Tag:Jason Terry
Posted on: April 26, 2011 2:53 am
Edited on: April 26, 2011 3:24 am

Chandler's rebounding gives Mavs series lead

The Dallas Mavericks took a 3-2 series lead by dominating the boards in Game 5 against the Portland Trail Blazers. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy fell back to Earth after back-to-back sterling performances in Games 3 and 4, and his team didn't stand much of a chance in Game 5 against the Dallas Mavericks. While Dallas's two go-to scorers -- Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry -- combined for 45 points, Game 5's hero was Tyson Chandler.

Entering the series, Chandler and his Portland counterpart, Marcus Camby, were viewed as essentially a toss-up. Both players are long, agile defense-first centers who concentrate on rebounding and generally provide scoring only in an auxiliary role. Through four games, Chandler was averaging 4.0 points and 7.5 rebounds with Camby averaging 3.8 points and 10.3 rebounds. Pretty similar, especially considering that Chandler was limited pretty severely by foul trouble in Game 3.

But Game 5 was a totally different beast, as Chandler finished with 14 points and a season-high 20 rebounds, including a whopping 13 offensive boards. (Camby finished with four points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes.)  Aside from being an offensive threat by finishing around the rim and getting to the free throw line, Chandler's dominance of the offensive glass saved the Mavericks.

Mavs.com reported that Chandler's 13 offensive rebounds in a playoff game is the first time that mark has been reached in nearly 16 years; since Shaquille O'Neal had 14 way back in May 1995. How did he do it? He had more offensive rebounds than the entire Portland team, which is quite the accomplishment because the Blazers finished third in offensive rebound rate this season.

Chandler's big night wouldn't have been possible without some horrific outside shooting by his teammates. The Mavs shot 3-17 (17.6%!) from deep, tying a season-low for made three-pointers. In other words, there were plenty of opportunities.

Besides the prerequisites needed for a big rebounding night -- high energy level and plenty of minutes -- Chandler used his unique skillset to his full advantage. He relied on his rebounding intuition and versatility to track long rebounds off of missed jumpers, clear out to the free throw line in some cases, often batting the balls back to his teammates to extend the possession. He got physical with Portland's lithe bigs when necessary. 

Chandler also regularly fed off the home crowd while still playing within himself, careful not to ride too high on his success to the detriment of the team. The fact that he took just four shots -- missing only one -- on his way to 14 points is nearly as remarkable as his rebounding numbers. He resisted the temptation to go to far, to let his numbers go to his head, to do anything except what was needed of him on this night. 

Dallas was able to keep the turnover differential even in Game 5 -- a crucial factor in defeating the slow-down, ball-control Blazers -- and they shot 16 more free throws than Portland. Chandler's offensive rebounding helped the Mavericks win the second chance points battle 17-8. Had Chandler's teammates shot better from the field, that margin could have been much, much larger.

In the end, it didn't need to be. Chandler helped the Mavericks dictate their tempo, control the pace of the game, and force Portland to work longer and harder on defense than they are capable of. The result was a win that was even more dominant than the 11-point margin of victory suggests.
Posted on: April 20, 2011 3:07 am
Edited on: April 20, 2011 3:33 am

NBA Playoffs Blazers-Mavericks: no Portland bench

The Dallas Mavericks held serve at home, and head to Portland with a commanding 2-0 series lead over the Blazers. Posted by Ben Golliver.

We said it in the series preview, and we noted it again in Tuesday's reset : the Portland Trail Blazers are not the team many thought they were and they're not the team they were as recently as a year or two ago. They're simply not deep. That point was made abundantly clear during Portland's 101-89 Game 2 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.

