Anyone else love going back and looking at old box scores and
falling down afternoon-long rabbit holes, or am I the
You might’ve read the headline and either recalled this event
actually happening, or are befuddled at how such a thing could take
place, even in that NBA.
This article, published on April 6, 2022, marks 25 years since
the Del Harris-led Los Angeles Lakers held Jim Cleamons and his
Dallas Mavericks to 2 points in the third quarter of a
The contest was held at the LA Forum, where a 50-24 Laker team
met a 22-53 Mavs squad with two weeks remaining before the playoffs
started. Staples wasn’t that big yet, and Crypto didn’t exist.
(Some might say it still doesn’t, but you can fight about that
A large-ass, Biggie verse-having, All-Star center named
Shaquille O’Neal had been out with a knee injury suffered
that February, which he returned from five days later. Something
tells me, if you made it here, you’ve heard of him. Also on the
Lakers, quite famously, was a talented rookie named Kobe Bryant,
who had been playing regular rotation minutes at 18 years old, but
wasn’t yet Kobe.
The Mavericks had traded a controversial-but-talented point
guard in Jason Kidd earlier in the season — along with Tony Dumas
and Loren Meyer — to the Phoenix Suns for a package highlighted by
Michael Finley, Sam Cassell and A.C. Green. They also dealt Jamal
Mashburn to the Miami Heat several weeks later for Kurt Thomas,
Sasa Danilović and Martin Müürsepp.
The Mavericks, who
came in as losers of 10 straight heading into this game — a
lengthy skid that never saw the team score more than 92 points —
went into Hollywood and started Pack, Finley, Green, Bradley and
Derek Harper. Without Shaq, the Lakers began with Derek Fisher,
Eddie Jones, Jerome Kersey, Corie Blount and Sean Rooks, who played
a game-high 43 minutes (33 over his season average).
Bryant and Robert Horry went a combined 2 of 9 off the bench,
and Rooks had logged 10 points and 7 boards to that point. Harper
and Finley combined for 25 points on 9 of 15 shooting, while
Bradley had 9 points and 9 rebounds.
Okay, now let's get to why you’re here.
Not only did the Mavericks score 2 points in the entire third
quarter, but the points came from a pair of Harper free throws with
1:51 left in the quarter. So it took over 10 minutes to
even get on the board in this period.
Anyway, the Mavericks shot 0 of 15 from the field for the
quarter and missed all 4 of their three-balls. They also had 9
turnovers and only made one substitution over the entire 12
minutes, removing Pack for Saša Danilović about halfway through the
third. That meant Green, Harper, Finley and Bradley were each a
minus-25 for the quarter, and Pack was a minus-20.
For good measure, the Mavericks third quarter could be summed up
The Lakers outscored the Mavericks 27-2 and still just led 64-53
after three. L.A. shot 10 of 17 in the quarter, made 5 of 7
triples, only needed to pull down 8 rebounds and turned the ball
over just twice.
The Mavs outdid their horrific third quarter only 48 seconds
into the fourth with two layups. They even cut their deficit to as
close as 7 points in garbage time before the Lakers pulled away
with a 87-80 win.
Fisher scored 21 points — not even close to a career-high for
him — but to that point, his highest point tally had been just 14.
In fact, the 21 points would remain a career-best mark for Fisher
until he netted 26 points on March 13, 2001 in a win over the
Boston Celtics four years later.
Sean “2019 Bam Adebayo” Rooks ended the night with 15 points, 11
rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks. Bryant logged about 22 minutes
off the bench, netting 13 points on 3 of 9 shooting, also finishing
with 3 steals and going a perfect 5 of 5 at the free-throw
Harper led the Mavs with 18 points on 6 of 15 shooting. Finley
only put up 9 shots in over 34 minutes of play. The next time he
put up just 9 shots in that many minutes? March 31, 2002.
So, what ended up happening to these two teams? Glad you
The Lakers finished 56-26 and fourth in the Western Conference,
sweeping the Kenny Anderson, Isaiah Rider, and Rasheed Wallace-led
Portland Trail Blazers in Round 1. Then, in the West semifinals,
L.A. fell to the No. 1 seed Utah Jazz, who eventually lost to the
Chicago Bulls in the 1997 NBA Finals. The Lakers still had a few
more years of Harris before Phil Jackson eventually came to clean
things up prior to the 1999-2002 three-peat era.
The Mavericks finished 24-58 and were actually still fourth in
the Midwest Division among seven teams, completing 1996-97 with
only the sixth-worst record in the league. Unfortunately, they
didn’t own their own draft pick, but fortunately, the Celtics — who
had it at No. 6 — used it on Ron Mercer, so it wasn’t an egregious
Tracy McGrady did go No. 9 overall, and the Mavs did settle on
Kelvin Cato at No. 15, but they landed with a kid named Dirk
Nowitzki in the 1998 NBA Draft after another 20-win season.
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