Lakers defeat Mavs for first time this season, 127-110

The Lakers scored 42 points in the third to put the game away.

LOS ANGELES — Ya know, maybe y’all really rolled a 20 on the D20.

The Lakers defended their home court admirably against a returning Luka Doncic (after he missed three games due to an ankle injury) and the Dallas Mavericks as they begin their second half of the 2023-24 campaign with a win, 127-110.

The Mavs were led early by the lively Dereck Lively II (as opposed to Blake Lively, right?). He scored 8 of the Mavericks’ first 10 points. But the Laker stars got going (it’s kind of great to have those on your team) and pushed the Lakers ahead, 32-26, after one.

Luka Doncic did get going while Kyrie Irving struggled with his offense (he did hurt his hip in the first half). The Lakers stayed ahead as their new (old) starting backcourt of D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves got on a bit of a roll. L.A. had a slim lead, 55-53.

But the Lakers, unlike most of the last two years, got it going in the third period. They were pretty much getting whatever they wanted on the offensive end. L.A. made 11 straight shots at one point as it looked like a lay-up line. Los Angeles dropped a 40-piece (42, to be accurate!). Grant Williams did make a three to make the tally a little bit more respectable as L.A. led, 97-80, entering the fourth. Lakers kept the fire going in the fourth and the Mavs never seriously challenged again as they decided to wave white flags from the bench. No, not literally but that would’ve been hilarious.

It certainly helped that Kyrie Irving did not shoot well (as mentioned in the preview, he had averaged 37.4 points in the five games before this one). And while Luka did put up big stats, at times, he looked off. Probably just shaking off the rust. The Mavs also did not shoot well from three (9 for 36, .250); Lakers were fortunate that the Mavs missed some but they were able to close better in the second half. Meanwhile, the Lakers went 12 for 28 (.429)! That’s excellent for any team.

And as I said in that preview, the Lakers had to make the Mavericks uncomfortable (14 total turnovers by the Mavs in their first two match-ups but 15 on Wednesday night). I loved that Jarred Vanderbilt had a disruptive play on the inbounds pass that gave the ball back to the Lakers and they were up by 23 at that point!

The Lakers have defeated two very good teams in those last two games and you gotta love the intensity on both ends of the court. They do have Brooklyn up next on Friday. While the standings show that they shouldn’t pose much of a challenge compared to the two previous opponents (Nets aren’t that bad at 16-23), these are the games the Lakers should take care of. The Lakers are back to .500 at 21-21 and I’m sure they’d rather be way above that.

D’Angelo Russell has been fantastic since he got back to the starting line-up; he put in 29 points to lead L.A. Anthony Davis flirted with a triple-double at 28-11-9. LeBron got going late to end at 25 points. As for the Mavs, Luka Doncic did get that triple-double (33-13-10) while Dereck Lively II went 8 for 9 to end with 16. Kyrie Irving had a brick-filled night as he went 4 for 16 (12 points).

Let’s see if the Lakers can make it three straight wins before they enter the weekend.