After 10 losses in as many road games against the Lakers in the playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks took care of business Monday winning Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals at the Staples Center, 96-94.
The Lakers had a chance to pick their match-up against Dirk Nowitzki nursing a one-point lead with 20 seconds remaining, and elected to go with Pau Gasol. Prior to the play, Nowitzki was 5-for-5 against Gasol, 5-for-11 against Lamar Odom and 1-for-6 against all other Lakers. Gasol fouled Nowitzki on the inbounds, sending him to the line and giving the Mavs a lead they would not relinquish.
Nowitzki finished with a team-high 28 points and 14 rebounds. It was his eighth straight playoff game with 20+ points and the seventh time in his last eight games with 25+ points.
Kobe Bryant scored 36 points in the loss; he now has at least 30 points in Game 1 of five consecutive playoff series. That’s the longest such streak in franchise history. George Mikan (1949-1950), Elgin Baylor (1961-1962) and Shaquille O’Neal (2000) scored 30 or more points in Game 1 in each of four consecutive playoff series for the Lakers.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Bryant is the first player to score at least 30 points in five consecutive Game Ones since Michael Jordan did that in seven straight playoff series, spanning the 1997-98 playoffs.
The Lakers are 0-2 in Game Ones this postseason. The Elias Sports Bureau also tells us it's the first time the Lakers have lost Game 1 in back-to-back series of the same postseason since May 1998, and the first time since 1972 that they have lost Game 1 of consecutive playoff series in the same postseason at home.