The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Dallas Mavericks 107-104 in overtime on a hectic Wednesday night — with both sides engaging in a crazy 3-point contest to decide the winner.
L.A. missed Dwight Howard, Malik Monk and Talen Horton-Tucker, who had entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols earlier in the week.
Anthony Davis returned from a two-game break caused by ankle soreness but struggled early on — throwing two airballs and committing five turnovers while shooting just 1-for-5 from the field in the first half.
The 28-year-old forward bounced back in the second despite quickly falling into foul trouble, managing to end the night in double-digits just like his All-Star partners, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.
But Wayne Ellington and Austin Reaves stole the show, hitting the deciding 3s at the end of regulation and then overtime to end the slugfest in Dallas.
Both sides traded punches early in the game with L.A.’s jabs coming mostly from James’ hands. The 36-year-old forward sank two quick triples to give L.A. a 15-13 lead, prompting Dallas to call the first timeout of the night halfway through the opening quarter.
The Mavericks seemingly wanted to exploit Davis’ rustiness, continuously throwing double-teams at the forward. But thanks to solid shifts off the bench from Austin Reaves and Carmelo Anthony — and with Westbrook aptly orchestrating the Lakers’ offense while James took his first breather — L.A. ended the first quarter with a 33-23 lead.
The Mavericks cranked up the pressure right at the beginning of the second period, immediately erasing the double-digit deficit. A tremendous defensive stretch from Porzingis allowed Dallas to hurt the Lakers in transition, leading to a 15-0 run. James’ layup ended the Lakers’ drought about five minutes into the quarter, bringing the game back within one point at 38-37.
Soon after, Reaves’ third triple of the game regained the lead for L.A for a brief moment.
The Mavericks dominated L.A. in the paint over the first two quarters, outscoring the Purple and Gold 28-10 in the protected area. Jalen Brunson capitalized on the Lakers’ vulnerability, shooting 7-of-9 from the field in the first half — and ending it with 15 points.
L.A.’s turnovers allowed Dallas to build a six-point lead shortly before the break. What’s more, James appeared to have twisted his ankle after landing on Porzingis’ foot following an attempted layup. However, the four-time NBA champion stayed on the floor and drilled a later dagger 3, cutting the Mavericks’ lead to 50-47 before the buzzer rang.
The Lakers went for the Mavericks’ jugular after the break. James’ triple from around the logo area gave L.A a 61-57 lead — and prompted Kidd to call a timeout four-and-a-half minutes into the third quarter.
Still grappling with rustiness, Davis quickly committed his fourth personal foul. But he finally improved his aim, scoring 10 points and collecting three rebounds in nine minutes. However, Tim Hardaway Jr. canceled out Davis’ effort, tying the game again with less than two minutes left in the third after getting hot from beyond the arc.
The Lakers wasted a chance to take a two-point lead going into the fourth as Westbrook traveled, committing L.A.’s 13th turnover.
The scoreboard showed 73-73 when the final period began.
This time around, the Mavericks stunned the Lakers with a 7-0 run to open the quarter. With about six minutes left, Brunson took his scoring tally of the night to 25 points, giving Dallas an 85-78 lead. But in crunch time, the game once again turned into a close contest with Hardaway Jr., Porzingis, Reaves, and Wayne Ellington launching a barrage of threes for both sides.
The two sides engaged in a scrappy battle until the very end of regulation. After Porzingis gave Dallas a three-point lead with a couple of late buckets, Ellington’s circus 3 from the corner tied things up again after the guard somehow managed to save the ball from going out of bounds with just seconds left in the game.
The clash remained just as ugly — and chaotic — in overtime while the crazy 3-point contest continued. Reaves, Westbrook, Hardaway Jr., and Kleber all hit from downtown. But the final word belonged to the Lakers rookie, who secured the win for L.A. — of course by sinking a late triple.
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