The Los Angeles Lakers weren’t quite as sluggish to start as they were in previous games but still fell into an early deficit and trailed by as many as 15 points in what ultimately was a 107-97 comeback victory.
The win snapped the Lakers’ three-game losing streak and completed a three-game season series sweep of the Mavs.
One night removed from head coach Luke Walton calling for more ‘passion and fire,’ Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram responded with positive performances. They combined for the Lakers’ first nine points of the game and finished as the team’s two leading scorers.
Ball did the bulk of his damage behind the arc, where he shot 4-for-8. Meanwhile, Ingram scored in transition and was more assertive when operating in the halfcourt offense.
Still without LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, the Lakers received a boost in Kyle Kuzma returning from a lower back contusion that kept him out since the second quarter of last Wednesday’s game. Having missed 2.5 games, Kuzma was rusty to start.
He began the night 0-for-8 before scratching, and wound up finding a bit of rhythm in the second half by connecting on two straight shots. The Lakers opened the third quarter on a 5-0 run, trimming their deficit to eight points and forcing the Mavericks to call a timeout.
That proved to be futile as the Lakers played with plenty of energy during a 22-9 extended stretch to tie the game. Missed free throws by Ball and Michael Beasley prevented the Lakers from taking their first lead but they finally broke through and were ahead 86-80 entering the fourth quarter.
As the Lakers were advancing toward an encouraging win, Beasley and Ingram came up lame on back-to-back possessions. Beasley banged his knee and was available to return, while Ingram tweaked his previously sprained left ankle but remained in the game.
Josh Hart’s shooting woes continued but he quietly put together an impressive all-around effort. He led the team with 12 rebounds and 5 steals, and tied with Ingram with 6 assists.
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