After more than a week off, the Mavs still seemed to be on all-star break mode. That, or they were somewhat distracted in light of this week’s revelations. Nonetheless, the Lakers were able to jump out to a 23-5 lead when the Mavs couldn’t throw a rock in the ocean shooting under 30 percent for the quarter. The Lakers, on the other hand had no issues scoring the ball putting up 32 points on 54 percent shooting. With no Maverick scoring more than three points in the first, the Lakers were able to take a 32-17 lead after one.
The Mavs were able to get some momentum going early in the second finding their stroke from distance. A couple of buckets from long range helped propel the team to a 9-0 run trimming the lead to as little as eight after being down by as many as 19 in the first. that was the only bright spot of the half. In the second quarter the Mavs were way to reliant on the three ball. Of their nine made field goals, six of them were from deep. Conversely, the Lakers were able to score at will at the rim. At the end of the half, Doug McDermott led Dallas in scoring with 9 (all from three), and Randle paced the Lakers with 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Lakers led going into the break, 63-41.
Offensively, the Mavs started the third quarter as well as Carlisle could have drawn it up. Wesley Matthews came out of the locker room scorching hot, knocking in three triples in a row. He wasn’t done, though, canning one more and even shooting the ultimate heat check from 35 feet that bounced around every inch of the rim before rolling off. Look at the box score and see that the Mavericks played a fantastic offensive quarter. As a team they scored 36 points. They shot 54 percent and added eight more three pointers in the quarter. But the Dallas defense couldn’t get enough stops to allow the offense to catch up. The Lakers shot 65 percent in the quarter and faced little resistance in the third frame. Matthews led the way through three with 17, and the Lakers were led by Randles 18 as they took a 95-76 lead into the fourth.
The Mavs were able to trim the lead to around 13 points early in the fourth, but once again, the Lakers were able to absorb the punches and move forward. The game never really got close, and the coaches cleared the benches with about four minutes left in the game. Dallas was led in scoring by Matthews and Harrison Barnes who both dropped 19, while the Lakers were led by Julius Randle’s 18/12/10. The Mavericks (18-41) have now lost three straight and head to Utah for a date with the Jazz tomorrow night. The Lakers (24-34) stop their three game slide and hopefully keep the mojo going tomorrow night against the Sacramento Kings.
The Mavericks defense was awful
There’s really no other more glaring downfall of this game than the Mavericks defensive effort. Once the Mavs went down 23-5 in the first quarter it was practically an insurmountable whole given the Lakers were able to get just about any look they wanted to. For the game they shot 52 percent from the field and 39 percent from deep. They out-rebounded the Mavericks 61-29, and they abused Dallas down low scoring 62 points in the paint compared to the Mavs 26. The Dallas bench was also severely outplayed with the Lakers bench outscoring their counterpart 56-28.
There were times where I thought the Mavericks would make one of their trademark runs after falling behind by double digits to make this a competitive game at the end. But their defense just wouldn’t let them.
The Mavs have a Julius Randle problem
The Mavs were linked as potential Randle suitors pre-deadline, but a deal never came to fruition. After the performances Randle has put in against the Mavericks, I’d be shocked if the front office doesn’t do their due diligence in the summer to see what kind of market he demands. Not including tonight, Randle has averaged 25 points, 12 rebounds and five assists against the Mavs. Tonight, he was even more impressive recording his first triple double of the season with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. There’s no player on the Mavericks roster to matchup with Randle’s strength down low, and Randle knows it. He’d be First Team All NBA if he played the Mavericks every night.
Dirk goes to the locker room, appears to be ok
About midway through the fourth quarter, Dirk subbed himself out and headed back to the locker room. There was nothing clear about what happened. He didn’t take a hard hit or fall, and he was playing fine, scoring 11 points on an efficient 4-of-7 shooting (3-of-5 from deep). So, it was somewhat surprising to see him head back there with no need of assistance. What could have been a scare turned out to be a false alarm. Early reports stated Dirk was stretching his back but could return if needed. There’s not much to this at the moment, but back pain can be tricky and linger. The last thing this season needs is a Dirk injury, so let’s all hope it was just a little tightness and the big guy will be 100 percent moving forward.