Depth in the NBA can vanish in the blink of an eye, and the Blazers represent that truism to the fullest. Over the last 18 months, Portland has: watched Greg Oden, Jeff Pendergraph and Elliot Williams go down to season-ending knee injuries; traded Martell Webster for a draft pick that became unused rookie Luke Babbitt; traded Jerryd Bayless for a draft pick; traded two rotations players in Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw in a consolidation trade for Marcus Camby; and traded two rotation players in Dante Cunningham and Joel Przybilla for Gerald Wallace

Add that up: eight players that saw minutes, plus Williams, are out with just two players coming back in return. That's six lost bodies -- players whose roster spots have been filled by unused rookies (Babbitt and Armon Johnson), D-Leaguers (Earl Barron and Chris Johnson) and one free agent signing (Wesley Matthews). That qualifies as an overhaul.

Portland's management can still argue that the trades improved Portland's top-end talent. Indeed, Camby and Wallace have been mainstays down the stretch for Portland, while Matthews has been a valued addition. All three are playoff starters. But the series of moves and the injuries -- including dual knee surgeries for Brandon Roy -- have decimated Portland's depth, leaving coach Nate McMillan with just one reserve player that he can regularly turn to and expect meaningful contributions from: Nicolas Batum

During Game 2, Portland's lack of depth was so tragic that it was almost comical. Aside from Batum's 10 points in 25 minutes, Brandon Roy, Rudy Fernandez and Patty Mills combined to shoot 0-4 in 23 minutes, scoring just one combined point, grabbing four combined rebounds and dishing three combined assists. This on a night when aging Mavericks forward Peja Stojakovic outscored Portland's entire bench (including Batum) by himself and added five rebounds to boot. The falloff from starters to second unit for Portland was like a Mt. Hood cliff rather than a Pacific Ocean sand dune.

The lack of bench production -- and, frankly, energy and confidence -- led McMillan to play starters LaMarcus Aldridge (44 minutes), Marcus Camby (36 minutes), Andre Miller (39 minutes) and Wesley Matthews (36 minutes) more minutes than they played in Game 1, while the only starter who didn't take on extra burn was Gerald Wallace, who still played 38 minutes (down from 39). Before the game we wondered when in this series Portland's rotation would tighten even further than it already had. Immediately was the answer.

While the Blazers didn't look tired down the stretch, they certainly weren't the aggressors and often looked overwhelmed. With the score 90-84 with 3:57 to go in the game, Dallas began an 11-5 run. Scratch that: Dirk Nowitzki began an 11-5 run, as he scored Dallas's last 11 points after Stojakovich's outside shooting and J.J. Barea's forays into the paint destroyed Portland's defensive confidence and shape earlier in the final period. 

All Portland had to show in response to Nowitzki's barrage, which included a dagger jumper and a boatload of free throws, was a pair of Andre Miller free throws and a desperation Miller three-pointer. Aldridge, who had been beaten up all night by Dallas's interior defenders, scored his last point with 5:53 left in the game, a sure sign that Portland did not do what it needed to do from a late-game execution perspective. 

McMillan corrected his one big rotation error from Game 1 -- overplaying Roy, especially in the fourth quarter -- but the result was ultimately the same. His team was badly outplayed in the final six minutes. His starters looked overwhelmed and a half-step late on defense, and alternated between "unsure" and "forcing it" on offense. That's generally what happens when a team with eight or nine quality, productive players faces a team with six or seven.

The eternal optimists in Portland -- and there are many -- can take solace in the fact that Fernandez, Mills and Roy may get a boost from the Rose Garden crowd during Games 3 and 4. Fernandez, in particular, is notorious for playing better and more energetically at home. On the season, he averaged 10 points per game, shot 39.3% from the field and 35.1% from three-point land at home. Meanwhile, he averaged 7.2 points, shot 34.6% from the field and shot 28.9% from deep on the road. 

The pessimists, though, will say that Portland's bench simply can't play worse than it did Tuesday.

The realists will conclude that Portland's bench will likely play better -- because it can't play any worse -- but that it must play much, much better if Portland is to stand a chance at making this a true series against a deep, talented, balanced and motivated Mavericks squad. 
Posted on: April 15, 2011 3:33 pm

Blazers-Mavericks preview: Upset special?

