The Los Angeles Lakers looked like they had control against the Dallas Mavericks, but a horrific performance in the second half turned into a 101-89 loss. The Lakers scored just 13 points in the third quarter while Dallas picked the Lakers apart with basic screen-and-roll plays, and the purple and gold faded away fast.
Another day, another disappointing effort from the Lakers. They couldn’t score with any consistency despite Nick Young starting five-of-five from three-point range. They couldn’t defend anything against the fifth-worst offense in the NBA, and Deron Williams explicitly cited their inability to protect the paint as an area they worked to expose following the game. The Lakers once again let what looked like a very attainable victory and sustainable 11-point lead slip through the cracks between each plank of hardwood.
It was all a mirage once again Thursday night.
Dwight Powell strolled to the rim for easy basket after easy basket, briskly jogging for lobs and whatever he wanted. Powell finished with 14 points off the bench. Wesley Matthews found himself wide-open on the perimeter time and time again as he went four-of-nine from deep while scoring a game-high 20 points. Dallas made 14 of their 31 three-point attempts as a team.
D’Angelo Russell started the game strong but couldn’t keep the juice flowing after a nice first quarter stretch. He had five made field goals by the end of the first half and finished with that same tally. Julius Randle matched Young’s team-high 17 points, but pulled down a paltry four rebounds. Lou Williams had one of his quietest nights of the season, scoring 10 points with an ugly four turnovers
This loss to a Mavericks team without Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Barea goes into the “worst losses of the year” category, no doubt. The Lakers are off until Sunday, ending 2016 on a sour note. Perhaps they can put this atrocious end-of-the-year stretch behind them and start the new year right against the Toronto Raptors.