Ding Dong, Mavericks will Soon make L.A. Lakers Dead

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Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks are proving they are no fluke in the Western Conference semifinals, taking a commanding 3-0 lead over the former two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.

“Beat L.A.” was the chant Friday night that energized the Mavericks to a 98-92 decision in Game 3 on their hardwood at the sold out American Airlines Center. Nowitzki capped off the night with 32 points and nine rebounds. Jason Terry and Peja Stojakovic added a total of 38 points.

“Dirk’s level of play this series is great,” Lakers head coach Phil Jackson said. “They finished a little better than we did and they deserved to win.”

Jackson has never been down 3-0 in a series during his 20-year stint as an NBA head coach. The Mavericks may be in the driver seat leading the series, but if they want to dethrone the champs, it’s still going to take all the fuel in the tank to reach a successful goal.

“We’re playing against the best and if you want to beat the best, you have to bring the best,” Nowitzki said. “They have a lot of pride in their locker room and they’re not going to give it to us. I feel we’re not good enough to relax so you don’t ever want to give a champion life.”

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said Nowitzki has been great this postseason and is one of the best to have ever played in this league staying focused.

“Dirk is one of the all-time greats and there’s no question about it,” Carlisle explained. “Not just (Jason) Jet (Terry) and Dirk, but everyone is focused.”

Nowitzki scored a game-high 24 points along with seven rebounds in 38 minutes in Game 2 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Wednesday night. The Mavericks’ all-time leading scorer has been tough to guard with his ability to deliver big shots late in games.

“We don’t worry about it too much, but he’s going to make shots,” 4-time All Star MVP Kobe Bryant said. “We have to stay home, get to the shooters and close out.”

Nowitzki has scored 22,792 during the course of his career and ranks fourth among active players in career scoring. The 13th-year pro is one of only two active players in the NBA who leads his team in career games. He is also the third-longest tenured player with his original team.

As many fans showed their loyalty rocking the “royal blue out” t-shirts, the Mavericks had plenty support and will need that hype Sunday for an opportunity to sweep the Lakers.

“The fans pushed us forward and the crowd has been great,” Nowitzki said.

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