LOS ANGELES -- After dropping Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals to the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers have now lost one of the first two games at Staples Center in five of the 10 playoff series the team has played since the 2009 postseason.
While they have been able to advance despite coughing up home court advantage all four previous times, including in the first round this year against New Orleans, some uneasiness set in prior to Game 2 on Wednesday about the Lakers' precarious position.
"We're worried now," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said during his pregame remarks. "This is a good [Dallas] team. We know that they have the same record we have. They have a lot of options in scoring and we got to play a lot better to overcome this team in the course of the series.
"Our strength is that we've always become better and better against teams in series and we hope we do that."
The Lakers and Mavericks both went 57-25 during the regular season, but L.A. earned home court advantage for the series by virtue of locking up the No. 2 seed by winning the Pacific Division. The Lakers also won the season series 2-1 against the Mavericks.
The coach's comments echoed Kobe Bryant's statement after Game 1 when he declared, "I'm highly concerned. This team can beat us. It's clear. We just have to come in ready to play Game 2."
Jackson also expressed the need to add some levity to his team's threepeat bid as a way to get things moving in the right direction.
"We're focused in what we have to do, I'd like to see us a little more lighthearted about it though," Jackson said. "I think it's still a game. We still have to have that lightheartedness to go out there and play the right way."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.