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Lethargic Lakers Lose to Mavericks 102-98

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A cold start where the Lakers showed obvious signs of fatigue ultimately doomed the squad in its third game without Kobe Bryant.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Evidently the Holiday season did not leave the Mavericks in a giving mood, as they absolutely took it to the Lakers on the second night of the purple and gold squad's road back-to-back. Rajon Rondo had his "breakout" game in a Mavericks uniform, scoring 21 points to go with 7 assists and 8 rebounds on 10-17 shooting, and overall just gobbling up stats like they were delicious bagels at his famous breakfast meeting with Kobe Bryant.

The Mavericks started out fireballing from everywhere against the Lakers lethargic starters on a night Dirk Nowitzki would ultimately move into 8th place all time in scoring, beginning the game on a 10-0 run and finishing the first half shooting 56.8% (50.6% overall) from the field. Los Angeles was able to keep the game close despite shooting 36.4% on the night by fighting their way to an 24-6 advantage on the offensive boards. Maybe Kobe is teaching his teammates the art of the Kobe Assist? If misses were the lesson, then Wesley Johnson was the best student, shooting 3-14 in one of his worst games of the season.

On the positive side for the Lakers, Carlos Boozer led the Lakers offensively (even on the break), which is not a sentence I expected to type this season. The 12-year veteran scored 18 points on 9-16 shooting with 8 rebounds, including 3 on the offensive glass. Also performing acceptably in the loss was Boozer's replacement in the starting lineup, Ed Davis, who only shot 1-6 from the field in an atypical low field goal percentage performance, but converted 8 of his 10 free throws while leading the team's assault on the offensive boards with 8 offensive rebounds.

The Mavs started the second half on a 6-1 run and looked ready to cruise to an easy victory due to the Lakers' inability to convert even a simple layup, but the Lakeshow rallied late behind their bench. Nick Young did not have a good shooting night (5-16 from the field), but he did knock down three consecutive three-pointers in the fourth quarter to bring the Lakers as close as 5. However, Charlie Villanueva responded with back-to-back threes of his own to put the game mostly out of reach in favor of Dallas. The Lakers will look to clean up some of this sloppy shooting and rest up for their next game, a home date against the fun and gun Phoenix Suns and potential Lakers free agency target Goran Dragić. See you there.