On the 11th anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game, the only drama for Los Angeles Sunday was if the Lakers would collectively reach that mark.
Los Angeles suffered its worst loss in franchise history to the Dallas Mavericks, 122-73, its third 40-point defeat of the season. The Mavericks had their way in all facets of the game.
The absence of D’Angelo Russell proved disastrous on offense. Brandon Ingram entered the starting lineup, and though the rookie has been a functional point guard on the Lakers’ second units, he was out of his element against the Dallas starters. Los Angeles scored the first basket of the game but missed their next five shots on a series of disjointed possessions.
The offense steadied a bit once Jose Calderón entered the game for Ingram, and the Lakers had a short-lived lead at 16-15 on a Julius Randle jumper. However, Wes Matthews hit a three for the Mavericks on the ensuing possession, and Dallas never trailed again.
Los Angeles went without a field goal for nearly seven minutes spanning the first and second quarters, scoring only one free throw in that stretch, as the Mavericks took control of the game on a 17-1 run. Everything went wrong for the Lakers: they couldn’t take care of the ball, couldn’t generate open shots, and were outrebounded 49-32 by the worst rebounding team in the NBA.
Deron Williams continued a time-honored tradition of opposing point guards lighting up Los Angeles, as he finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists in just 26 minutes. Six other players scored in double figures for Dallas, who beat the Lakers for the third time this season, each loss in more dispiriting fashion.
One of the only silver linings for L.A. was a healthy return for Larry Nance, Jr. after being out for 16 games. Calderón was also passable in the first half, as the only Laker with a positive plus-minus despite a 34-point halftime deficit, and he made a case to return to the starting lineup as Russell continues to recover.
The Lakers get two days off before playing in Portland Wednesday.