The Lakers gave away another Game 1, surrendering a 16-point lead to the Dallas Mavericks tonight at Staples Center. It will sting every bit as much as their loss to the New Orleans Hornets in Game 1 in the opening round.
Dirk Nowitzki sank two free throws with 19.5 seconds remaining to complete the Mavericks comeback. Nowitzki scored 28 points for the Mavericks. Kobe Bryant had 36 points for the Lakers, but missed the game-winning 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
“We just didn’t execute well,” Bryant said.
Asked why the Lakers continue to make it tough on themselves in the playoffs, he said, “We don’t do it purposely, I assure you. It is what it is. … We blew a lot of coverage. We’ve got to shore up that part of our defense.”
Asked about giving the Mavericks a confidence boost, he said, “I think they always had hope. They’re in the second round. They’re here to play. … My concern is this team can beat us. It’s clear. We’ve got to come in and be ready to play Game 2.”
Game 2 is Wednesday at Staples Center.