The Lakers have a seemingly impossible task ahead of them, after losing the first two games at home against the Mavericks. There were many reasons the Lakers lost Game 2, 93-81 to Dallas, not the least of which was Dirk Nowitzki being a matchup nightmare, again, and leading all scorers with 24 points. Here are a few takeaways from Game 2 at Staples Center:
Bench Play: The Mavericks bench didn't play as well as Game 1 (40 points on 55.2% shooting), but they did contribute 30 points, albeit on 11-of-35 shooting (31.4%). J.J. Barea dominated in the second half, leading the Dallas reserves with 12 points, and also had four assists. The Dallas bench ran circles around the Lakers' bench, which contributed just 12 points on 6-of-23 shooting from the field.
Advantage Inside: The Lakers have to be somewhat pleased with a pair of double-doubles from Andrew Bynum (18 points, 13 rebounds) and Pau Gasol (13 points, 10 boards), but the duo did only combine for 23 field goal attempts. This may sound like a broken record, but the Lakers need to pound the ball inside against Dallas. Then again...
Three-Point Shooting: The Lakers were abysmal shooting from the outside in Game 2, making just 2-for-20 from beyond the arc. The two shots they made from distance came late in the fourth quarter after the game was pretty much decided.
Free Throw Shooting: Every time the Lakers made a run, they were seemingly stopped by a missed free throw or two. The Lakers made just 11 of 20 shots from the charity stripe in Game 2. Even Shannon Brown, who made 85.7% of his free throws in the regular season, missed his two freebies.
The bottom line is, the Lakers have a tall task ahead of them if they are to win this series. Although not technically, Friday night in Dallas is an absolute must win game for the Lakers. They will have to not only play better to beat the Mavs, but also perform under hostile conditions on Dallas's home floor. Game 3 is Friday night at America Airlines Center at 6:30 p.m. PDT.
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