The Los Angeles Lakers convincingly beat the Dallas Mavericks, 129-114.
With Anthony Davis sidelined for the game, Kyle Kuzma got the start and knocked down his first three-point attempt of the night to help give the Lakers the early lead. Meanwhile, LeBron James was aggressive getting to the rim, bullying the Mavericks and scoring several layups.
Los Angeles continued to score the ball well, getting good looks both in the paint and along the perimeter which allowed them to take a double-digit lead. Alex Caruso provided a major spark to close the quarter, earning an and-one opportunity and stealing an inbound pass to help the Lakers go into the second quarter up 45-27.
Dwight Howard and James kept the momentum going for the Lakers to begin the period, taking advantage of their size inside against the Mavericks undersized lineup. However, Dallas began to cut into Los Angeles lead with James off the bench, going on a 9-0 run thanks to some good shooting from Seth Curry.
The game’s pace slowed to a halt as both teams found themselves in the bonus but the Mavericks were unable to capitalize as Luka Doncic uncharacteristically missed free throws. Kuzma and James continued to attack Dallas inside and the Lakers went into halftime up 79-58.
The Lakers got off to a relatively slow start to the third, letting the Mavericks score a couple of easy baskets while the centers found themselves in foul trouble. With no size inside the paint for Los Angeles, Dallas looked to attack the rim with Doncic leading the charge.
McGee and Howard’s absence was sorely missed as the Mavericks were able to go on a 10-2 run, generating good looks and forcing the Lakers defense to scramble. Despite Dallas playing with more energy and verve, Los Angeles small-ball unit was able to temporarily slow them down and the team went into the final quarter up 99-86.
James returned to the floor to start the fourth and immediately went back to work, drilling a three and drawing a shooting foul to push the Lakers lead back to 20. Los Angeles defense fed off that, looking much more active on rotations and contests along the perimeter.
With Los Angeles staying small, Dallas continued to attack the paint but Rajon Rondo was able to keep them at bay with some timely field goals. The Mavericks eventually waived the white flag midway through the quarter and emptied their bench, allowing the purple and gold to walk away with the win.