Mavs spoil opener for new-look Lakers
Los Angeles, CA – The Los Angeles Lakers stole all of the offseason headlines with the additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.
It was the Mavericks' offseason acquisitions, though, who helped Dallas steal the season opener.
Darren Collison tallied 17 points, Elton Brand had eight points and 11 rebounds and O.J. Mayo added 12 points in the Dirk Nowitzki-less Mavs' 99-91 win over the new-look Lakers.
"We kept the tempo going, if you execute and have talent, you're going to win," Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle said.
Howard, who was traded for in August as part of a four-team swap, had 19 points and 10 rebounds, but fouled out and was an abysmal 3-of-14 from the foul line in his Lakers debut.
Los Angeles finished 12-of-31 from the charity stripe as a team.
Howard balked last season at almost everything regarding his status with the Orlando Magic, but relented when it came time to go to Los Angeles. The price for Howard was Andrew Bynum, who was sent to the Philadelphia 76ers as part of the blockbuster.
A month prior, Nash was acquired from the Phoenix Suns for first round-picks in 2013 and 2015 and second-round picks in 2013 and 2014.
He finished with seven points and four assists.
"As you know, we have a lot of expectations this season," Kobe Bryant said. "We're trying to live up to the expectations. We're trying to bring another championship back to where it belongs, back to Los Angeles."
Collison was brought in from the Indiana Pacers as part of a July trade to take over the point guard duties from the departed Jason Kidd. The Mavericks submitted the winning bid for Brand, who was let go by the 76ers during the offseason via the one-time amnesty provision, and Mayo signed as a free agent after spending his first four seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies.
All these moves were made during the twilight of Nowitzki's career. The future Hall-of-Famer is 34 and will be out of action for almost the first month of the season following knee surgery.
Another future Hall-of-Famer, Bryant, played after being sidelined during Los Angeles' final two preseason games with a strained right foot. Bryant netted 22 points, while Pau Gasol added 23 points and 13 boards for the Lakers, who went 0-8 during exhibition play.
The Mavs led by just two at the break, 48-46, following Collison's jumper with 1.4 seconds left in the half, but began to pull away during the latter stages of the third.
After Bryant's short jumper pulled the Lakers within 64-61, an 8-1 Mavs swing, capped by a Vince Carter right wing jumper, gave the 2010 NBA Champions a 10- point margin.
Dallas took a 74-66 margin into the fourth and the advantage reached its apex midway through the final frame.
A 14-5 surge gave Dallas an 88-73 cushion, and Brandan Wright's three-point play a bit later made it 93-77 with 5 1/2 minutes to play.
"It was very satisfying to be up by 16 against that team," Brand said. "The coaching staff did a good job of putting a game plan together."
Los Angeles didn't get the margin into single digits until Gasol nailed a 3- pointer with 2.2 remaining, which capped the scoring.
Howard led the Lakers with seven first-quarter points and Los Angeles took a 29-25 edge into the second.
Bryant averaged 27.9 points last year and finished one-tenth of a point behind scoring leader Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder ... The Lakers were beaten in five games in the second round of last year's playoffs by the Thunder, the eventual Western Conference champions that swept Dallas in the first round.