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3 thoughts after the Dallas Mavericks come from behind to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers, 108-98

A signature win

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks completed an awesome come from behind victory to vanquish the Los Angeles Lakers, 108-93. Dwight Powell led Dallas, scoring 25 points on nearly perfect shooting. Ben McLemore was the high point man for the Lakers in defeat with 20.

With Kristaps Porzingis and Josh Richardson sitting due to injury, Dallas started Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell, and Dorian Finney-Smith. And for the first time in what feels like weeks, the Mavericks played well early, scoring in a variety of ways including a pair of nifty moves at the rim by Powell. Ben McLemore poured in threes for Los Angeles though and the Maverick bench guards were remarkably ineffective. Things got ugly for both teams to end the quarter in terms of made shots and Dallas found themselves trailing after one, 26-23.

Things got gross in the second quarter; after keeping things close for the first four minutes, the Lakers started aggressively doubling Doncic when he crossed half court and the Mavericks were simply unable to make the Lakers pay. Doncic didn’t help with some very lazy passes leading to turnovers, but if there’s a stretch of game which illustrates the Dallas need for a play maker past Luka, the nine minute mark on in the second quarter is where folks should look. The Lakers nearly built a 20 point lead before a Doncic three and Brunson free throws brought the game back to a closer margin. The Mavericks trailed 58-46 at the half.

Yet despite an ugly first half, the Dallas Mavericks kept coming. Dwight Powell continued his best performance of the season, rebounding the ball, scoring at the rim, and basically playing hard, inspired basketball. The Mavericks chipped and chipped at the Los Angeles lead and despite a number of rough turnovers, found themselves down just three points and one more chance at a basket. Tim Hardaway Jr., who’d hit just 1 of his 10 attempts in he game, dribbled the length of the floor and casually hit a three pointer in the face of Marc Gasol to end the period. With twelve minutes remaining, the Mavericks found themselves tied with the Lakers at 79 all.

With Luka Doncic sitting for four-plus minutes to start the fourth, the Dallas bench mainly held their own. Dallas was down four when Doncic re-entered the game and the Luka-Powell connection stayed true. The Mavericks scored with ease, picking apart a very good Laker defense. A JJ Redick three and a Luka Doncic three gave Dallas a 10 point lead, effectively ending the game with a few minutes left. The Dallas Mavericks completed their largest come back of the season, beating the Lakers 108-93.

Dwight Powell on a roll

This man has been on the butt end of so much criticism for years, some of it understandable and some of it unfair. Against the much bigger Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Powell found himself having the game of his season as the defense continually trapped Luka Doncic on screen and rolls. Time and again, Doncic found a rolling Powell and more often than not, Powell rewarded Doncic’s faith. He scored more points in the second half than at any point in his career.

I don’t know if Powell is “back”. I do know that April Dwight Powell is a real thing (go check his game logs for years, it’s a riot). What an incredible feeling for Powell, a guy who’s been through a lot and keeps showing up to work.

Next man up

To continue the Powell praise, it was incredibly important that someone step up as some usual Maverick stalwarts were simply unable to hit shots. Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, and Jalen Brunson were a very bad 6 of 31 from the floor.

The Mavericks manufactured points in a way we’ve not seen all season, but we’ve also rarely seen a team double Luka Doncic like the Lakers did tonight.

If you don’t want to click on that chart, Luka is the most doubled guy in the league this season. That’s likely to continue since there aren’t many things teams can do to stop him. If that’s the case, a roller with know-how like Powell is going to matter a great deal. His ability to battle through this much adversity and be ready to contribute like he has recently is just outstanding.

Defense and rebounding

Dallas held the Lakers to just 35 second half points. They also held a very big Los Angeles team to just six offensive boards.

I have no idea what the Mavericks did differently outside of play harder (along with getting some timely LA misses) but the effort and the results were obvious. I’d love to read more about what you all think Dallas on this end in the comments.

Here’s the postgame podcast, Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you can’t see the embed below “More from Mavs Moneyball”, click here. And if you haven’t yet, subscribe by searching “Mavs Moneyball podcast” into your favorite podcast app.