A preview of the first round playoff series between the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers. Posted by Ben Golliver.



I. Intro: No. 6 seed Portland Trail Blazers (48-34) vs. No. 3 seed Dallas Mavericks (57-25)

The city of Portland rejoiced when the Los Angeles Lakers finally finished off the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night to claim the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed, setting up Portland, who had already clinched the No. 6 spot, for a date with the Dallas Mavericks. The consensus started building as early as March that the Blazers would prefer to play the Mavericks over any of the West’s top four. That desire is motivated in part because the Blazers lost center Greg Oden for the season -- and thus have trouble dealing with LA's length and size inside -- but also because the team has fared well against the Mavericks in the regular season and the match-ups are pretty close up and down these rosters.

With that said, the Blazers have a very good chance at pulling off an upset here, but don't rush to anoint them. Indeed, the talk from Dallas that the Mavericks are the "underdogs" is nonsense. Dallas is better on both sides of the ball, has more playoff experience, possesses homecourt advantage and its core has played together much longer than Portland's, which didn't come together until this year's trade deadline move for forward Gerald Wallace

Blazers-Mavericks should go down to the wire and compete with the Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder for best first round playoff series.   

II. What Happened: A look at the season series

The Blazers-Mavericks season series between the two teams is about as even as it gets. The teams split 2-2, with the home team winning all four games. The numbers in those games are comically close. The Blazers averaged 96.8 points while the Mavericks averaged 96.0, making for an almost invisible point differential. The Blazers averaged 37.3 rebounds while the Mavericks averaged 37 rebounds. The teams even both averaged 17 fouls per game. Really? 

There were a few differences, though. The Mavericks shot better from the field – by almost three percent – and from distance – by five percent. The Blazers closed that gap by getting to the free throw line slightly more and by grabbing more offensive rebounds. For Portland to pull the upset, that will need to continue. Dallas possesses a better overall offense (No. 8 in the league), has a higher overall rebound rate and, thanks to Jason Kidd, has the league’s highest assist rate. They’re a top-five shooting team overall and shoot better from deep than the inconsistent Blazers.

While both teams held serve at home during the regular season, it’s worth noting that the Mavericks have the league’s best road record at 28-13. The Blazers, meanwhile, were 18-23 on the road, which doesn’t bode well for a potential game seven.

III. The Easy Stuff: LaMarcus Aldridge has been huge against Dallas

Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge has made a ton of noise this season as he’s become the team’s No. 1 scoring option in the wake of Brandon Roy’s knee issues. Aldridge was the last guy cut off the Western Conference All-Star team, earned Player of the Month honors, has been floated as a Most Improved Player candidate as well as a top 10 MVP candidate and has a decent shot of making the All-NBA Third Team. He achieved cult status in Portland when he went on a ridiculous midseason tear.

Aldridge has regularly referenced a December game in Dallas as the moment a switch flipped for him, the time that he realized he needed to do more – much more – offensively if the Blazers were to make hte playoffs. Against the Mavericks this season, Aldridge has averaged 28.6 points and nine rebounds per game and he’s gotten to the line more than eight times per game. He’s succeeded, in part, because Tyson Chandler is the only Dallas big who can stick with him defensively.

Dallas will surely pay tons of attention to Aldridge, doubling him, pressuring him on the ball and forcing Portland’s shooters – streaky guys like Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and Rudy Fernandez – to make them pay for collapsing on Aldridge. Given the quality of Dallas’s offense, Portland simply won’t be able to keep pace offensively unless Aldridge posts big numbers. There's pressure on him, without a doubt, and he will need to respond.

IV. Secret of the Series: Jason Terry is the X-factor for Dallas

While no team in the NBA can feel totally confident in its ability to defend Dirk Nowitzki – a player who once again didn’t get enough run as an MVP candidate – the Blazers have multiple guys to throw at him: Aldridge, Wallace and even Batum. Mavericks guard Jason Terry, though, is a different story, as his quickness, pull-up shooting and big shot-making abilities leaves Portland looking for answers. Surprisingly, during the regular season series Terry was a virtual non-factor, averaging just 12.3 points and 1 assist against the Blazers; Only San Antonio, Chicago and Milwaukee held him to a lower point average than Portland.

