Lakers Too Strong For Mavs

Actress Natalie Portman stands under an umbrella in the rain, with London's Houses of Parliament in the background, during a press conference for her latest film, "V for Vendetta," Wednesday March 8, 2006. The film premiered in London that evening.
AP

One night after being ejected following a display of temper over what he perceived to be rough fouls, Shaquille O'Neal wore out a path to the foul line, courtesy of Dallas coach Don Nelson.

And he swore revenge over what happened in Portland.

O'Neal had 30 points and 20 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Mavericks 105-97 Sunday night.

It was the Lakers' 17th straight win over Dallas since April 1995, and their 18th in a row over the Mavericks at home dating to December 1990.

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  • O'Neal, who picked up two technical fouls early in the fourth quarter of the 97-82 loss Saturday night at Portland, resulting in an automatic ejection, took out his wrath on the Mavericks.

    Dominating inside throughout, he scored his team's first points on a thunderous dunk, and had six points in the first three minutes as the Lakers went ahead for good.

    The Mavericks began fouling O'Neal intentionally with seven minutes to play, and the strategy worked to a degree he was just 6-of-14 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, and 10-of-23 in the game.

    O'Neal, who maintained his poise throughout, was taken out with 3:16 remaining and the Lakers leading 99-88.

    "I thought it was bull," he said of Nelson's strategy of fouling him including twice in the backcourt away from the ball. "Nellie always does that stuff, that's OK."

    When asked about Portland's Jermaine O'Neal no relation who fouled him twice with the Lakers' center receiving technicals because of his reaction, Shaquille O'Neal said, "I'm going to get him back, I promise you that. Whatever I've got to do, I'm going to get him back."

    When asked if he thought the fouls were flagrant, O'Neal nodded his head.

    Before the game, Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he thought O'Neal was fouled flagrantly three times at Portland. Jackson criticized the officials following that game.

    Nelso smiled when asked about his late-game strategy that helped the Mavericks eat away at a substantial part of a 21-point deficit early in the fourth quarter, although they never made a serious threat.

    "The guy shoots 57 (percent) from the field, 35 from the line," Nelson said. "Being the competitor that he is, he made me pay a few times. We exchanged glances a few times, it was fun."

    Nelson said O'Neal once played for him in the World Championships.

    "I'm very fond of him, I love him to death," Nelson said. "The only weakness in his game is free throw shooting, that's the only one I've found. I don't want to beat him up, I do want him to know he's going to shoot a lot of free throws against us."

    Jackson said Nelson made the game "fun and interesting" with his strategy.

    "You can count on Nellie to screw a game up, you know that? This guy's on the rules committee, and he finds more ways of bending the rules than Richard Nixon did as president," Jackson said. "Shaq got plenty of attempts to practice his free throws."

    Glen Rice added 20 points and seven assists for the Lakers.

    Michael Finley paced the Mavericks with 29 points, but 22 of them came in the first 18 1/2 minutes. Dirk Nowitzki scored 16 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and also had nine rebounds for Dallas.

    The Lakers outscored the Mavericks 14-5 to finish the third quarter for an 81-66 lead, and scored the first six points of the final period to put them ahead by 21 points.

    The "Hack-a-Shaq" strategy began with the Lakers ahead 88-75. The Mavericks didn't get closer than the final margin after that.

    O'Neal had 10 points and eight rebounds in the first quarter, which ended with the Lakers on top 29-16.

    With O'Neal and Rice on the bench, the Mavericks scored the first eight points of the second quarter. O'Neal returned and helped the Lakers build a 12-point lead midway through the period. It was 52-45 at halftime.

    Notes

  • The Lakers and Mavericks play again Tuesday night in Dallas.
  • The Lakers were 20-of-37 from the foul line, giving them 64 free throws in 114 attempts in their four games. Their opponents are 95-of-115, including a 24-of-30 performance by the Mavericks.
  • O'Neal has made 20 of 51 foul shots in his team's four games this season.
  • The Lakers have a 68-16 overall record against the Mavericks 36-7 at home, and 32-9 in Dallas.
  • A.C. Green, traded to the Lakers by Dallas for Sean Rooks on Sept. 1, has played in 1,032 straight games longest streak in NBA history. Green and Rooks both started the game; Green had 10 points an nine rebounds in 27 minutes, while Rooks had four points and one rebound in 19 minutes.
  • Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, expected to be out at least two more weeks due to a broken right hand, was on the floor 90 minutes before the game shooting left-handed jump shots, and making a decent percentage.

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