Rowdy West Coast fans. Banged-up home team playing without a couple starters but with a former MVP trying to lead his team back to the championship. A controversial call by the refs down the stretch. Wild momentum swings. A late lead ruined by an inexplicable gaffe by the visitors from Dallas. And, in the end, an excruciating loss that will take some time to get over.
Man, wasn't that Mavs game sumthin'?!
I know, I know. The Cowboys lost and Tony Romo's grown goat horns and 2007 might just grind to a halt now that football is over. More on that later right here on this very station. But Dallas' best team also lost a big game over the weekend as the Mavericks' 13-game winning streak was snapped by those pesky Lakers.
On the heels of Friday night's gutsy win at San Antonio, the Mavs took a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter last night against a Lakers team playing without injured starters Lamar Odom and Kwame Brown. But something quirky happened on the way to 14. Something named not Kobe Bryant, but, believe it, Sasha Vujacic, who drilled a killer 3-pointer in the final 30 seconds. Then the refs swallowed their whistles on Jason Terry's drive to the hoop. Then former Laker Devean George missed -- and I mean off-the-backboard-first badly missed -- a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the final horn. Then the Mavs lost for the time since December 11 and for only the second time in 33 games in which Josh Howard has scored 20 or more points.
The good news: Head coach Avery Johnson is definitely coming back next season. --Richie Whitt