(LOS ANGELES) — The Los Angeles Lakers were supposed to start their highly-anticipated season with a big win at home against the short-handed Mavericks. Instead, they were beaten by the Mavericks 99-91.
Kobe Bryant scored 22 points on 11-14 shooting despite playing on a bad foot, while Pau Gasol scored 23 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. But it was the new Lakers who failed to impress the Laker crowd. Steve Nash scored just seven points and handed out four assists. New center Dwight Howard scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds, but went 3-14 from the free throw line.
“It’s not an excuse, but it will all come with time,” Howard said. “We haven’t had an opportunity to to really play together as much as we want, but we’re going to get it. …We’re going to chip away, and we’re going to get better.”
What made the loss even more alarming was that the Mavericks were without all-star forward Dirk Nowitzki, as well as starting center Chris Kaman.
“It’s growing pains, and it’s a struggle,” Nash said. “We’re out of sync, and we’re going to probably have some more moments in games like that.”
In their team debuts, O.J. Mayo scored 12 points, Darren Collison scored 17 points, and Elton Brand scored eight points.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jill Martin, CNN