Bruin Authors a Storybook Ending — Matt Barnes closes the book on the Mavericks, with his last-minute Offensive Rebound, leading to his two clutch Free Throws, which are all she wrote in the epic 96-91 victory in Dallas, a novel Laker Road win
Despite an off-shooting night by Kobe Bryant, the Lakers found themselves in a rare position on Wednesday night: Up by 7 with less than a minute to go, ON THE ROAD, against the World Champion Dallas Mavericks. Maverick fans were leaving the arena in droves while Mark Cuban whined from his seat, but the Mavs didn’t give up. When Bruin Matt Barnes grabbed a Defensive Rebound, they fouled him immediately, and Barnes missed two straight Free Throws. Then they fouled Kobe, and HE missed both of the Free Throws. Dallas continued to chip away, cutting the Laker lead to just 2 points. Then they fouled Pau Gasol, who missed both of his Free Throws, making it an unbelievable total of SIX STRAIGHT BLOWN Laker Free Throws. All Dallas had to do was grab the Rebound, and they would have had plenty of time to tie or win the game with the last shot.
But the Mavericks never got that chance, because Barnes deftly grabbed the decisive carom in traffic, and held on to get fouled. He then proceeded to reverse the trend of Laker Charity Stripe bricks, swishing both Free Throws to put the game on ice, and to send all the faith-less Dallas fans who had left early and then rushed back into the arena, back on their way to the parking lot, feeling doubly foolish.
The Lakers have been enduring internal strife this week, as Kobe lashed out at management for unloyally dangling Gasol as trade bait. He wants them to either make a trade, or give Gasol assurance that he is staying. Unfortunately, the business doesn’t always work that way, and the Lakers’ front office can’t rule out a trade for Dwight Howard, just to bolster team morale. After all these years, Kobe should know that. But the bottom line is that despite all these distractions and adversity, the Lakers still went into Dallas and beat the Mavericks in hostile territory. That means that the Lakers are not dead yet for 2012, and could easily get on a run that could propel them to another Championship… especially if they rely on Bruin Barnes in crunch time instead of Metta World Peace.