Dirk Nowitzki Leads Mavs to 3-0 Lead Over Lakers

Dirk Nowitzki toyed with the Los Angeles Lakers defense all night, scoring 32 points to help the Dallas Mavericks notch a come-from-behind victory in Game 3, 98-92, and put the defending champions a loss away from an embarrassing sweep.

Trailing by six with 4:33 left in the fourth quarter, the Mavericks went on a 12-4 run punctuated by a tough Nowitzki hook shot that put the Lakers away for good, 93-91, 1:23 remaining. Jason Terry hit four free throws in the succeeding plays as the Lakers uncharacteristically went on a fouling binge with still a lot of time left in the clock.

With the loss, the Lakers must now do what no other NBA team has ever achieved—win the next four games to overhaul a 0-3 series deficit. A loss on Sunday in Dallas would make the Lakers the first Phil Jackson-coached team to be swept in the playoffs. Jackson, who plans to retire after the season, has never experienced being swept in his storied 20-year coaching career. “We’re disappointed…But we still believe we’re going to win the next game and we’ll go from there,” said Jackson, who is facing a 0-3 series deficit for the first time.