Late rally comes up short as Lakers fall to Mavericks in thriller, 104-101

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Incredible comeback thwarted by Kyrie Irving's big shot and costly Laker turnovers

LOS ANGELES – Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving seemingly had this one in control for three quarters before an incredible late charge got the Lakers back in the game. Austin Reaves and LeBron James both had excellent fourth quarters to give the Lakers the lead down the stretch, but ultimately the Mavericks prevailed in a thriller to improve to 10-5.

The Lakers were down twenty points heading into the fourth quarter in what looked to be a blowout for a majority of the game. Then a furious comeback gave them the lead very late down the stretch before Kyrie Irving took over amidst some questionable decisions by LeBron James. 

Irving drained a three-pointer to give the Mavericks a one point lead with under 25 seconds left, then an uncharacteristic LeBron James turnover and a missed three at the buzzer sealed the deal.

The Lakers are now 9-7 on the year.

Here are my three takeaways:

I know I mentioned it many times before, but this was one of the best comebacks by any team in the NBA this season, just to get it to a one possession game. It was another balanced effort from the team, although some turnovers and lackadaisical defense got the Lakers down big in the first three quarters.

I understand it was a back-to-back (which makes this game even more impressive), but time and time again this team finds ways to play from behind. We see what happens when the Lakers get off to a good start, as evidenced by their game on Tuesday night against Utah. Building a lead helps momentum and energy. Wednesday night, it did them in, regardless of how great they were in the fourth quarter. 

Davis looked fantastic on both ends in Tuesday’s blowout win against the Jazz, but against the Mavericks, he never got it going. Davis’ presence alone in the paint is enough to deter the opposing team’s offense from approaching, so the Mavericks had another plan. They shot a ton of perimeter shots and generated great looks because of their actions. 

Davis couldn’t really affect the game on the defensive end and that leads to disengagement on the offensive end with him most times. Laker fans have major concerns with Davis’ ability to stay consistent with his dominant play from game to game, and Wednesday night’s game against Dallas showed why. He went 4-10 from the field and scored only 10 points. That is not what he is capable of, especially when Dallas’ starting center was removed from the game due to an injury. 

Cam Reddish was ruled out with lingering groin soreness from the night before, so in came Christie into the starting five. In 23 minutes, Christie provided a solid 7 points to go along with a couple of rebounds. Not just that, but his defense against premier offensive talent Kyrie Irving was admirable (although Irving still ended up with 28 points).

Christie has shown strides of improvement and maturity which probably deemed him worthy enough of a starting spot on Wednesday. I would like to see him get more time in the rotations, especially with players injured and some shooting struggles from players such as Taurean Prince and D’Angelo Russell. 

At worst, he can provide some good perimeter defense and at best he can be a connector, slasher, and spot up three point shooter. Laker fans should be happy with his progress so far.

The Lakers have two days off before going on an east coast road trip. Tip-off in Cleveland against the Cavaliers on Saturday is at 4:30 PM PST.