Dirk Nowitzki made two big free throws with 19.5 seconds remaining, as the Dallas Mavericks erased a 16-point deficit to beat the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, 96-94, in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series.
Nowitzki ended with 28 points and 14 rebounds for the third-seeded Mavericks, who needed six games to beat Portland in the first round. Jason Terry added 15 points off the bench.
The teams finished with identical 57-25 records during the regular season, but the Lakers won the season series, 2-1, to earn home-court advantage in the first playoff meeting between the teams since 1988.
The Mavericks came into Monday’s game with an 0-10 mark on the road against the Lakers in the playoffs.
Game 2 of the set will be Wednesday in LA.