Mavs End 10-Game Lakers Winning Streak With 114-100 Victory in L.A.
When the offense is clicking and Luka Doncic is playing the way he has for the majority of the first 19 games of this season, the Dallas Mavericks are a very dangerous team.
When the defense gets in on the fun, as it did in their 114-110 over LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the league-best Lakers, they look like a legitimate Western Conference contender.
As evidenced by their 10-game winning streak and their 17-2 record entering Sunday's matchup against the Mavs, LeBron, and the Lakers were (and maybe still are) worthy of the 'league-best' designation.
With that said, what the Mavericks have done, especially since their second of two losses to the New York Knicks, is nothing short of extraordinary, winning seven of their last eight, with the lone loss coming at the hands of the Kawhi Leonard- and Paul George-led Los Angeles Clippers.
For most of that time, it has been the Luka Doncic Show. And that is fine. After all, he was incredible in the month of November, averaging 32.4 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 10.4 assists over that 15-game stretch. But ...
“It was awful, awful for me,” Doncic said of his slow start to this one. “In the second half, I was better, felt better. I just kept attacking, trust your shot, and I’m so glad we got that win.”
Indeed, in the second half of Sunday's matinee, the full capabilities of these Dallas Mavericks showed up on both ends of the floor, and they looked very difficult to beat, a 17-0 run the centerpiece of it all.
Offensively, the Mavs had five different players score at least 15 points, including 27 from Doncic, who also added 10 assists, nine rebounds, and three steals. Delon Wright also added 17 points off of the bench, while Justin Jackson, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dwight Powell all contributed 15 of their own, with the latter adding nine rebounds.
Defensively, things were even more impressive, as Dallas kept the Lakers out of the paint for the vast majority of the second-half proceedings, and forced them to into tough contested looks on the outside with suffocating perimeter play.
“In the second half, we played one of our best defensive halves (of the year) against a team that’s got the best record in the league,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "So, we did good things and stuck together and it’s a really good win for us.”
As a result, the Lakers hit just 25.9-percent from three, and turned the ball over 17 times, as the Mavs held them to just 38 second-half points.
More importantly, however, while LeBron James (25 points) and Anthony Davis (27 points) each had nice games of their own, Dallas was able to neutralize the Laker supporting cast, with Alex Caruso finishing as the only other Laker in double figures with 10 points.
With another impressive win in their pocket (a win witnessed by Dirk Nowitzki, by the way), the Mavs (13-6) have moved into a tie with the Houston Rockets for the fourth seed in the Western Conference, where they sit just half-a-game back of the Clippers for third place.
Dallas will look to keep the momentum from their winning ways moving forward on Tuesday night when they travel to New Orleans to take on Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram and the Pelicans (6-13) in the second matchup of the season between the two teams.
The Mavericks got the better of the Pelicans in their October matchup, winning 123-116 in New Orleans behind a 25-point, 10-rebound, 10-assists triple-double from Luka Doncic.
“We’re going to stay humble,” Carlisle said. “We move on to another hard game on Tuesday on national TV, and New Orleans will be sky high for that. Every time we have a game like this, people are more than ever throwing their best game at us. There’s a certain responsibility you have when you get on a roll like this. We just got to understand it, keep our eye on the ball, stay focused, stay humble and stick together.”