The Los Angeles Lakers extended their current winning streak to 7 as they cruised past the Dallas Mavericks, 129-114. The win was particularly impressive as the Lakers were without Anthony Davis on the night, who is recovering from a bruised gluteus maximus. How did they fare without him? All they did was put up a casual 45 points in the first quarter, and responded to that with 34 points in the second quarter to boot. Dallas came into the matchup as the fourth best team in the league in third quarter net rating (16.0) over their past 5 games without Kristaps Porzingis, while the Lakers ranked 22nd (-9.8) in the same time frame. This is exactly where the game got a bit nervy, as Dallas cut the Lakers’ lead down to 10, but Los Angeles showed some resiliency in weathering the storm and still leading by 13 at the end of the frame despite both LeBron and Kuzma finishing the quarter on the bench. A 7-0 run to start the fourth was more than enough to put Dallas to the sword, extending their lead to an insurmountable 20 points.
Kyle Kuzma must have heard all of those trade rumors from earlier in the week, because he responded to that adversity by scoring 26 points, 24 of which came in the first half. Outside of him, it was another show-stopping performance from LeBron, who finished with a ridiculous 25-16-7 line on the night to help push the Lakers to 31-7 on the season. Every single Laker finished as a plus in the box score, and it was great to see Los Angeles win the game by committee.
With Davis sidelined, it was up to JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard to man the paint, and they responded with solid performances as they finished +9 and +3, respectively. The pair combined to go 8-8 from the floor, and their rim protection was vital all game.
Los Angeles did as stellar a job as any team in the league in containing Luka Doncic, and while he finished with a 25-10-7 line, but he was inefficient thanks to some great defensive rotations and perimeter defense, as Doncic only shot 8-19 from the field. The only Maverick to hit 50% from the floor or better on 5 or more shots was Boban Marjanovic, and that was too much for Dallas to overcome without Porzingis in the lineup, who missed his sixth straight game.
Unfortunately, the third quarter run from Dallas prevented the Lakers starters from getting too much rest on the first night of a back-to-back, so it will be something to monitor when they take on Oklahoma City on the road on Saturday. Thankfully, closing out the game early in the fourth quarter helped push the Lakers into cruise control with around 8 minutes remaining in the game.
The Lakers now head to Oklahoma where they will take on the surging Thunder at 5:00 PST on Saturday at Chesapeake Arena.