After dropping their past two games, the Dallas Mavericks faced off against the young Los Angeles Lakers desperately needing a win.
The Dallas Mavericks vs LA Lakers used to be a big-time matchup with each team being led by their superstars Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant. Now these two teams are scrambling to make their way up from the bottom of the Western Conference. Tonight neither of these players were playing, with Kobe being retired and Dirk inactive due to illness. Despite it not being the blockbuster matchup it used to be, both teams had a lot on the line and it was an entertaining game.
Out of the gate Dallas looked sluggish and couldn’t buy a basket. Add in a hot streak from LA led by Nick Young‘s 4 threes and things did not look optimistic. However, the Mavs’ bench unit provided a lift and somehow Dallas was only down 1 at the end of the first.
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The second was more Lakers action, with D’Angelo Russell and Co. getting just about whatever they wanted offensively. If it weren’t for a strong quarter from Dwight Powell and some Harrison Barnes iso buckets, things could’ve gotten out of hand. Yet Dallas stuck around and kept it relatively close, only trailing by 7 at halftime, 50-57.
Dec 29, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes (40) dunks over Los Angeles Lakers forward Luol Deng (9) in the first quarter of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
To begin the second half, the Mavericks had a rather uncharacteristically good third quarter. They were knocking down shots, getting good looks, and making LA earn all of their points. Wesley Matthews got hot with a couple threes and Powell continued his good play. Dallas ended the third on a 21-5 run.
Thankfully, the fourth was more of the same. This game was a tale of two halves, and Dallas finished the right way. The Lakers looked lethargic and didn’t want to be there, and that was just fine by the Mavs. In the end Dallas cruised to a solid win 101-89.
Wes Matthews led all scorers with 20 points and 6 rebounds. HB provided 17 and 9, and Deron Williams had a solid outing with 8 points and 11 assists. Overall this was a good team effort and win over the kind of team that the Mavericks should be getting wins against. Dallas has a plethora of below .500 teams on the upcoming schedule, and they will need to take advantage of them just like they did tonight.