The Los Angeles Lakers returned to Crypto.com Arena on Thursday night, hosting the Dallas Mavericks to begin a five-game homestand.
In a matchup featuring two of the league’s biggest stars in LeBron James and Luka Doncic, it was the Mavericks that came out on top with a thrilling 119-115 double-overtime victory.
James got off to a quick start with four early points and then an assist to Thomas Bryant for a dunk to tie the game at six. The Mavericks responded with a 7-0 run though, forcing a timeout by Darvin Ham.
Although the Lakers answered with four straight points out of the timeout, Tim Hardaway then had a 3-pointer and three-point play so L.A. could not gain any ground.
Dallas continued its hot shooting to stretch an early lead to 15 and despite Russell Westbrook being in attack mode and Troy Brown Jr. beating the buzzer with a 3, the Lakers still went into the second quarter trailing 36-22.
The Lakers got back within single digits two minutes into the second quarter thanks to James and Westbrook continuing to attack the basket, where the Mavericks have struggled defensively this season.
L.A. continued to chip into its deficit for a majority of the second with Westbrook leading the way. He drilled a 3 from the wing after an offensive rebound by Max Christie to cut it to four before Doncic responded with a midrange jumper and a 3 of his own.
James was unhappy with some calls to close the half and Dallas took advantage, extending the lead to 59-48 going into the locker room.
The Lakers had to take another quick timeout in the third when Doncic and Hardaway both hit outside shots to bring the Mavericks lead up to 16.
In just his second career start, Max Christie made a big impact as he had a floater, reverse layup and 3-pointer all in a two-minute span to cut the deficit back to single digits. The Lakers still had some work to do though as they went into the final quarter trailing 82-76.
They wasted no time going to work though, scoring five straight points to begin the fourth. Kendrick Nunn was key in making it close, drilling back-to-back 3s, and then Westbrook hit a midrange fadeaway to tie it at 86 with eight minutes to play.
The Lakers should have been able to take the lead and build off it, but they continuously missed free throws and open 3s that allowed Dallas to stay in front. Westbrook finally hit a huge triple though to get the Lakers back within one with two minutes to play. Wenyen Gabriel then followed suit with one of his own to tie the game.
After an offensive foul by Hardaway, Dennis Schroder drove to the lane for a layup to finally give L.A. a lead. After a Hardaway missed 3, the Lakers looked to be in great shape as Westbrook nailed two free throws to put his team up three with 11 seconds to play.
Unfortunately though, Doncic hit a clutch 3 to tie it with six seconds left. Brown missed a 3 at the buzzer and although he was fouled, there was no call and the game went to overtime.
Things got a bit chippy in overtime as Westbrook hip-checked Doncic and was called for a flagrant foul. After initially jawing at each other, the two stars shook hands as there was no ill-intent there by either.
Gabriel continued to come up massive for his team as he had a pair of three-point plays, the second which gave the Lakers the lead with under two minutes to play. James made a pair of free throws, but then Doncic hit another 3 to tie it once again. Neither team could score on their final possession though, sending it to double overtime.
The teams continued to exchange haymakers in the second overtime period before Dallas began to take control in the final minute. Wood came up with some big blocks while Spencer Dinwiddie had some acrobatic dunks at the rim. With the Lakers trailing by three with 30 seconds to play, James missed a 3 and the Lakers would go on to lose.
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