The Los Angeles Lakers went into Sunday’s action with a ten-game winning streak, but the Dallas Mavericks had a chance to end that streak. Things didn’t start off well for Dallas. The Lakers were able to jump out to a 15-5 lead. During that early part, the Lakers looked like the much more ready team. However, Dallas quickly turned that around and ended up winning in runaway fashion, 114-100.
The Mavericks End the Lakers Winning Streak
A Monster Third Quarter
Dallas was outplayed in the first half but had managed to only go into the half with a 62-59 deficit.
In the third quarter, the game turned around in a big way. Luka Doncic spearheaded the effort with 16 points during the frame.
There was also a 17-0 Mavericks run during the quarter. All-in-all, Dallas won the quarter 35-17. That margin for the quarter also includes a 10-0 Lakers run after Dallas had separated themselves.
The key cog in this run was the defense. The Dallas offense was clicking as usual during the quarter, but they took their defense to another level. Los Angeles did miss some open looks, but Dallas did a great job of not letting LeBron James or Anthony Davis get easy looks and really get going.
That was a welcome sight after both Lakers stars mostly got what they wanted in the first half.
Dallas switched to a zone defense in the quarter, which forced the Lakers into a lot of jump shots, which was a good thing for Dallas because the Lakers are not a jump-shooting team. It also led to the Lakers being stagnant offensively when it came to player movement.
For whatever reason, Dallas also rebounded better out of the zone. Los Angeles has better individual rebounders, but after the start of the game, the Mavericks did a great job team rebounding.
Another big part of the third quarter was Dallas keeping their composure while the Lakers did not. The Mavericks defense was clearly frustrating the Lakers, leading to a lot of turnovers and missed shots.
During that time, the Lakers picked up two technical fouls. One on Frank Vogel and the other on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
And it wasn’t just the technical fouls. There were plenty of other times when the Lakers would be more distracted complaining to the officials instead of playing basketball. During that time, Dallas just continued to play.
Dallas keeping their composure and continuing to play seemed to pay dividends for their offense and the Lakers continuing to focus on the calls led to them standing around on offense.
Great Bench Production
Doncic was the star of the show as usual, and Kristaps Porzingis scored 15 points. However, there were a few very good performances off the bench.
Justin Jackson came in and went 6/10 from the field while going 3/5 from deep, ending up with 15 points. Maxi Kleber only finished with six points, but he pulled down nine rebounds, while also being a critical defender inside.
The best performance off the bench though was Delon Wright. The backup point guard came in and provided a scoring punch, going for 17 points on 7/12 shooting and 3/6 from deep. He also pitched in five rebounds, nine assists, and four steals.
If Dallas is going to get anything close to that level of production from the bench, especially Wright, they will be in a great spot.
Also, not a bench player, but Dwight Powell scored 15 points to go with nine rebounds and played good defense on the interior.
Mavericks Down the Lakers: Overall Thoughts
This was a huge win. On this three-game road trip, this was the most difficult game, at least on paper.
Dallas has now shown twice that they can play with the Lakers. Perhaps the most important aspect of this game was the way that Dallas came out and played defense in this game.
On the season the Mavericks have been a pretty average defensive team, but it’s possible they figured something out on that end of the floor in this game.
The next step is just finding a consistent effort on that side of the floor, and they will have a chance to do that on Tuesday against the Pelicans in New Orleans on TNT.
Top Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images