After three straight losses, the last two of which coming with a seemingly uninspired effort from the team, the Los Angeles Lakers young core knew they needed a huge bounce-back performance against the Dallas Mavericks.
Despite the obstacles in their way, the group was up to the challenge playing on the second night of a back-to-back. Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart stole the show in the second half, leading the Lakers back from a 15-point deficit for a 107-97 victory.
After previous struggles in crunch time, Ingram led the way with a season-high 29 points and 6 assists, making multiple big plays down the stretch to secure the victory. After an embarrassing scoreless effort against the Timberwolves, Ball was far more aggressive in Dallas.
He played with confidence and finished with 21 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and a dagger 3-pointer to seal the comeback win. Despite the impressive performances by Ball and Ingram, Hart was arguably the most important Laker on the night.
Hart played the entire second half, 44 minutes in total, and filled the stat sheet with 14 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals. He led the team in rebounds and steals, and tied with Ingram for most assists among all Lakers.
Early on things seemed as if they would take a familiar turn for L.A. Though they didn’t have as bad a start as the previous two games, the defense struggled, as they gave up 67 points to the Mavericks in the first half and trailed by 13.
These Lakers showed plenty of fight, however, coming out of the locker room with a renewed energy and focus and allowing just 30 points in the final two quarters. Rookie of the Year frontrunner Luka Doncic was impressive with 27 points and 8 rebounds, including a couple of highlight plays, but it wasn’t enough.
The Lakers also welcomed back Kyle Kuzma after he missed the last two games. He struggled shooting, hitting just 4-of-20 from the field, but his aggression and attacking nature was sorely missed. Michael Beasley provided a boost with 13 points in just nine minutes.
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