The Los Angeles Lakers have responded well after losing four consecutive games toward the end of December, winning seven games in a row with their most recent one against the Dallas Mavericks.
The Lakers were shorthanded as Anthony Davis missed the game, but it seemed to be no problem as the rest of the roster stepped up in his absence. LeBron James finished with a near triple-double (35 points, 16 rebounds, and seven assists) while Kyle Kuzma — who started in place of Davis — poured in 26 points on 9-of-22 shooting.
Although Luka Doncic was still able to do damage on the offensive end, Los Angeles was able to make him work hard for his shots and in turn, disrupted their offensive game plan.
Head coach Frank Vogel discussed what his team has done well during their current winning streak, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I think we’re committing to being in attack mode, touching the paint offensively. We picked up our offensive pace as of late and we’ve been pretty solid on the defensive end for most of the year. We’re winning games in different ways. This game was obviously very different than any other win that we’ve had this year and that’s a great sign for us if you can win games in different ways.”
It was one of the most impressive wins of the 2019-20 NBA season as the Lakers were able to capitalize on the interior even without Davis in the lineup. They scored 60 points in the paint, taking advantage of their size and length and converting on the easy looks they got — especially in transition.
Dallas boasts arguably the most potent offense in the league thanks to their three-point shooting but Los Angeles was great in contesting their looks and running them off the line throughout the night. The Mavericks only managed to shoot 29 percent from beyond the arc (below their season average) while the Lakers managed to hit on 10 of their 24 attempts, good for nearly 42 percent.
The win and winning streak is a testament to the team’s mental makeup as they have bounced back each time they have hit a rough patch, which definitely bodes well as they near the middle of the season. It is clear the Lakers have gotten more comfortable on the floor together and they should continue to improve with more games under their belt.
For now, the purple and gold need to worry about facing a solid Oklahoma City Thunder team on the second end of a back-to-back situation.