A Good Look for the Mavs

By J.A. Adande

LOS ANGELES -- The Dallas Mavericks beat the Lakers in Staples Center, they shot 32 free throws to the Lakers' 14, and still Dallas owner Mark Cuban had an issue to raise with the league office afterward.

He wants to see if his team can wear the new alternate road uniforms they debuted Friday night more than the 15 maximum allowable times. The uniforms, a classy shade of blue with "Mavs" on the front, suited them well. They bounced back from their disappointing opening night loss to the Wizards, used good interior defense and a screen-and-roll that shredded the Lakers to prevail, 94-80. It was a much better fashion unveiling than the silvery, cocktail waitress-like jerseys they broke out in Los Angeles six years ago, which were such a flop they were never worn again.

The new uniforms might be the best alternates this side of the San Diego Chargers' powder blues. And speaking of football, this felt a little like an NFL game, in which the team that needed the victory more got it. While the Lakers were still admiring the championship rings they received before beating the Clippers on Tuesday, the Mavericks had to hear doubts about the effectiveness of their offseason changes -- most notably the addition of Shawn Marion. Nothing wrong with Marion's game Friday, as he profited from the Dallas guards' penetration and dropped in 18 points. Meanwhile, the Mavericks' defense held the Lakers to 39.5 percent shooting.

"I just like the way we played from start to finish," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "Our activity defensively was superior to what it was the other night at our first game. We just had a real determined collective mindset tonight and it showed in how we played overall."

The Lakers jacked up 23 3-pointers, they forced drives into the crowded lane, Kobe Bryant had difficulty finishing and they had 19 turnovers.

"We were out of whack, out of rhythm, couldn't handle the ball ..." Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We played a little scattered."

They'll have one off day to work on it before they take on the Atlanta Hawks ... in the Lakers' Sunday whites.