Lakers rip apart stagnant Dallas Mavericks

For Elton Brand, Saturday was his most embarrassing moment in a Dallas Mavericks uniform since he joined this franchise this past summer.

Forget, for a moment, that the Los Angeles Lakers strolled into American Airlines Center and swaggered their way to a thorough 115-89 beat-down of the Mavs. Shortly before the game ended, a bunch of Lakers fans repeatedly chanted “Let's Go Lakers' -- and that really got Brand all riled up.

“It was embarrassing before the 'Let's Go Lakers' chants,'' Brand said. “We were down 30 points to a team we beat with Steve Nash playing (on opening night), and this is a different coach.

“I thought it was embarrassing well before that. Hopefully that's etched in our memory and we will be able to play them harder next time.''

The Mavs sure hope that's the case, because they didn't play the Lakers hard at all Saturday. This looked more like one of those Lakers scrimmages instead of a bonafide NBA game.

The loss dropped the Mavs to 7-7 headed into a two-game road trip that starts Tuesday in Philadelphia and finishes Wednesday in Chicago.

What made Saturday's no-show by the Mavs more incredible: Who could have seen this coming?

The Lakers were playing their fourth game in five nights, and lost Friday night in Memphis, 106-98. LA also entered the game 0-4 on the road this season and was still trying to get acquainted with new coach Mike D'Antoni, who was coaching just his fourth game after replacing the fired Mike Brown.

Meanwhile, the Mavs were supposed to have been the fresher team after last playing Wednesday, when they edged the New York Knicks 114-111.

But none of that rested team/fresher team scenarios mattered Saturday as the Lakers put a whipping on the Mavs in all facets of the game.

“You play a team and you play them pretty well and we feel good about ourselves,'' said Brand, who had no points and four rebounds in 17 minutes. “Tonight it was disgusting.

“It's disappointing for our fans with the kind of game that was. We know how bad they wanted this game, we should have wanted it as bad as they wanted it and we didn't come with it tonight.''

With Metta World Peace tallying his team's first 10 points, the Lakers opened up an 18-8 lead less than six minutes into the game. LA's lead swelled to 36-23 after the first quarter, 65-38 at the half, and 85-48 with 3:14 remaining in the third period.

“It started on the defensive end,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. “They had a lot of blow-bys at the beginning of the game.

“Being able to set their defense, they were really locked into that. They played a great game and we were really poor.''

How poor?

*The Lakers won the rebounding battle by an astounding 61-39 margin.

*The Mavs shot just 37 percent from the field, while LA made 48.8 percent of its shots.

*LA turned 15 Mavs turnovers into 22 points.

*Lakers point guard Steve Nash was out with a fractured left fibula, but LA's offense didn't miss one step.

“I credit them, we all own this one,'' Carlisle said. “They are physically stronger than us.''

Carlisle shook up his lineup by starting Brandan Wright at center in place of Chris Kaman. Wright started the season's first eight games then played 22 minutes in the last five games before reappearing in the starting lineup.

Wright finished with six points in 13 minutes, while Kaman was 2-of-12 from the field and collected four points and three rebounds before fouling out with 7:27 remaining in the game.

“I think I was rushing a little bit sometimes, but I couldn't get the ball to go in the hole, so it was kind of frustrating,'' Kaman said. “I tried to set a lot of pick-and-rolls and just drive to the basket and try to make the offense just keep in motion and keep everything going, but it's not up to me, though.

“I've got to do my job and do my part, but when I get the ball do the best I can to make plays for other people or put the ball in the hole, and I just didn't do that tonight. And I didn't feel like any rhythm there.''

Kaman said he wasn't bothered by not starting, and added that Carlisle didn't tell him his thought process when making the lineup change.

“That's not for me to question,'' Kaman said. “I'm getting paid to do a job and I'm supposed to come out and do that job whether I'm from the bench or from the start - the best I can - and that's what I try to do every time I'm in there.

“Obviously I prefer to start, that's what I've been doing my entire career. But that's not my decision, and I trust coach to make the right decisions and he knows what he's doing - he really does.''

Carlisle, who doesn't have a set rotation yet, defended his decision to start Wright.

“I wanted to get Wright involved,'' he said. “I like the way he played out there (in LA) and I didn't want Kaman guarding (Dwight) Howard to start the game.

“The starting lineup is down the list of issues in this game.''

Unfortunately for the Mavs, they just completely fell apart in front of a sellout crowd of 20,432. The 65 points the Lakers had at intermission were the most the Mavs have relinquished in any half this season.

The Mavs couldn't even take advantage of an off-night by Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who finished with 19 points, three rebounds, five assists and six turnovers in 33 minutes. Former Mavs Antawn Jamison and World Peace also tallied 19 points each for the Lakers.

Vince Carter led all scorers for the Mavs with 16 points, Jae Crowder scored 15, O.J. Mayo had 13 and Shawn Marion added 10 points and eight boards. Mayo was 5-of-15 from the field and saw his streak of converting at least one 3-pointer in every game this season end when he was 0-of-5 from downtown.

Also for the Mavs, Darren Collison was just 1-of-10 from the floor and had just two points, four assists and four turnovers in 24 minutes.

“We have to address the issues and then move on,'' Mavs guard Dahntay Jones said. “We can't just sweep it under the rug.

“But we will take care of business tomorrow, get down to work and then get ready for our big road trip coming up.''

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