Matthews and Fernandez will probably get the call on Terry and the Blazers will switch a ton late in games to keep a hand in his face. There should be a comfort factor for Dallas in knowing they split this season with their No. 2 option being off his game. If Terry shows up – or if he goes off like he’s fully capable of doing – it will be something the Blazers haven’t dealt with this season.

V. The Dinosaur Narrative: "Portland is so deep they can overwhelm you”

In previous years, NBA executives and media members around the league would marvel at the vast collection of young talent that Portland had assembled. Injuries and consolidation trades have taken a major toll, however, and the Blazers are not nearly as deep as they might look on paper. Blazers coach Nate McMillan didn’t settle on a starting lineup until late in the season – he tried Wallace at the power forward spot before sliding him in at small forward – but once he did he rode his starters hard. McMillan has really leaned on Aldridge and Wallace down the stretch – often playing them both over 40 minutes a night – and you can expect him to play veteran starting point guard Andre Miller heavy minutes as well.

Portland’s bench really only goes three deep: Batum, Fernandez and Brandon Roy. Batum has done a nice job of settling into a reserve role after ceding his starting spot to Wallace, but he can’t always be counted on to make an immediate offensive impact. Fernandez has struggled with his shot all season long but – like Batum – can change a game with his energy and defensive instincts.

Roy is the biggest question mark and could be a major player in this series. His size makes him a tough cover for Dallas’s reserve guards and he should get a fair number of minutes because he can hide on defense – where he’s a major liability due to a lack of lateral quickness – against Jason Kidd, DeShawn Stevenson or Peja Stojakovich. The problem is that he appears to no longer trust his shot, shooting just 33% in April and looking to facilitate Portland’s second-team offense rather than get his own scoring. If Roy steps up and provides a legitimate scoring punch off the bench, it will relieve pressure not only on his fellow reserves but on Portland’s starting unit as well. The bad news: he’s scored in double figures just twice in the last month. The good news: his best game of 2011 came against Dallas, when he dropped in 21.

VI. The Line-Item Veto: Who wins each match-up?

PG: Neither Andre Miller nor Jason Kidd played great in the regular season series: Miller averaged nine points and four assists while Kidd averaged five points and eight assists. But watching two of the game’s smartest, craftiest point guards in the postseason should make for an excellent chess match. Call this a push.

SG: Reports out of Dallas are that DeShawn Stevenson will start at the two and, while he brings a bigger body than Rodrigue Beaubois, he’s the definition of unpredictable. On the opposite side, Wesley Matthews took a nice leap forward in his second season, drawing MIP consideration and upping his scoring average in a big way. He plays hard and enjoys playing defense late in games, something he will be asked to do. Slight advantage: Blazers.

SF: Gerald Wallace is being highlighted and circled everywhere as a potential X-factor for the Blazers, and rightfully so. He’s been a phenomenon since arriving in Portland at the trade deadline and has given the Blazers great defensive versatility, an added measure of toughness and a veteran savvy that were lacking. Shawn Marion is probably getting looked over in all of this, as he averaged 13.3 points and six rebounds against the Blazers this season. Wallace’s overall activity level gives him the nod, but not by as much as you would think. Advantage: Blazers.

PF: Dirk Nowitzki vs. LaMarcus Aldridge should be about as fascinating as any first-round match-up in the Western Conference. Nowitzki has averaged 21.7 points and seven boards this season against the Blazers and put some nails in the coffin down the stretch of an early season game with some huge fourth quarter baskets. Nowitzki has a big edge in playoff experience, he has the homecourt advantage and he should have plenty of help defending Aldridge. Advantage: Mavericks.

