The Los Angeles Lakers played a rare Christmas Day game on the road this year, starting a road trip with a contest against the Dallas Mavericks. It marked the 17th Christmas game for LeBron James, breaking a tie with Kobe Bryant for the most in NBA history.
The Lakers were still without Anthony Davis though and Luka Doncic and the Mavericks proved to be too much in a 124-115 loss.
L.A. got off to a quick start as Lonnie Walker IV drilled a 3 and then James finished a dunk in transition. James continued to attack the paint early, finishing two more in the restricted area to give the Lakers an early 17-6 lead.
Doncic didn’t score until eight minutes into the game as the Lakers put together a solid defensive game plan early, throwing double teams at him on just about every possession. That bucket got Doncic going as he followed with a 3 to get his team back within single digits.
Russell Westbrook was aggressively looking to score in his first shift, bringing back mixed results. He hit a layup and a free throw to close the quarter though, giving L.A. a 28-21 lead.
James continued his aggressiveness to begin the second quarter, making it a point to get to the hoop instead of settling for jumpers. The Mavericks finally got going from deep with a couple of 3s though, forcing Darvin Ham to call timeout with L.A.’s lead being cut to six.
After bringing James back into the game to stop the bleeding, the Lakers went on an 8-0 run with Walker and Westbrook draining back-to-back triples. L.A. eventually went into the halftime locker room with a double-digit lead at 54-43.
The Mavericks continued their hot shoot at the start of the third quarter, making four attempts in the first four minutes to cut their deficit to just three.
Walker answered with a 3, but that still didn’t stop Dallas’ barrage as they regained the lead and eventually worked it up to double digits. After scoring just 43 points in the first half, the Mavericks simply could not miss in the third quarter.
They scored an insane 51 points in the third, the most in the NBA this season, to take a 94-75 lead into the final period. The Lakers had no answer for Doncic, who was getting into the paint for easy buckets while also getting his teammates open looks from deep.
The Lakers began the fourth quarter on a run, scoring nine straight points to get their deficit back to 10. Tim Hardaway Jr. responded with a personal 5-0 run though to make it a bit more comfortable for the Mavericks.
Doncic appeared to foul out with four minutes to play, although Jason Kidd challenged and the foul was rescinded. It didn’t make much of a difference either way as the Lakers could not make a late comeback, dropping to 13-20 on the season with the loss.
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