--- HADARIL JONES, BLEACHER REPORT
(LINK TO FULL STORY) By all means, the Lakers should have one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. They have length, quickness, lateral movement, are fundamentally sound, and have good technique.This lapse in defense is not new to the Lakers, because they have been dogged by periods of inconsistency before, but the manner in which they were beaten at home is inexcusable.
The defense is usually good for a few instances of dominance in a game, but last night that attribute was noticeably missing. It was replaced by total ineptitude, by a bunch of guys masquerading around in Laker uniforms.
There was Lamar Odom, who is usually a decent defensive player, getting repeatedly beaten off the dribble, and there was Ron Artest, as dependable as they come, looking uninterested as he continuously failed to slide his feet and was reduced to reaching. And of course the entire stable of Laker guards reverted to their familiar ways of getting abused on the perimeter by any Maverick who decided to venture into the lane.
The reason that the Lakers could be so good on defense is because they excel in the help areas of the defensive scheme, but not on this night as Andrew Bynum was frequently caught out of position, and left looking dazed and confused.
--- COLIN WARD-HEMMINGER, NEWARK EXAMINER
(LINK TO FULL STORY) Thunder & Lightning. The Jordan Farmar/Shannon Brown backcourt looks great at times, but I'm still not sure if it's entirely effective. Phil Jackson played the two reserves simultaneously for much of the game, and while Brown looked fantastic (especially on a dunk in the fourth when he had his chest at rim-level), Farmar was inconsistent (especially for a stretch in the third quarter where he picked up two fouls and committed a turnover in about a minute, drawing boos from the already-surly crowd). It looks like Jackson's going to stick with the tandem with the hopes that they might help to finally stabilize the bench unit, which has been in disarray since last season.
(LINK TO FULL STORY) While the Lakers were still admiring the championship rings they received before beating the Clippers on Tuesday, the Mavericks had to hear doubts about the effectiveness of their offseason changes -- most notably the addition of Shawn Marion. Nothing wrong with Marion's game Friday, as he profited from the Dallas guards' penetration and dropped in 18 points. Meanwhile, the Mavericks' defense held the Lakers to 39.5 percent shooting. The Lakers jacked up 23 3-pointers, they forced drives into the crowded lane, Kobe Bryant had difficulty finishing and they had 19 turnovers.
--- EDDIE SEFKO, DALLAS MORNING NEWS
(LINK TO FULL STORY) The first step to beating the Lakers is getting over the fear factor.You know how it is. Like the TV show of the same name, you have to get over the phobia of eating a bug or being trapped under water.
Call it Kobe-phobia.
The Mavericks proved Friday night that, if they have any fear of the Lakers, they can overcome it. They may not always beat the Lakers. But they know now the kind of grit that's required to play with them.
--- JEFF EISENBERG, THE PRESS ENTERPRISE
(LINK TO FULL STORY) Unable to match Dallas' energy or generate any offensive rhythm, the Lakers tumbled to a humbling 94-80 loss on Friday night, snapping their six-game winning streak against the Mavericks. It was a sobering reminder that all the preseason talk about them breezing to another championship and making a run at a 70-win season might have been a little premature.
The Mavericks entered the game determined to atone for a season-opening home loss to Washington, a curious result for a team that advanced to the second round of the playoffs last year and bolstered its defense and depth by adding Shawn Marion and Drew Gordon. They led by seven at halftime, by 13 five minutes into the second half and by 22 late in the third quarter, far too big a deficit for the frigid-shooting Lakers to overcome.
--- ELLIOT TEAFORD, SAN BERNADINO SUN
(LINK TO FULL STORY) The glitz and glamour of opening night had faded into ancient history by the time the Lakers returned to the Staples Center court Friday night. There was no talk of championship rings or banners.The Lakers went back to the mundane business of trying to win basketball games when they faced the Dallas Mavericks in Game 2 of the NBA's annual 82-game regular-season slog. They learned what all defending champions learn sooner rather than later. Grinding through early-season games isn't nearly as much fun as winning championships, spraying champagne, riding in parades and partying until dawn. It's difficult work, and sometimes it's strictly a losing proposition.
The Mavericks punished the Lakers for their lackluster play, winning 94-80 and reminding them that opponents always seem to play with added emotion and efficiency when they meet the defending champs.
--- TIMBO, SILVER SCREEN AND ROLL
(LINK TO FULL STORY) On Friday night the Dallas Mavericks came to town pissed off and ready to play, having dropped their home opener to the Washington Wiz. Pau was out of action with his tender hammy, reduced to lookin' EuroSvelte™® ridin' pine in a suit. And that meant that LO would get the start and the Laker "Bench Mob" (sic.) would be thereby drained of one of exactly two backups who can play. You could see this train wreck coming from 900 miles away... CHOOOO-CHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! The Lakers came out flat and got rolled on their home floor by a decent Western Conference playoff team.They got snuffed from the get-go.
Nothing SHOCKING about it at all, really — entirely predictable.
--- KATIE SPAEDER, LAKERS NATION
(LINK TO FULL STORY) Somewhere in Los Angeles Mark Cuban is laughing and saying, “I told you so,” and for one night only, I am going to have to agree with him. The Lakers played the worst game I’ve seen them play since they walked off the court in Boston late June 2008 – I thought it was that pitiful.The Lakers went from playing lackluster in the first half to playing like a girls JV highschool basketball team the rest of the game. They came out of halftime turning the ball over, playing out of the offense, not making the proper rotations on defense and ultimately lettings the refs get them rattled. Before you knew it, the 7 point Mavericks half time lead was now 16 and they were never able to recover.
--- MIKE TRUDELL, LAKERS.COM(LINK TO FULL STORY) Only twice last season had the Lakers failed to score more than 80 points; only five times had they lost at home; and only seven times had they lost by double-digits.
Then there was Friday night.
Because when the Dallas Mavericks came into Los Angeles sporting their brand new powder blue alternate uniforms on the day before Halloween, it was almost as if they’d brought along a few bright blue smurfs to sit on the rim.
LA just couldn’t find the bottom of the net - nor keep it out of its own - in a somewhat lethargic effort, and the purple and gold fell by 14 to a swarming Blue Man Group.
The first quarter served as a harbinger for the rest of the game, as the Lakers opened by hitting only 7-of-24 shots (29.2 percent) before Jordan Farmar broke through (the smurfs) for five straight points in under a minute to salvage the quarter trailing by only three.
That was nothing compared to the third quarter, when the Lakers committed more turnovers (seven) than they made field goals (six). That resulted in 15 points, while the Mavericks went the other way in scoring 26 to open up a 22-point lead that was mercifully cut to four with a Kobe Bryant layup and Josh Powell put-back in the final minute.