Lakers fall to Mavericks, 99-91, in season opener

Mavericks 99 - Lakers 91 (final)

Antawn Jamison starts the fourth with a three-point play, quickly closing the gap to five.  Then the Lakers follow with a defensive breakdown that yields a Shawn Marion dunk, along with an unnecessary foul to erase Jamison’s contribution.

Hill’s energy gets the Lakers another second-opportunity but he again misses a pair of free throws.

The Lakers have 16 missed free throws in total on 27 attempts in a game they’re down 10.  The Mavericks have hit six of eight from the stripe. That’s the difference in the game thus far.

With 8:50 left, the Lakers don’t have a lot of time left to make up a 13-point deficit. Another 2 1/2 minutes expire and the Dallas’ lead remains the same.

Howard fouls out with 2:02 left in the game as the Lakers head for their first loss of the season.

As comfortable as the Lakers looked in the first quarter, they don’t have many counters to put in once a team adjusts.  The offense is all about “read and react”, but the Lakers are “think and react”, which doesn’t cut it in the NBA.

The Mavericks are a talented team, even without Dirk Nowitzki. Tonight they took it to the Lakers who are still quite unsure of themselves offensively.

Free throws really were the difference, but the Mavericks out-worked the Lakers after the first quarter.

Gasol finished with a game-high 23, Bryant with 22 and Howard with 19.  The Mavericks had six in double figures.

LA ended the game with a higher shooting percentage at 49.4% and just two fewer field goals but 38.7% from the free throw line.

The Lakers struggled with some of the athleticism and ball-pressure from Dallas.

The new offense worked exceptionally well for a quarter. That’s the goal for the Lakers, but they’re not going to live in that moment consistently for some time this season.


Mavericks 74 - Lakers 66 (end of third quarter)

The Mavericks start strong. The Lakers spent most of the preseason working on offense, which is still a work in progress, and not nearly as much on defense.

It’s showing in the third as Dallas climbed to a 56-49 lead with about nine minutes left in the third.

Bryant takes his first true jump shot of the game, hitting a long two.

Howard clocks Elton Brand with a flagrant foul on a breakaway, the Lakers still struggling to take hold of the Mavericks. Dallas extends its lead to 72-62.

The insertion of Jordan Hill to the lineup with Gasol gives the Lakers a boost, but defense remains a concern and the Lakers struggle to capitalize on numerous opportunities.

After their hot first quarter, the Lakers are now shooting 49.1% from the field.  Dallas has actually climbed slightly ahead at 50%.

Gasol and Bryant are tied for a game-high 18 points. Collison has 16 for the Mavericks.


Mavericks 48 - Lakers 46 (halftime)

Tracking the team’s rotation late in the first: Steve Blake subbed for Steve Nash, Jodie Meeks for Kobe Bryant, Antawn Jamison for Metta World Peace and Jordan Hill for Dwight Howard.

To start the second, Howard replaced Gasol. Coach Mike Brown noted during the preseason that he intended to keep either big man on the floor at all times (when necessary).

The goal for the Lakers’ bench, which is marginal at best, is to sustain whatever cushion the starters might give them. They’d certainly like to give the Lakers a boost, but the talent drop off is understandably substantial.

The Mavericks, on a run, go up 37-35. After a timeout, all five Lakers starters are back on the floor.

The Lakers are having a bit of trouble sticking to rookie Jae Crowder, who scored eight points in the period.

Jamison relieves Howard with a couple of minutes left in the half as the Lakers go smaller to better match up against the Mavericks’ Elton Brand and Shawn Marion in the frontcourt.

The Lakers dip a bit to 55.9% for the game and only scored 17 points in the second. Gasol ended the half with 12 and Bryant with 10.  The Mavericks head to the locker room led by Darren Collison’s 10 points.


Lakers 29, Mavericks 25 (end of first quarter)

The Lakers kicked off the regular season with their long-standing tradition of having Jeffrey Osborne sing the National Anthem at the home opener.

In Los Angeles, that’s how you know it’s time for Lakers basketball.

Prior to the game, Kobe Bryant addressed the Staples Center crowd,

“We’re trying to bring back a championship to where it belongs back here in Los Angeles,” said Bryant.

There was question as to whether Bryant would play with his sore foot, but was there truly any doubt?

The Lakers start Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard.

The Mavericks go with Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Shawn Marion, Elton Brand and Brandan Wright (not Eddy Curry as was previously expected).

Nash hit the team’s first basket of the season, a three-pointer.

The Lakers take a 15-11 lead about halfway through the quarter. Glimpses of what’s to come this season are immediately clear. The team’s starting group is extremely talented. Howard and Gasol are a lot more compatible than Andrew Bynum and Gasol were.

Howard picked up his second personal foul with 2:55 left in the first with the Lakers up by two.  The bench spells four starters, with Gasol staying on the floor. The Mavericks score first but the Lakers go on a quick run to extend the lead to six points, 29-23.

Howard led the way for the Lakers with seven points. The Lakers shot 59.1% from the field, dishing 10 assists on 13 baskets.

The Mavericks hit 45.8% from the field, with Mayo scoring a game-high eight points.


The Lakers finally get the season started Tuesday night, hosting the Dallas Mavericks.

[Updated Oct. 30 5:35: Kobe Bryant announced on his Facebook page that he is “feeling good enough to play” and will be in the Lakers’ lineup tonight.]

Earlier today, Bryant said he was “85%" sure he would play after missing more than a week with a bruised foot. Jodie Meeks was expected to be in the starting lineup had Bryant sat out tonight’s game.

The Mavericks will be without both Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman.

For a more detailed look at the game ahead, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Mavericks.


A look at the Lakers’ depth chart

Lakers: Week in review

The good, the bad and the ugly for the Lakers in exhibition games

You can email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.