After winning the NBA’s first In-Season Tournament in Las Vegas, the Los Angeles Lakers returned to action on Tuesday night when they took on the Dallas Mavericks on the road.
Despite questionable tags, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Luka Doncic were all able to play for their respective teams. Kyrie Irving and Jarred Vanderbilt were out, however. Ultimately, it was the Mavericks that came out on top with a 127-125 victory as the Lakers dropped to 14-10 on the season.
It was a sloppy start to the game with both teams committing some turnovers early. After missing a couple layups, Davis finally got a reverse to go to tie the game at six.
After a quick 5-0 run by the Mavericks, Taurean Prince connected on the first triple of the night for the Lakers. Davis then picked up his second foul, however, so he was forced to the bench early.
With both James and Davis on the bench, the Lakers’ offense predictably struggled. Rui Hachimura came off the bench and scored five straight points to do his part, but L.A. still trailed 34-26 at the end of the first quarter.
Tim Hardaway Jr. was hot for the Mavericks early and that continue to begin the second with a other triple before Austin Reaves responded with one of his own. The Lakers began to lock in defensively from there, allowing them to chip away at their deficit with LeBron taking the ball to the hole at will on the other end.
Dallas went on another run from there though as L.A. couldn’t keep Doncic off the free throw line. Seth Curry then connected from deep and all of the a sudden the Mavericks were up 13.
Turnovers continued to haunt the Lakers as it led to easy looks for the Mavericks, who remained red-hot from 3. The Lakers scored six straight towards the end of the half to stay in it but still went into the locker room trailing 71-61.
Davis was hobbling around with what appeared to be a groin issue towards the end of the first half although he was back in there to start the third quarter. It was James that was getting it done for L.A. early in the third quarter on both ends though and after he made a triple and then Davis made a baby hook, the deficit was down to five with Jason Kidd needing a timeout.
The Lakers were able to go an another run to close the third quarter, giving them their first lead since the opening minutes. Davis was instrumental in that with five straight points, including a triple to beat the buzzer to put his team ahead 95-93 going into the fourth.
James scored to begin the fourth quarter to extend the run to 10-0 before Grant Williams and Dante Exum buried triples to end it.
Doncic, Hardaway, James and Davis continued to lead their respective teams, trading buckets with the game being tied at 108 midway through the fourth quarter. After a pair of Lakers turnovers though, Dallas rattled off five quick points as Exum stayed hot from deep.
While Doncic was great, as advertised, it was the Mavericks’ other guys like Hardaway, Exum and Williams that continued to be a thorn in the Lakers’ side.
Prince was the same thing for Dallas as he hit yet another triple to get the Lakers back within four going into the final two minutes. The Lakers again left Exum wide open though and he again made them pay with another corner triple.
The Lakers weren’t able to respond from there and would go on to suffer the loss.
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