Dallas went into the fourth quarter up 91-71, routinely holding a bigger Lakers team to one shot per possession through three. Los Angeles was also cold from 3-point territory through three quarters, hitting just six of their first 19 attempts, but that all changed in the fourth.
LeBron James and Austin Reaves conducted an LA run that saw the Mavericks’ 20-point lead whittled down to six on Taurean Prince’s step-back 3-pointer with 6:34 left to play. It was 93-87 at the time, and it got a whole lot more nerve-wracking from there before Dallas found a way to pull out the last-minute win.
Luka Dončić led all scorers with 30 points in the win and also pulled down 13 rebounds and handed out eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 28 points, six boards and two steals in the win. James led the Lakers with 26 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in the loss.
Dallas rookie center Dereck Lively II had to be helped off the floor in the third quarter and was later diagnosed with a lower back contusion. He did not return, grabbing 10 rebounds in the 19 minutes he played. Marc Stein reported after the game that Lively walked under his own power near the Mavericks’ locker room and insisted to Stein that he was “fine.”
Here are four key stats that loomed large in the win.
3-of-19: Mavericks shooting in the fourth quarter
Dallas courted disaster to the tune of 0-of-11 shooting to start the fourth to let the Lakers back in the game. It was truly ugly to watch the Mavericks limp to the finish line. The Mavs’ first field goal of the fourth came when Dončić banked home a tough mid-range jumper with just over 4 minutes left to play to make it 97-92.
Irving’s layup 30 seconds later made it 99-92, but the Lakers scored the game’s next nine points, taking a 101-99 lead on James’ tip-in on the offensive board with just 1:16 on the clock. At that point, they had outscored the Mavs 30-8 in the quarter.
Dončić, as he does so often, sucked the defense into the lane on a post-up from the elbow and found Irving open on the wing for his fourth 3-pointer of the game. Reaves flailed at it, but it was true, and it put the Mavs back in front for good, 102-101, with 22 seconds left.
James scored 16 and Reaves added nine points in the Lakers fourth-quarter comeback attempt.
1-of-6: Lakers’ free-throw shooting in fourth quarter
The Lakers definitely had a hand in sabotaging their own comeback attempt, though. They shot just 1-of-6 from the free-throw line down the stretch. Jaxson Hayes missed a pair with 4:37 left to play and the Mavericks clinging to a 95-92 lead. James missed a pair with 3:46 left that let the Mavs hang onto the lead a little longer as well.
The Mavs were 6-of-8 at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and 12-of-16 for the game, while the Lakers shot 12-of-19 overall in the loss.
18-6: The Mavericks’ advantage in fast-break points
The Lakers came into Wednesday night’s matchup averaging 17.1 fast-break points per game since Nov. 10, third in the NBA in that span. But the Mavericks were the ones who pushed the pace to their advantage, especially in the first three quarters.
Irving’s quick-trigger transition 3-pointer was in full effect against the Lakers, and he was the best Dallas 3-point shooter all night, hitting four of his eight attempts from deep.
4: Dallas turnovers
The Mavericks committed just four turnovers in the 104-101 win. It’s their lowest turnover total in a game this season. The Mavs committed just six turnovers in the team’s 136-124 win at New Orleans in their previous low.
You can listen to our latest podcast episode in the player embedded below, and to make sure you don’t miss a single one moving forward, subscribe to the Pod Maverick podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Pocketcasts, or Castbox.
You can check out our After Dark Recap podcasts, Spotify Live recordings, Moneyball Minute shows, and guest shows on the Pod Maverick Podcast feed. Please subscribe, rate, and review.