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  • Eric Martinez

Lakers possibly saved their season with a huge comeback over Dallas, 111-108

The sound of celebration from the visitor’s locker room echoed the hallways of the American Airlines Center. The Lakers understood what it took to get a road win against a team that, offensively, is a threat in the Western Conference. Lakers head coach, Darvin Ham, encouraged the energy and effort. “The guys never got discouraged. They had that look of frustration, but it wasn’t a look of defeated on their faces. Everybody just wanted to stay encouraged.”

The Mavericks started the game making shot after shot and held a 12-point lead at the end of the first quarter. Much more of the same continued in the second quarter, as the lead was as large as 27 points at one point. Luka Doncic ended the game with 26 points on 10 of 22 field goal shots made, 9 rebounds, and only 5 assists.

The Lakers gave the responsibility of guarding Luka to newly acquired Jarred Vanderbilt. In addition to his defensive energy, he contributed 15 points and 17 rebounds. LA sparked a comeback based on defense and attacked the paint. They shot 43.3% from the field and held the Mavericks to 41.9%. Even with a low percentage from three-point range (17.6%) compared to Mavs 40.8%, they countered by scoring 62 of the 111 points in the paint. The Mavericks show unbelievable vulnerability defending the paint.

The Lakers caused 17 turnovers and outrebounded the Mavericks 56 to 48. LeBron James contributed 30 points and 15 rebounds, and Anthony Davis led the way in points with 30 points and 15 rebounds. When healthy, the new look Lakers have found a rotation in the lineup that allows players to flourish at their roles.

Dennis Schroder continues to have the green light on shooting making 5 of 12 three’s and ending the game with 16 points. The role players are key to pick up each other when the others struggle. It was not the best night for Hachimura nor Beasley, but Austin Reaves, Vanderbilt, and Troy Brown Jr. picked up the slack scoring a combined 29 points. LeBron James had a scare late in the game as he landed awkwardly on his right leg, but he did stay in the game leading to a game tying 3-point shot. Lakers capture the win hitting key free throws down the stretch to take the 111-108 victory after being down 27 points at one point of the game.

For the Mavericks, coach Jason Kidd knows there has to be a formula for the team to win these close games. “We have to grow up if we want to win a championship. What the Lakers just showed us is it’s not the rabbit that wins; it’s the turtle and they worked the game and that’s what we have to get better at.” Dallas holds the number 6 seed still and end February hosting the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. LA Lakers hold a 3 game winning streak dating back to before the All-Star break. March will start off a challenge as the Lakers travel to Memphis to play the Grizzlies on Tuesday followed by a back-to-back on Wednesday to face a surging Oklahoma City Thunder. Lakers are still the 12th seed in the Western Conference.

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