Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose drives to the basket against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half in Game 2. Nam Y. Huh/AP/Press Association Images

While you were sleeping: here's what you missed in the NBA playoffs

Phil Jackson’s hopes of another three-peat are in jeopardy after the Lakers lost a second successive game against the Dallas Mavericks.

Result: Dallas stunned the Lakers 93-81 in Los Angeles.

What that means: The Mavs lead the series 2-0 and the defending champions are in a little bit of trouble.

How it happened: Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points, Shawn Marion added 14 and the Mavericks beat Los Angeles 93-81 in Game 2, taking a 2-0 second-round lead with consecutive road wins.

“If you would have told me before that were going to win both games, that would have been hard to believe,” Nowitzki said. “But I think we earned it.”

Jason Kidd scored 10 points in a balanced scoring effort for the Mavericks, who pushed the Lakers halfway to playoff elimination with Nowitzki’s stellar shooting, steady defense and a decisive 9-0 fourth-quarter rally. Dallas did nothing spectacularly well, yet was significantly better than the cold-shooting Lakers on both ends.

Dallas has endured a decade of playoff disappointment under owner Mark Cuban, including just one playoff series victory in the previous four postseasons since the Mavericks’ only NBA finals appearance.

Time and again, Nowitzki and his revolving cast of teammates have flopped in pressure playoff situations — but these taller, tougher Mavs certainly appear primed to change their reputation with two more wins, starting in Game 3 on Friday night in Dallas.

“We talked about it, and this series is far from over,” said Nowitzki, who again proved to be nearly unguardable for the Lakers. “I’ve been around a long time. I’ve been up 2-0 before and ended up losing the series. I’ve been down 2-0, lost both home games … and came back and won in Game 7. We’ve seen a lot of things happen in this league. We have to stay focused, stay together.”

Kobe Bryant scored 23 points for the Lakers, who hadn’t lost the first two games of a playoff series since the 2008 NBA finals — also the last series they lost. Only three NBA teams have come back to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first two at home, where dismayed fans sent the Lakers off with boos and jeers.

“Desperate? That’s a strong word,” Bryant said. “I think when you play desperate, you don’t play your best basketball. What we need to do is relax, focus on what we’re doing wrong and the mistakes that we’re making, and we have plenty to review and lock in on that.”

Result: The Bulls beat the Atlanta Hawks 86-73 in Chi city.

What that means: The series is levelled up at one game apiece.

How it happened: Jamal Crawford could see it in the Chicago Bulls.

They were trailing in a series that many expected to be a breeze for them, and the last thing they could afford was another letdown.

“They were desperate tonight,” Crawford said.

And now, they’re tied.

MVP Derrick Rose scored 25 points, Joakim Noah added 19 points and 14 rebounds, and Chicago beat the Atlanta Hawks 86-73 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Wednesday night to knot this series.

The top-seeded Bulls shook off a dismal performance in the opener and looked more like the team with a league-high 62 wins, building a 14-point lead and ending the game on a 9-2 run after the Hawks got within six.

Now, the series shifts to Atlanta for Games 3 and 4 Friday and Sunday, with Chicago at least in better shape after a 103-95 loss in Game 1.

Rose, meanwhile, can focus on the task at hand. The past few days were a blur for the Chicago product, with the news about his winning the MVP breaking, the formal announcement on Tuesday and the presentation with Stern before the opening tip.

“I’m just happy that it’s over now, and we can just ball out,” Rose said.

The superstar point guard showed just why he became the youngest player to win the award — at least in the first half, when he scored 16 points.

He went cold after that and wound up hitting just 10 of 27 shots, going 1 of 8 on 3-pointers, and committing eight turnovers.

Noah helped pick up the slack. So did Luol Deng, who scored all but two of his 14 points in the second half and grabbed 12 rebounds in the game.

Carlos Boozer, bothered by a turf toe injury on his right foot, had eight points and 11 boards and heard it from the home crowd — something that didn’t sit well with Noah.

“Sometimes our home crowd, it’s a tough place to play,” he said. “We have a lot of love for our crowd, but through tough times, we got to stick together.”

Noah remembers being booed as a rookie, and “it’s tough.” Boozer, meanwhile, hasn’t been the same since he missed five games with a sprained left ankle.

“With Carlos, I think people have to understand he’s playing through an injury right now, and he’s giving us what he’s got,” Noah said. “He’s somebody who has an unbelievable presence and he opens up a lot of things for a lot of us. I think that sometimes people are quick to bash one player, but this is a team. And we know that we need Carlos to get to where we want to go. I think Taj (Gibson) does an excellent job, but we need everybody.”

– Match Reports by AP