The Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks have been two of the NBA's most successful franchises in the last decade or so. Dallas has won 567 regular season games in the last 10 years, while the Lakers are at 521, though the Lakers do have three championships during that span to zero for the Mavericks. The point is, however, that despite both franchises being highly successful, Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki have never faced each other in the playoffs.
The last time the Lakers faced the Mavericks in the playoffs, it was 1988! Dallas was in just the eighth year of their existence, and Mark Aguirre, Rolando Blackman, and Derek Harper led the Mavs into the Western Conference finals for the first time, against the Showtime Lakers. As someone who has watched the Lakers "Back to Back" championship video dozens of times, I have a lot of memories from that series:
First-year Mavs coach John MacLeod was eager for a changing of the guard, saying "I think it's time for the Lakers and Celtics to step aside, and for Dallas and some team in the east to be in the NBA championship." The Lakers, with Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the gang, weren't so eager to give up their throne, though Dallas did put up a fight. The Lakers were taken to the full seven games in three consecutive series that postseason, including against Dallas.
That 1988 series featured the home team winning all seven games. The Lakers won their four games at The Fabulous Forum by an average of 17.25 points per game. If this year's Lakers' team can pull that off again, we are in for a heck of a series.
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