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2020-21 Mavericks’ Flashback: Christmas Day vs Los Angeles Lakers

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Mavericks were 0-2 after losing to the Los Angeles Laker

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The season is over for the Dallas Mavericks. Now, all eyes are on the offseason and August 2nd when teams can begin negotiating with free agents.

But we of all people know that waiting for the next big free agent to sign with the Mavericks can be stressful. And basketball should be fun. We also know the real Mavericks basketball junkies can’t wait until October when the 2021-22 season is supposed to start. This is why we’ll do some flashback posts, to relive some of the fun and forgotten moments of the past season.

What happened

The Mavericks lost the second game of the season, 138-118 to the Los Angeles Lakers. Luka Dončić scored 27 points for the Mavericks, but Anthony Davis with 28 points and Lebron James with 22 points and 10 assists were too much for Dallas to handle. Dallas got destroyed on the offensive glass. The Lakers had 17 offensive rebounds, grabbing an astonishing 41 percent of their missed shots.

Fun moments

Secondary playmaking is a hot topic among the Mavericks fans now. Most probably forgot, that Rick Carlisle used James Johnson as the secondary ball handler off the bench. Johnson’s assist rate (percentage of teammates’ made shots Johnson assisted on) was very high at the beginning of the season.

James Johnsons’ assist rate trend (Source: Cleaning the Glass)

Using Johnson as the secondary playmaker brought mixed results, but the ‘James Johnson experience’ is never boring. Johnson ran some incredible plays, like this one early in the second quarter. This is Mavericks’ Five-Out offense at its best. You can see the play start with Johnson running off a stagger screen from the right corner, and receiving a pitch pass from Tim Hardaway Jr. Then Johnson throws an amazing between-the-legs boomerang pass back to Hardaway Jr. while screening at the same time.

Apart from Dončić, Johnson was definitely the most dynamic and creative playmaker on the Mavericks roster. Here is another play where Johnson created an open shot for his teammate with his screen and hand-off move.

However, some of his wild turnovers were too much for Carlisle who likes to run a low-risk offense. Johnson shooting only 25 percent from three-point range as a Maverick sealed his hope for a rotation place. Johnson was eventually traded to New Orleans Pelicans as a part of the J.J. Redick trade.

On to the next one!