C: Much like Miller/Kidd, the center match-up of Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby pits fairly similar players: long, rebounding-first defensive specialists. But Chandler brings more on the offensive end and is younger and Camby has struggled a bit since his return from arthroscopic knee surgery in early 2011. Advantage: Mavericks.

Bench: Terry is the major standout while JJ Barea’s speed has given Portland problems in the past. Thanks to Brendan Haywood, the Mavericks also have more depth up front, which could be a big factor in helping keep Dallas’s starters out of foul trouble. Unless Roy shows up, Portland’s bench lacks pop. Advantage: Mavericks.

Coach: The pressure is on Rick Carlisle to deliver in the postseason, as the Mavericks have been bounced in the first round three of the last four years. McMillan has applied expectations of his own, stating recently that it was time for both the Blazers and himself to take the next step and win a playoff series, something they were unable to do against the Rockets in 2009 and the Suns in 2010. Both teams rely heavily on advanced scouting and tendency analysis and both teams incorporate zone defense looks. Should be a fun one. Call it a push.

VII. Conclusion

Mavericks/Blazers has become the hot upset special pick, but Dallas should eventually pull it out because Portland has struggled to win on the road, has dealt with inconsistent outside shooting all season and isn’t nearly as deep as everyone thinks they are. The Mavericks have the cohesiveness factor on their side and Portland doesn’t have a great option for defending Jason Terry. The Andre Miller / Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby / Tyson Chandler match-ups are very much toss-ups, and the Mavericks will need to pay extra attention to Gerald Wallace, but it’s difficult to see Dirk Nowitzki and company not taking care of homecourt. Prediction: Mavericks in 7.

VIII. CBSSports.com Video Preview

Tyson Chandler and the Dallas Mavericks will take on LaMarcus Aldridge and the Portland Trail Blazers in round 1 of the NBA Playoffs. Who will come out on top? Ian Eagle and Ken Berger breakdown this playoff matchup.

Posted on: April 9, 2011 2:20 pm

Terry has tirade on Mavs bench

Posted by Royce Young

It's that stressful time of year. The playoffs are coming, taxes are due and players are anxious about finishing up the season strong.

Example? Jason Terry freaked out on the Mavericks bench Friday night against the Clippers.

During a huddle in the second quarter, Terry yelled at J.J. Barea and then turned on coach Rick Carlisle. Eventually Carlisle was very demonstrative with Terry, pointing emphatically at him while speaking loudly. Terry was then banished from the huddle. Eventually Terry made his way to the end of the bench, still barking at assistants. Owner Mark Cuban actually came over to try and cool Terry's jets (get it? You get it).

At the time this happened, Dallas was trailing by 14 to the Clippers in the first half. The Mavs had lost four straight coming in to the game. Evidently what sparked the incident was after Terry turned the ball over which led to an easy Clipper layup. Terry rolled the ball to Barea on the inbounds pass, which Barea sort of looked at him funny for. Timeout was called and that's when the you know what hit the fan.

When asked postgame about it, Carlisle pulled out the "handle it internally" thing.

"It's an internal matter. It's going to remain an internal matter," Carlisle told reporters. "This is an emotional game and it's a very compelling game because in our league guys don't wear baseball hats and fans aren't seated 30 yards from the field and guys aren't wearing facemasks with glass barriers like hockey. Emotions run high and sometimes things happen, and I'm going to leave it at that. Jet's a very important guy on our team. I was considering giving him a night off going forward, but I think tonight will be his night off."

Terry wasn't available after the game. Barea, his victim, didn't think it was a huge issue. "I don't really know what happened," Barea said. "I know what happened with me, but I don't know what happened with [Terry]. It's part of the game. It's happened to me before; Heat of the moment, nothing big."
Interesting that Carlisle basically said Terry would be benched for the Mavs game tonight. Obvious not as "punishment" but it might sort of be as punishment.

