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Rapid Reaction: Mavs 96, Lakers 94

How it happened: The supposedly soft Mavericks wiped the blood off their lip and rallied from a 16-point deficit to steal Game 1.

The Mavs did it with defense. They held the Lakers to one bucket in the final 3½ minutes, finishing the game with a 9-2 run.

Jason Kidd locked down Kobe Bryant, who had a game-high 36 points, for the final few minutes. Bryant missed two of three shots -- including a 3-point attempt at the buzzer that bounced off the back rim -- and committed one turnover during that span.

Dallas held LA to 16 points on 7-of-22 shooting in the fourth quarter. Dirk Nowitzki had 11 of the Mavs’ 25 points in the final frame, the fourth time this postseason he’s had a double-digit fourth quarter.

Nowitzki (28 points, 14 rebounds) had a dominant performance to lead five Mavs in double figures.

What it means: This is going to be a heck of a series. The Mavs avoided a major problem, if history is any indication. Phil Jackson’s teams are 48-0 in series in which they win the first game. They are .500 when they lose the opener.

Play of the game: Kidd, who accepted the challenge of defending Bryant down the stretch, came up with one of the biggest steals of his surefire Hall of Fame career. With the Mavs up one, Kidd picked off a Pau Gasol pass intended for Bryant with 3.1 seconds remaining.

Stat of the night: The Mavs went on a 17-4 third-quarter run in the first five minutes with Corey Brewer on the floor, slashing the Lakers’ 16-point lead to three. Brewer played only four minutes in the entire first round.