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2011 NBA Playoffs: Lakers Fall Against Mavs, 98-92, Down In The Series 3-0

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - If the Los Angeles Lakers are to capture their third straight championship, they'll have to do something never before accomplished in NBA history -- rally from a 3-0 series deficit in the playoffs.

Dirk Nowitzki scored a game-high 32 points and put in the go-ahead basket with 83 seconds remaining, leading the way in a 98-92 Game 3 victory that has the Dallas Mavericks on the brink of the Western Conference finals.

Jason Terry scored 23 points, including four clutch free throws in the closing seconds for Dallas, which trailed by eight points early in the fourth quarter but ended the game on a 17-5 run to inch closer to advancing.

"We hung in there and kept battling," Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said. "Dirk Nowitzki made it happen. Just about everything that happened down the stretch was a direct result of him either scoring the ball or making a play."

Andrew Bynum led the Lakers with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Kobe Bryant totaled 17 points and six assists for the two-time defending champions.

LA will try to avoid a sweep at American Airlines Center on Sunday, and head coach Phil Jackson will certainly need to address the team's fourth quarter woes in order to pull off a historic turnaround.

In losing the first two games at home, the Lakers scored a combined 35 points in the final stanza, and on Friday they made 36 percent from the field over the final 12 minutes after hitting 52 percent over the first three quarters.

"They were better finishing the games out than we were, so that's a big disappointment to us. But we still believe we're going to win the next game, and we'll go from there," Jackson said.

A basket by Shannon Brown 2 1/2 minutes into the fourth had the visitors on top, 79-71, before another collapse inexplicably began.

The Lakers failed to extend the lead on their next three possessions, and the Mavs -- sparked by Peja Stojakovic's 11 fourth-quarter points -- chipped away at the deficit, eventually pulling ahead, 88-87, on two Nowitzki free throws with 2:40 showing.

Lamar Odom, plugged into the starting lineup due to the suspension of Ron Artest, got a turnaround to fall a minute later to tie things, 91-91.

Nowitzki then took his defender off the dribble and got a left-handed runner to fall with 1:23 on the clock.

Odom tried a short jumper on the left block the next time down and was short, and the Mavericks extended their next touch when Terry saved Stojakovic's missed leaner from going out of bounds.

With the shot clock winding down, Derek Fisher fouled Terry away from the basket, and the super sub made both free throws with 18.7 seconds left.

The Lakers called timeout and inbounded the ball on their offensive end, but Fisher's pass fell off the hands of Odom and out of bounds. Terry sank two more freebies with 16.6 ticks remaining, and the Mavericks held on from there, much to the delight of the record crowd of 21,156.

"We're not good enough to coast or relax or anything," Nowitzki said. "We've got to go for it on Sunday with the same hype from the crowd."

Both teams shot over 52 percent in a back-and-forth first quarter, which ended with the Mavs holding a slim 29-27 lead.

Offense was tougher to come by in the second stanza, and the Lakers ended the half on a 13-3 run over the final 4:03. Brown's free throw with under a second to play provided LA with a 51-47 edge.

The Lakers never trailed in the third, holding Dallas to five field goals in the frame. Despite the defensive presence, their largest lead was seven, 58-51, coming on a Fisher three-pointer less than four minutes in.

The Mavs promptly called a timeout and scored eight of the next 10 points to stay close, and were within 72-66 heading to the final stanza.

Game Notes

Dallas outscored the Lakers at the free throw line, 24-11, and shot 12-of-29 from three-point range compared to LA's 3-for-13 showing from long range...Odom ended with 18 points in a game-high 42-plus minutes...Pau Gasol chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds for the Lakers... Artest was suspended by the NBA for his closeline of Mavs guard J.J. Barea late in Wednesday's loss...Stojakovic chipped in 15 points for Dallas, which got 11 points and nine assists from Kidd...The teams have met three times previously in the playoffs with the Lakers taking all three sets.