But maybe Terry's tirade woke up the Mavs. They went on to handle the Clippers and get a much needed win as the Thunder breathe down their necks. Terry's not a shy player as he sparked a little scuffle with the Lakers a week ago as well. Maybe it was an intentional spark, or maybe it was just frustration spilling over. Whatever the case, it woke the Mavs up last night and maybe got the ship righted for the rest of the season.
Posted on: April 1, 2011 6:11 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2011 6:37 pm

Lakers F Barnes suspended 1 game for coach toss

Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes has been suspended for one game for tossing Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Terry Stotts to the ground.matt-barnesPosted by Ben Golliver.

On Thuesday, we noted a heated exchange occurred during the fourth quarter of a Los Angeles Lakers blowout victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Everything started when Mavericks guard Jason Terry shoved Lakers guard Steve Blake to the ground but things really got ugly when Lakers forward Matt Barnes got wrapped up in a bear hug by Mavericks assistant coach Terry Stotts. 

After attempting to extricate himself multiple times, Barnes eventually turned around and knocked Stotts to the ground, getting himself ejected and assuring himself of a suspension in the process.

On Friday, the NBA announced that Barnes would be suspended for one game without pay.
Matt Barnes of the Los Angeles Lakers has been suspended one game without pay for escalating an on-court altercation and actions following his ejection, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations. 
The incident occurred with 9:23 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ 110-82  victory over the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on March 31. Barnes will serve his suspension tonight when the Lakers visit the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena. 
Honestly, Barnes got off fairly easily here. Responding to a non-player involved in the scuffle sets a bad precedent and the NBA easily could have laid down the hammer given that Stotts was manhandled.

Barnes, for his part, was unapologetic. He took to Twitter on Friday afternoon to say he viewed the suspension as an "extra day of rest" for his knee and that the Mavericks could be beaten by being "punked." 
I get an extra day of rest for my knee. Ill be watching the game 2nite w/the rest of the laker fans, on tv. All good team will keep it Rolln 2nite vs the Jazz.. Ill be bak sunday.. Appreciate the support from all the lakeshow fans.. RESPECT!!
Also another thing NO ONES worried bout wat Jason Terry is talkn bout everyone remembers the 07 season Me & the Golden St homies laid out the blueprint on how to beat Dallas.. "PUNK'EM" Aint **** changed homey.. So enough w/the small talk
Well, after reading that I think it's clear that this suspension was completely meaningless. Something tells me we haven't heard the last of Barnes' antics this season.
Posted on: April 1, 2011 2:33 pm

Mark Cuban blasts Chris Webber over criticism

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban responds to criticism from TNT commentator Chris Webber. Posted by Ben Golliver. mark-cuban

On Thursday night, a game between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers turned really ugly in the fourth quarter, with Mavericks guard Jason Terry shoving Lakers guard Steve Blake sparking a fracas that included Lakers forward Matt Barnes throwing Mavericks assistant coach Terry Stotts to the ground. 

After the game, TNT commentator Chris Webber called out the Mavericks for being "soft" and not responding to the physical challenge by the Lakers. SportsGrid.com has some of Webber's comments.
“You play against teams, and certain teams are like children,” said Webber. “Certain teams are like the bully you don’t want to play.”
He reserved his sharpest criticism for Nowitzki and Haywood: “Jason Terry is the only Dallas Maverick that does something. Look at Dirk Nowitzki, look at these two big guys, look at Haywood. They deserve to be fined.”
In a Friday morning radio interview with 103.3 FM in Dallas, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban shot back at Webber, defending his team's toughness and questioning Webber's originality.
"Chris Webber has never had an original thought. It doesn't really matter. You know how these guys work. The last time I looked it was Jason Terry pushing and our guys responding -- no one is backing down from anybody. And it's the same nonsense talked by the same people who haven't had an original thought in their entire lives. Look, we don't care what Chris Webber says. It doesn't matter what Chris Webber says. We just go out and do our thing." 
Cuban's stance is on the money. After a heated game -- not to mention a brutal loss -- it's nice to hear from the owner that he still has faith in your abilities heading into the playoffs. Webber's criticism isn't coming from left field. Cuban is correct in saying that it's not original criticism but only because the "soft" label has followed the Mavericks for years.

