NBA playoffs: Mavericks are surging
DALLAS — Jason Terry made his first 3-point attempt Sunday. Then he connected again, and again, and again.
Once Terry got going, the Dallas Mavericks were on their way to the conference finals. There was nothing this group of Los Angeles Lakers could do about it.
“(Terry’s) shotmaking was breathtaking,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.
Terry made nine of Dallas’ 20 3-pointers in a 122-86 victory that completed a four-game sweep of the two-time defending champions. Fellow reserve Peja Stojakovic made all six of his 3-point attempts. Dirk Nowitzki, J.J. Barea, Jason Kidd, DeShawn Stevenson and Brian Cardinal each hit one from long range as seemingly everyone on the Mavs got into the act.
The Mavericks finished 20 for 32 from long range and shot 60 percent from the field overall. Terry tied the NBA mark for 3-pointers and Dallas matched the league playoff record.
“I don’t think I’ve seen a team play to that level in a series in a game like they played this afternoon,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “You’d like to have an opportunity to challenge, but we didn’t.”
While the Mavericks were connecting from long range, Los Angeles was drawing iron for much of the day. The Lakers shot 5 for 24 from behind the arc and 37.8 percent overall.
Dallas stressed defense all season long, and it’s carried over to the playoffs
“We understand that defense wins championships,” shot-blocking center Tyson Chandler said.
The Mavericks will meet the winner of the Oklahoma City-Memphis series in their first trip to the Western Conference finals since 2006. The Grizzlies lead the Thunder 2-1 going into Game 4 on Monday night.
“The job isn’t finished,” Terry said. “We set the bar high in training camp. This was great. I don’t want to understate the meaning of this victory. We’re back in the Western Conference finals. It’s been a while.”
There were lots of smiles in the Mavericks locker room after this victory, but little celebrating. Their focus is the first NBA title in franchise history.
“We’ve got eight wins. We need eight more and that’s our ultimate goal,” Chandler said.
The Mavs cruised to the second-largest margin of victory in their playoff history despite only 17 points from Nowitzki, who averaged 27.6 points in his first nine playoff games this season.