Then Blake turned the ball over later in the quarter.
Blake took the first shot of the fourth quarter, another three-pointer that he missed so badly that it was an airball. And he had another turnover in the fourth.
It was that kind of night for him.
“Dallas played really well,” Blake said. “We were doodling. We just didn’t play that great, especially myself.”
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