What could have been a memorable night for Pau Gasol turned out to be one that the Los Angeles Lakers would rather forget.
In the first half of the Lakers game against the Dallas Mavericks, Pau Gasol scored his 13,000th point. Only five other players have reached that mark sooner than Gasol.
But overall it was a disappointing start to their two-game road trip as the Mavericks prevailed, 109-100.
What makes it even more disappointing is that the Lakers once again blew leads. It is becoming an all too familiar story for the two-time NBA Champions.
The Lakers had an 11-point second quarter lead, but the Mavs cut it to four points, 56-52, by intermission.
Midway through the third quarter, the Lakers built their lead back to eight points and then collapsed. They let the sputtering Mavericks, who had lost nine of their last 11 games including six straight, get the better of them.
It was one of the Lakers worst quarters of basketball this season as the Mavericks took the quarter 30-17.
Although the Lakers outscored the Mavericks in the paint 52-38 and both teams had almost identical shooting percentages (44-80, 55 percent for the Mavericks and 44-81, 54.3 percent for the Lakers), the Lakers were out-shot once again from beyond the arc.
Last year, the Lakers had the best three-point defense in the NBA. But this year, they have been slipping up, letting shooters get wide-open looks from beyond the arc. Both Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher have been slow covering the perimeter.
Tonight Jason Kidd got loose and put in five of eight from the three-point line. Overall, Dallas hit 12-of-26 three-point shots to the Lakers 6-of-16; that was the difference in the game.
While the Lakers still have the second best record in the West behind the surging San Antonio Spurs, they only have a mediocre 6-6 record against winning teams.
Playing mostly against teams with winning percentages the rest of the season will make catching the Spurs extremely difficult. Even holding onto that second seed in the West could be problematic if the Lakers fail to improve against teams they are likely to face in the playoffs.
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