When you’re new star addition starts the season by missing on a two-handed jam, its not a good sign. The newly loaded Los Angeles Lakers joined five other teams in tipping off the NBA season Tuesday night, but the comparatively-less-heralded Dallas Mavericks came away with a 99-91 win.
With a starting five of household names and NBA legends — Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace — people expected to see something special from the Lakers. Instead Darren Collison (17 points), Brandan Wright (14 points), and O.J. Mayo (12 points) teamed up to put the super team in its place. More impressive, they did it without star Dirk Nowitzki.
Gasol led the Lakers with 23 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Bryant scored 22 points, despite playing on a hurt foot. Howard did record a double-double before fouling out with 19 points and 10 rebounds, but the Mavs were able to control his performance with the age old Hack-a-
Shaq-Dwight approach. Howard was 3 for 14 from the line.
Shawn Marion added 11 points with nine rebounds for the Mavs and Elton Brand scored eight points with 11 rebounds. Former All-Star Vince Carter scored 11 points with four rebounds off the bench.
”It’s a great win,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle told the Associated Press. ”If you execute in this league and have talent, you have a chance to win, and we did that. The Lakers are going to be fine. They’ve got a lot of new guys and a new system, but we were opportunistic tonight and got the job done.”