Coming into their Monday night matchup with the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers were desperate for a win after losing three games in a row for the first time since the start of the season. The Lakers have fallen to the 8th seed in the West, but are now 2 games behind the 7th seed.
Los Angeles did see Kyle Kuzma return from his back injury, but were still without LeBron James and Rajon Rondo. The Lakers need Kuzma’s scoring and passion for the game, something that has lacked in Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. On the other hand, the Dallas Mavericks were 15-3 at home coming into this game.
The Lakers, much like they have the past 3 games, got off to a rough start in the first half. They were outscored by Dallas 25-33 in the first quarter. The Lakers weren’t playing terrible, but their lackluster defense led to hot shooting from the Mavs. Outscored 34-29 in the second quarter, the Lakers found themselves down 13 at halftime, but the Lakers weren’t showing any signs of giving up.
The third quarter was what the Lakers were waiting for, outscoring the Mavs 32-13 with major contributions from Beasley, Ingram, Kuzma, and Ball. The Lakers maintained a lead throughout the fourth quarter as they closed out their second-half rally to beat the Mavs 107-97.
The Lakers saw good production from a number of players, including Brandon Ingram (29 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals), Lonzo Ball (21 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals), Josh Hart (14 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals), Kyle Kuzma (13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) and Michael Beasley (13 points, 1 assist, 1 block).
The Lakers struggled in the first couple of minutes, allowing the Mavericks to score the first 5 points of the game. A three-pointer by Lonzo finally put the Lakers on the first a little over 2 minutes into the quarter. A 6-0 run by the Mavs put the Lakers in a tough spot early.
Ingram connected on a layup, followed by dunks from Lonzo and Ingram to force a timeout with the Lakers down just 2 points. The Mavs started to hit their shots again, but the Lakers were keeping up thanks to layups by Hart and Ingram, followed by another three-pointer from Lonzo.
With 4 minutes remaining, JaVale McGee finished a monster dunk in transition, but the Mavs continued to pour it on. In the closing minutes, Zubac hit a couple free throws and a layup, and KCP hit his first three-pointer of the game, but the Lakers were outscored 25-33 in the first quarter.
Q1 Score: Los Angeles Lakers 25 - 33 Dallas Mavericks
Q1 MVP: Lonzo Ball (8 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2-4 3PT)
The Lakers once again struggled to start the quarter, but Michael Beasley scored 4 early points and Chandler scored a layup as the Lakers found themselves down 31-44. Both teams began to score back-and-forth, with help from Beasley, Ingram and Kuzma. The Lakers cut the deficit to 10 points with 6:20 left in the second quarter.
Lonzo hit a three-pointer, but the Mavs had an answer for it. Kyle Kuzma scored the Lakers’ next 3 points, but the Lakers’ defense continued to struggle. The Lakers started to fall behind again.
In the closing minutes, Brandon Ingram hit a layup, Hart converted an and-one, and Hart also finished a buzzer beater jumper, but the Lakers were still down 13 points headed into halftime.
Halftime Score: Los Angeles Lakers 54 - 67 Dallas Mavericks
Q2 MVP: Brandon Ingram (8 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists)
Kuzma opened the scoring in the second half with a three-pointer, followed by a jumper from Lonzo to force a timeout by the Mavs. Kuzma scored another three-pointer early in the quarter, while a layup by McGee cut the Mavs’ lead down to 7 points. Free throws started to help the Lakers climb back, as they eventually cut the deficit to 3 points.
With 5 minutes remaining, Ingram finished a dunk in transition and layup down low to continue the comeback, with a free throw finally tying the game back up at 76. An alley-oop by Lonzo kep the game tied as the quarter winded down.
In the final two minutes of the quarter, Beasley finished a layup, while a dunk by Lonzo gave the Lakers their first lead of the game. Another bucket by Beasley, followed by two free throws, extended the Lakers’ lead heading into the final quarter.
Q3 Score: Los Angeles Lakers 86 - 80 Dallas Mavericks
Q3 MVP: Team outscored Mavs 32-13
The Lakers scored the first bucket of the fourth quarter off a putback by Hart thanks to a steal by KCP. A layup by Ingram and free throw from Beasley kept the Lakers on top early on. Beasley and Ingram would later get banged up on back-to-back plays -- Ingram would remain in the game.
The Lakers would respond by extending their run to 8 straight points thanks to a three-pointer by Hart and layup by Ingram. The Mavs started to cut into the Lakers’ lead, but a three-pointer by Lonzo silenced the crowd as the Lakers maintained an 11-point lead with just a little over 4 minutes left in the game.
The Mavericks brought the lead down to 7, but a monster dunk by McGee kept the momentum in LA’s favor. In the final two minutes of play, McGee finished another dunk, Ingram hit a driving layup, and Kuzma hit a free throw to close out the victory for the Lakers.
Final Quarter: Los Angeles Lakers 107 - 97 Dallas Mavericks
Q4 MVP: Brandon Ingram (7 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists)
The Los Angeles Lakers turned a 13-point halftime deficit, into a 10-point victory against the Dallas Mavericks. It was a much needed win, as the Lakers snapped their 3-game losing streak and handed Dallas just their 4th loss at home this season. With LeBron James nearing a return, it’s encouraging to see LA rally in the second half to come back and win.
The Lakers shot 44% from the field, 27% from long range and 71% from the charity stripe. They added 52 rebounds, 14 offensive rebounds, 12 assists, 10 steals, 7 blocks, 19 turnovers, 5 fast break points, 46 points in the paint and 20 personal fouls.
The Lakers’ next game is on Wednesday night as they take on the Detroit Pistons at home.
by Ryan Brennan