Lakers-Mavs Game 3 Spread

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Lakers-Mavs Game 3 Spread

The Lakers-Mavs Game 3 spread had Dallas as a -2.5 point favorite with a total of 186 at

If panic and desperation were like pure gold, the Los Angeles Lakers could put Fort Knox out of business. Trailing 0-2 in their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal playoff series, the Lakers are by no means showing or sounding the profile of a team that has been to the NBA Finals three straight years. Andrew Bynum said after the Game 2 loss that his team has “trust issues” that are ”deeply rooted.” In somewhat of a response to that comment, Lakers great Magic Johnson tweeted on Thursday that Bynum should've kept his mouth shut. Kobe Bryant kept his mouth open as he tried to downplay the desperation angle. “Desperate, that's a strong word," Bryant said. "I think when you play desperate you don't play your best basketball. What we need to do is relax, focus on what we're doing wrong and the mistakes that we're making." If focusing and relaxing is part of a new approach, the defending champions will have to incorporate it without forward Ron Artest for Game 3 on Friday night. Artest was suspended one game without pay for his foul on Mavericks guard Jose Juan Barea with 24.4 seconds remaining in Game 2. It was a senseless play at a meaningless point of a 93-81 defeat that could have a very meaningful impact on Game 3. When asked Wednesday night what he would do to get his team to snap out of its 0-2 funk, coach Phil Jackson jokingly suggested “flogging them.” If L.A. doesn’t pick up its performance Friday night from the very start, the Mavericks might do the flogging, and the whooping, themselves.

The Lakers have appeared to be lethargic at times and undone at others. In Game 2 they shot 41% from the floor and an atrocious 10% from beyond the arc. After Bryant, who had 23 points on 9-of-20 shooting, the guard play was highly insufficient as Derek Fisher scored just four points in 32 minutes, while backup Steve Blake went scoreless, and totaled one assist in 20 minutes of play. The Lakers bench shot 6-for-23 for the game, generating just 12 points. By comparison, Mavs reserve guard Barea nearly outscored the Lakers bench by himself. As it was, his 12 points led a Mavericks bench attack that outscored the Lake Show 30-12. Barea weaved through the Lakers defense at will to create his own offense and to find open shooters, as the Mavericks high-screen-and-rolls with Dirk Nowitzki and Barea forced the Lakers big men to venture away from the hoop and defend in space, a defensive alternative they clearly were uncomfortable doing. Still, whatever Barea was executing was Plan B. Plan A for Dallas is still about getting Nowitzki unleashed, which Dallas was able to do again, as the big forward finished with 24 points and seven boards. Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom have struggled to slow down Nowitzki. Meanwhile the big man combo of Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood has made the perceived advantage of Bynum and Gasol versus the Mavs less than daunting. While Bynum and Gasol both had double-doubles (18 points/13 boards and 13 points/10 rebounds respectively), Chandler and Haywood held their own, combining for 11 points and 15 boards.

Three times in NBA history a team has rallied back after losing the first two games on its home floor to win a best-of-seven series, so the task for the Lakers is not impossible. The bad news is that no team has ever come back to win a playoff series after trailing 3-0 in a series. “This series is far from over," Nowitzki said. "I've been up 2-0 before and ended up losing the series. We've seen a lot of things happen in this league so we've got to stay focused, stay together and let our home crowd ride us and get another great win."

History aside, if they do not start playing like a team that at least resembles world champions, this could be a very brutal Mother’s Day weekend in Big D for the Lakers. "We don't like being in this position," Fisher said. "It's not familiar, you know? But we are where we are, so we have to make sure we stay together as a group and figure this thing out. We're trying to make history here, and that's not easy. We have to be willing to be accountable, all of us.”

- Carrie Stroup, Senior Reporter

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