Feb 22, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) reacts to a play with forward Pau Gasol (16) in the second quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Dallas Mavericks by a final score of 96 to 91, and having watched the entire game, I have no idea how. This was a strange performance all the way around. The Lakers won despite a pretty terrible effort from Kobe Bryant, who shot 4-15 from the field and turned the ball over 7 times. They won despite turning the ball over 17 times total, giving Dallas 23 fast break points. They won despite giving up 21(!!) offensive rebounds.
The good things that happened for the Lakers were pretty unusual too. Pau Gasol was extremely aggressive with 24 points on a TEAM LEADING 18 shot attempts. Andrew Bynum chipped in with 19 points and 14 boards, and hit 7-8 free throws. The Lakers bench was only outscored by 10 (the Dallas bench averages 20 points more per game than the Lakers bench). Derek freaking Fisher trolled us all, scoring 15 points on 8 shots, including his clutch shot of the month, a big three-pointer to extend the Lakers' lead to 5 late in the game.
The end game made the whole experience even more surreal. With poor shooting and sloppy ball handling ruling the day for Kobe, you might expect him to be even more in hero mode than usual down the stretch, but it was two lob passes to his big men that put the game out of reach in the final two minutes ... or at least, it would have been out of reach if the Lakers could hit a free throw. Instead, the Lakers missed 7 out of 10 free throws in the final minute, including six straight at one point, which allowed the Mavericks to make a contest out of nothing. In fact, if not for Matt Barnes pulling in an offensive rebound off that sixth miss, we might be singing an entirely different song. But in the end, the surreality held up and the Lakers pulled off their biggest win of the season to date.