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News » Zone was key to defusing Lakers rally Fourth-quarter defense capped off spirited effort for first win

Zone was key to defusing Lakers rally Fourth-quarter defense capped off spirited effort for first win

Zone was key to defusing Lakers rally Fourth-quarter defense capped off spirited effort for first win LOS ANGELES - The Mavericks found the zone in their self-reviving win Friday over the Los Angeles Lakers.

OK, maybe not The Zone, but certainly a zone - as in zone defense.

When Kobe Bryant looked like he was going to take over the fourth quarter and make the Mavericks sweat after owning a 22-point lead, coach Rick Carlisle went to the zone with remarkable success.

Not bad considering it's the first time they've used it this season, spanning seven exhibitions and the opener.

"This is going to be the key to our success, if we're persistent, particularly at the defensive end," Carlisle said. "And our guys did a nice job playing the zone in the second half. We'd worked on it but hadn't used it.

"Give them [ Mavericks ] a lot of credit because that slowed them [Lakers] down a little after Kobe drew three fouls on us in about 12 seconds to start the fourth."

With the passion the Mavericks showed against the Lakers, it may not have mattered what defense they played. They were a better team than the NBA champions, for a night anyway.

Maybe they gave everyone a glimpse of how good they can be this season. At the very least, it's something to stash into the portfolio as Exhibit A for how they have to play to win important games.

On the same court where they muffed a 30-point lead in 2002, the largest blown lead in franchise history, they were 22 up late in the third quarter Friday. Bryant helped the Lakers slice it to 12. But that was as close as the Lakers got.

"We wanted to prove to ourselves that we could play better than that," said Jason Terry, whose 3-point shooting in the third quarter helped open the big lead.

The Mavericks clearly had a bruised ego from the opener, when they lost by 11 at home. They played like a different team against the Lakers.

"This is the team we're supposed to be," said Jason Kidd. "That one the other day was the different one. You hate to say it after one game, but this was something that was almost a must-win. Hard to say Game 2 is a must-win, but character-wise, we needed it."

Added Carlisle: "We always take it personally when we get our [tail] kicked. And that's unfortunately been part of our personality the last year and a half, and it's something we're trying to correct."

Gooden sits: Because of a muscle strain near his right rib cage, Drew Gooden sat out Saturday's game.

He said he's planning on getting an MRI when the team gets back to Dallas on Sunday.

Gooden got hurt early in the fourth quarter Friday night when Lakers forward Josh Powell and he were battling for position.

Humphries comes up big: Backup center-forward Kris Humphries had eight points and seven rebounds in a very effective stretch of play.

He said the lessons of the 102-91 loss to Washington in the opener, while painful, may have a long-term medicinal value for the Mavericks .

"A lot of teams get disappointed at home and then, well, it's LA, it's OK if we lose," Humphries said. "Just play hard. But no, we were trying to come in and win.

"You never want to say that it's good to get a loss. But sometimes a loss can open your eyes."

Mavericks SCHEDULE


Day Date Opponent TV Time

Tue 3 Utah FSSW 7:30

Wed 4 at New Orleans FSSW/ESPN 8:30

Sat 7 Toronto Ch. 21 7:30

Tue 10 Houston Ch. 21 7:30

Wed 11 at San Antonio Ch. 21 7:30

Fri 13 at Minnesota FSSW 7:00

Sun 15 at Detroit FSSW 5:00

Mon 16 at Milwaukee FSSW/NBA 7:00

Wed 18 San Antonio Ch. 21/ESPN 8:30

Fri 20 Sacramento FSSW 7:30

Tue 24 Golden State FSSW 7:30

Wed 25 at Houston Ch. 21 7:30

Fri 27 at Indiana FSSW 7:00

Sat 28 at Cleveland Ch. 21 6:30

Mon 30 Philadelphia FSSW 7:30


Day Date Opponent TV Time

Wed 2 at New Jersey FSSW 6:30

Fri 4 at Memphis FSSW 7:00

Sat 5 Atlanta FSSW 8:00

Tue 8 Phoenix Ch. 21 7:30

Fri 11 at Miami FSSW 6:30

Sat 12 Charlotte FSSW 7:30

Mon 14 New Orleans Ch. 21/NBA 7:30

Wed 16 at Oklahoma City FSSW/ESPN 7:00

Fri 18 Houston Ch. 21 7:30

Sun 20 Cleveland Ch. 21/NBA 6:30

Tue 22 Portland Ch. 21 7:30

Sat 26 Memphis FSSW 2:00

Sun 27 at Denver FSSW 7:00

Thu 31 at Houston Ch. 21 6:00


Day Date Opponent TV Time

Sat 2 at Sacramento FSSW 9:00

Sun 3 at LA Lakers Ch. 21 8:30

Tue 5 Detroit FSSW 7:30

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Added: November 3, 2009


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