Perhaps feeling the effects of needing to expend more energy than what should have been necessary on the first night of a back-to-back, the Los Angeles Lakers got off to a sluggish start against the Dallas Mavericks but managed to turn the tide for a 114-103 comeback win.
Other than Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, the Lakers were listless throughout a first quarter that saw the Mavericks open the game on an 8-2 run and lead by as many as 13 points. Ball’s activity helped keep the Lakers afloat but their 0-for-7 shooting behind the arc hurt their effort.
Ball snapped their drought with a 3-pointer early in the second quarter. His steals and vision later in the first half sparked a 10-0 Lakers run that cut their deficit to just five points. LeBron James factored prominently in that stretch and made all five field goals in the second quarter after going 1-for-6 in the first.
The back-and-forth affair carried into the third quarter, as both teams mounted respective runs. Kuzma awoke from a quiet first half to score 13 points that helped the Lakers turn a deficit into a 78-75 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
James has admitted to assuming ballhandling duties more frequently than he anticipated this season, but he again was there to answer the bell for the Lakers when they needed him. He scored 11 points in the fourth quarter to stave off each Mavericks attempt at a comeback.
And while James was on the bench, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Josh Hart each connected on a 3-pointer to help the Lakers maintain their lead. The win was their second in a row and seventh in the past 10 games.