On a Monday night in Dallas, with LeBron James out due to injury, the Mavericks were defeated by the Lakers 107-97 after leading by 13 at halftime. Luka Doncic led the team with 27 points and added 8 rebounds, as well.
This is the Mavericks third loss in the row, making them 3-11 in their last fourteen games. Here’s what we learned:
Despite his struggles of late, the Mavericks are not well-suited to deal with an athlete like Brandon Ingram. He’s too long, too fast, too crafty and too strong for anyone on the team to defend (29 points on 12/21 shooting), and he’s exactly the kind of defender that can give Harrison Barnes fits (11 points on 3/13 shooting).
The story of the game might end up being Lonzo Ball vs. Luka Doncic (more on that in a second), but ask any player on the court and they’ll tell you that Brandon Ingram is the reason the Lakers ran away with this one.
Lonzo vs. Luka
Last year’s #2 overall draft pick vs. this year’s #3 overall draft pick turned out to be a nice matchup, with Lonzo Ball and Luka Doncic going head-to-head on both ends of the court on more often than not.
Lonzo and Luka nearly mirrored each other in the box score as well...
21 pts (8/15 FG)
27 pts (10/23 FG)
With more efficient shooting and more assists, Lonzo narrowly wins this round, but he had a more productive supporting cast around him on this night. Which isn’t to say that Luka wasn’t a spectacular highlight reel, as per usual...
Luka Doncic with the stepback three with Josh Hart looking the other way pic.twitter.com/4czwCYtvSK— Nick Angstadt (@NickVanExit) January 8, 2019
Luka was the only player getting anything done on the offensive end for the Mavericks. I mean that quite literally, as he was the only Dallas player that scored more than 20 points. At the end of the day, the Mavs aren’t going to win if Luka is the only one putting the ball in the basket.
The Dallas Mavericks offense was run, almost exclusively, through Luka and J.J. Barea. This isn’t a bad thing! In fact, the team might want to find a way to do this even more. Maybe they can institute a “no passing” rule for everyone else on the team. Because when DeAndre Jordan (10 pts, 5 turnovers) was throwing passes into traffic from the high post, or Wes Matthews (5 points, 3 turnovers) was trying to find nobody for alley-oops, it led to quite a lot of turnovers.
The Lakers weren’t exactly careful with the ball either, giving away 14 turnovers, but the Mavs bordered on reckless with their 19 turnovers. This, against a team that struggles to get anything going in their half court offense without LeBron James. The Los Angeles Lakers scored 34 fast break points (compared to just five fast break points for the Mavs).
It’s worth mentioning, though, that the Mavericks’ bad passing also led to missed opportunities. If you’re looking for a stat to represent that one, just look at the difference in assists between the teams on this night:
Lakers: 28 assists
Mavericks: 12 assists
Losing the Interior Battle
DeAndre Jordan had a couple of showy blocks in this one, and but the highlights won’t show you how often he avoided contact or simply didn’t jump to meet a driving Laker. Yes, he led the game in rebounds (Josh Hart had the second most, oddly enough), but it’s telling that L.A. had no issues scoring despite shooting just 27% from 3 pt range.
DeAndre was supposed to be a rim protector when Dallas signed him, but the Mavericks’ best run in this one came with Dorian Finney-Smith and Dwight Powell grabbing offensive rebounds and offering plenty of contact for anyone that felt like coming into the paint on the other end. Unfortunately, neither of those guys got many minutes in the second half, with the lead disintegrating.