The Mavericks started out hitting their shots, which put them in control of the game early. They shot 50 percent from deep in the first quarter. But the shots stopped falling in the second quarter and the Lakers made a run. The Mavericks only shot 22 percent on threes in the second quarter, and the Lakers made an assault on the rim. LeBron James and Russell Westbrook bludgeoned Dallas in the paint, combining for 14 points. They closed the lead to four points before Luka Doncic took over and made a couple big plays. The Mavericks went into the half up 11.
The poor shooting continued for the Mavericks in the third quarter, and the Lakers continued to relentlessly chip away at the Dallas lead. The Lakers finally caught the Mavericks late in the fourth quarter, holding the slimmest of margins through the final few minutes. They pushed the lead to three points, but Doncic buried a step-back three to tie the game. James couldn’t get the game winner on the Lakers’ last possession, and the game went to overtime.
The Lakers were able to cobble together a three point lead late in overtime again, leading 108-105, but Doncic created magic again, tying the game with another step-back three. The game went to a second overtime, and that’s where the Lakers finally ran out of gas. Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie kept attacking the exhausted Lakers defense. The Lakers scored only two points in the final 2:38 seconds of the game. The Mavericks held on for the win.
Doncic led all scorers with 35 points. He had 12 rebounds and 14 assists, notching another triple-double. Christian Wood chipped in 24 points. Westbrook led the Lakers with 28 points, and James had 24.
Here are three thoughts from the game:
The Mavericks got out and ran early, but couldn’t keep it up
Dallas is dead last in the league in fast break points, scoring only 9.7 per game. They’re second to last in the NBA in pace, with only the Cleveland Cavaliers playing slower. Tonight, they had six fast break points in the first half alone. The Lakers missed shots early, and the Mavericks were able to get out and run, scoring easy baskets and drawing fouls.
In the second half, though, they returned to the plodding Mavericks we’re used to seeing. They only scored two fast break points the rest of the game. The Lakers continued missing jump shots, but the Mavericks didn’t rebound off those misses and push the ball. They refused to put pressure on the Lakers like they did in the first half, and it gave the Lakers more life than they should have had for how poorly they played on offense. The Lakers outscored the Mavericks 18-8 in fast break points.
The Lakers hustled more than the Mavericks all night, but the Mavericks shooting prevailed
The Mavericks outshot the Lakers in every respect. They had a higher field goal percentage from the field (50 percent to 39.3 percent) and on 3-pointers (33.3 percent to 24.4 percent). But the Lakers attacked the paint all night, taking 61 attempts compared to the Mavericks’ 47 attempts in the lane. The attempted 27 free throws to the Mavericks’ 17. They outscored the Mavericks in second chance points 23-4. They lapped Dallas in fast break points, as shown above. If they’d been able to shoot just a little better, they probably could have won. The Mavericks have to find more energy against the cellar dwellers of the NBA.
Luka Doncic consistently shows he’s clutch
Doncic already has plenty of game winning shots in his young career. He’s got even more clutch shots late in games. Tonight just added to that legacy. He tied the game with a three to send it to overtime, and did the same to keep the Mavericks alive in the second overtime. But it’s not just the fact that he did it. It’s that you expect him to hit those shots. It’s more surprising when he misses them now. And they look so effortless, despite playing against the best competition in the world. It’s truly wild to consider that Doncic has so many more incredible moments like these ahead of him.
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