Lakers, Bryant in unfamiliar territory

Since Kobe Bryant became a regular starter for the Los Angeles Lakers in 1998–99, the Lakers have fallen behind 2–0 in five previous playoff series. The Lakers were 4–1 in the pivotal "must-win" third games of those series with Bryant leading with way with 32.4 points per game.

Friday it was a different story as the Lakers fell to the Dallas Mavericks marking the first time the Lakers have trailed 3-0 in a best-of-7 series under Phil Jackson.

Dirk Nowitzki finished with 32 points on 12-for-19 shooting from the floor as he notched his 10th straight playoff game with 20-plus points. Nowitzki feasted on Pau Gasol offensively as 27 of his 32 points came while being guarded by Gasol. This continued a series-long theme as Nowitzki is now 16-of-19 from the floor for 40 points against Gasol in the series.

The Mavericks bench once again outscored the Lakers bench, this time 42-15, led by Jason Terry (23) and Peja Stojakovic (15). Stojakovic contributed 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.

Lakers in 4th Quarter This Series

Speaking of the fourth quarter, the Mavericks outscored the Lakers 20-7 in the final five minutes of the game. For the series, the Lakers have now been outscored by a combined 27 points in the fourth quarter.

As mentioned above Bryant has averaged over 32 points per game in Game 3 when trailing 2-0. Friday he had just 17 points, which is tied for his second-lowest output this postseason. Andrew Bynum was the lone bright spot as he led the Lakers with 21 points and 10 rebounds, but finished with just three points in the fourth quarter.

Phil Jackson and the Lakers not only find themselves in a huge hole, but also in very unfamiliar territory. The Elias Sports Bureau tells us that this is the first time in 65 playoff series as a head coach that Jackson has lost the first three games of a postseason series. Game 4 is Sunday in Dallas and the Lakers will try to avoid becoming the sixth defending champion in NBA history to get swept in a best-of-7 series (2007 Miami Heat, 1996 Houston Rockets, 1991 Detroit Pistons, 1983 & 1989 Lakers).

And in case you were wondering, none of the 98 NBA teams to trail a series 3-0 have come back to win.