The Dallas Mavericks surprised themselves in a bad way with a season-opening loss at home. Then they hit the road and stunned the defending NBA champions.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points and the Mavs were 25 of 32 from the free throw line, snapping a six-game losing streak against the Los Angeles Lakers with a 94-80 victory Friday night.
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Nowitzki made 10 of 11 from the line and grabbed 10 rebounds, Shawn Marion added 18 points and Jason Terry 16 for the Mavs, who hadn’t defeated the Lakers at Staples Center since March 11, 2007.
“We haven’t won in this building in what feels like forever,” Nowitzki said. “We took that home loss pretty hard, almost felt embarrassed we came up flat in the season opener.”
Erick Dampier had 10 rebounds and Jason Kidd had 11 assists.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 20 points. Andrew Bynum had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and reserve Shannon Brown added 12 points as the Lakers shot 39 percent from the floor.
“That was one of the longest nights we’ve had in this building,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “We should refund the money to our fans. Every time we got momentum we shot ourselves in our own foot.”
While the Mavs paraded to the line as the Lakers racked up 29 fouls, Los Angeles got there just 14 times, hitting nine shots.
The Lakers never made a run in the fourth, getting derailed by horrendous shooting and turnovers by Lamar Odom, Josh Powell and Bryant. Their lone highlight was Brown’s thundering dunk off Bryant’s jumper that bounced off the rim. It got the crowd on its feet in a collective exclamation even with the Lakers trailing by 12.
The fans were on their feet again to hit the exits with three minutes remaining and the Mavs ahead 90-73.
“I liked the way we played from start to finish,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “We had a real determined collective mindset and it showed how we played. We were very aggressive and it showed in the number of times we got to the line. This is going to be key to our success, if we’re persistent, especially at the defensive end.”
Dallas extended its lead to 73-54 in the third on a 13-2 run, with four points from Nowitzki and five by Terry. Two free throws and a driving layup by Jose Barea later gave Dallas its largest lead of 22 points. Barea finished with 12 points.
“It’s a big win character-wise because we had a flat game opening at home,” Kidd said of the Mavs’ 102-91 loss to Washington. “It helps us gain confidence on the road that we can play with the best.”
The Lakers were called for two technicals, including Ron Artest’s first of the season moments after he was whistled for his fourth foul and went to the bench. Jackson brought back Brown and Jordan Farmar, who were productive during the second quarter, but it didn’t help. The Lakers scored just 15 points in the period and trailed 78-60 going into the fourth.
“We probably wanted it a little too much and that’s what resulted in some of the turnovers, shots going in and out,” Bryant said. “You’ve got to get stops. Keep teams off the free throw line. We were just a little stagnant, but it will be better.”
The Mavericks led 52-45 at halftime, helped by 15 of 18 free-throw shooting. Jackson went deep into his bench in the second quarter, bringing in Brown, Farmar and Luke Walton for a stretch against the Mavs’ second unit.
Brown was especially effective, scoring 10 points, and Bynum added eight to draw Los Angeles into a tie at 37, with Bryant returning during that run. But the Mavs dominated the final 4 1/2 minutes, outscoring the Lakers 15-8.
Notes: Lakers F Pau Gasol missed his second game with a strained right hamstring. The team is hopeful he can return Sunday against Atlanta. … The Mavs were without F Josh Howard (left ankle surgery) and F Tim Thomas (right knee surgery).