The Los Angeles Lakers returned home on Friday night, hosting the Dallas Mavericks in an extremely important game given the landscape of the Western Conference standings.
Both teams were missing key stars in LeBron James and Luka Doncic, but Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving were able to play despite the respective injuries they’ve been dealing with.
The Mavericks came in tied for seventh, one game ahead of the Lakers in the standings. With a win, the Lakers would tie Dallas and gain ground on others, but they unfortunately lost on a buzzer-beating 2-pointer by Maxi Kleber, 111-110.
Davis and the Lakers got off to a quick 14-7 start, although Reggie Bullock drained a pair of 3-pointers to start an 10-0 Mavericks run to regain the lead.
There wasn’t much defense played in the first quarter with bench players like Rui Hachimura and Tim Hardaway Jr. filling it up offensively. The Lakers closed the quarter strong though and went into the second with a 33-29 lead.
Wenyen Gabriel gave the Lakers good energy off the bench on both ends to begin the second, coming up with some buckets inside. Dallas responded with another 10-0 run though with Davis Bertans drilling back-to-back deep 3s.
After the Lakers fell down by nine, Austin Reaves came up with some big buckets and free throws to keep it from getting out of hand. The Mavericks’ hot shooting continued though and they went into the halftime locker room leading 62-54.
Irving came out and scored six straight points to begin the second half with the Lakers continuing to lack urgency. After Irving picked up his fourth foul though, the Lakers made a bit of a run with Jarred Vanderbilt’s three-point play bringing them back within six after a 7-0 spurt.
Davis started to get going again for L.A., although he also picked up his fourth foul on a moving screen and was forced to join Irving on the bench. The Lakers’ second unit kept the run going for a moment, but the Mavericks got hot again to close the quarter and took an 89-80 lead into the fourth and final period.
Dennis Schroder connected on a couple of shots to begin the quarter, and Gabriel gave the Lakers some much-needed energy but bring them all the way back. After a bucket by Reaves, L.A. had its first lead since the second quarter.
Despite some missed free throws, the Lakers worked their lead up to five after a floater by Schroder. The Lakers locked in defensively, although Irving continued to be a torn in their side with big buckets to keep his team in it.
The Lakers managed to hold Dallas off until the final seconds when the Mavericks got the ball down by two. Irving was double-teamed and found Kleber though, who ripped the Lakers’ hearts out with a buzzer-beater.
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