Should anyone really care if they are called "soft" in today's NBA? No, not really. But they should care if they can't match the intensity level of their opponent in a big game and that's what happened to the Mavericks last night.
Posted on: April 1, 2011 11:42 am
Edited on: April 1, 2011 11:48 am

Lakers are pretty proud of fighting with Mavs

Lakers are pretty happy with their fights and ejections in blowout win over Mavericks
Posted by Matt Moore

As we brought you Thursday night, the Lakers and Mavs had an ugly little set of tussles resulting in multiple ejections, starting with Jason Terry shoving Steve Blake and followed by Matt Barnes shoving down a Mavericks assistant. 

Turns out the Lakers are pretty proud of themselves for standing up to 6-2 Jason Terry and an assistant coach. From the Los Angeles Times
"I think we all reacted well," said Pau Gasol, who had 20 points -- a correction from the original stats, which had him with 19 -- as well as seven rebounds. "The bench kept its cool, and the guys on the floor did what they had to do. Basically, they just stood up to what was in front of them. They werent trying to create anything.:"It was good to see our guys handled it pretty well."

The way that Barnes intervened in Blakes incident -- and Brown drew his ejection after a play in which Gasol was knocked down by Ian Mahinmi -- was a positive sign, in the mind of Kobe Bryant.

"It brings us closer together," he said. "Its as simple as that. We cant go for that, man."
via Lakers 110, Mavericks 82: Wild night at Staples - PE.com - Professional Sports.

In reality, the Lakers did need to stand up for Blake. Terry did shove Blake unprovoked and it's important to send messages. But it's that constant talk of message sending that shows a lot about the Lakers' identity when it comes to toughness. 

The Lakers have had their toughness questioned since 2008 when the Celtics bullied them in a dominating six-game set. Since then, despite two titles, including one over those same Celtics, questions have remained about the Lakers' toughness. Most of this stems from Pau Gasol being a traditional "soft Euro" which usually just means he's really good at basketball. The addition of Ron Artest was seen as a move to improve the toughness of the team, and Barnes was brought on in the same vein. This of course ignores the fact that basketball is a game of who can put the ball in the hoop the most, not who's the biggest and baddest, but playoff basketball preaches that you need that level of aggression.

The Lakers seem to have found it. If Andrew Bynum's massive frame wasn't enough to dissuade teams from wanting to mix it up physically, the Lakers have shown they are willing to engage. 

Literally everything is going L.A.'s way right now. 
Posted on: April 1, 2011 1:46 am
Edited on: April 1, 2011 6:24 pm

Security escorts fan out of Staples Center video

Staples Center security had to forcibly remove a fan during the fourth quarter of a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. Posted by Ben Golliver.

As we've already detailed, the fourth quarter of Thursday night's game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks got heated. Mavericks guard Jason Terry shoved Steve Blake to the ground, prompting an extended fracas that resulted in a total of four ejections. Meanwhile, Lakers forward Matt Barnes threw Terry Stotts, a Dallas Mavericks assistant coach, to the ground as well.

But the physical altercations weren't limited to the court. Staples Center security had to forcibly remove a fan who attempted to charge on the court near the Mavericks bench shortly after the fight broke out. 

Play was interrupted as Lakers forward Lamar Odom was about to shoot his second free throw, with the Lakers leading, 90-78, with 7:58 remaining in the game. The Mavericks bench stood up as the commotion took place behind them but roughly five red coat wearing officers dragged the fan up the steps to the concourse and away from the game.

Here's video of the incident.

Here's a replay. Look carefully in the upper right hand corner and you can see the fan charging towards the court at a high rate of speed before being intercepted by security.

Kudos to the security team, who will all probably get commendations for their quick work and on-the-spot reactions. 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com