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LeBron James sinks clutch free throw to bury Mavericks

LeBron James made a free throw to avoid a meltdown by the Lakers in the fourth quarter.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James drained a clutch free throw to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a tight 114-113 win over the Dallas Mavericks in a Halloween matchup Wednesday at Staples Center.

Through seven games for the Lakers this season, James has looked great, but fans have been waiting to see the 33-year-old look like the clear best player on the floor in a game. He did just that on Tuesday.

In 38 minutes for Los Angeles, James tallied a game-high 29 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals while posting a box plus-minus of +5. James’ individual dominance might have had something to do with the fact that the starters were firing on all cylinders.

In just their second game together, the new-look starting five looked like the best five-man unit Walton has put on the floor this season. Granted, it was against the Mavericks, but it gave the first unit something to build on. More importantly, it gave head Luke Walton an idea of what his team looks like at their best, which should lead to more consistent rotations.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The young trio of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma combined for 47 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists. Kuzma led the pack with 18 points on an efficient 63.6 percent shooting from the field to go along with 8 rebounds.

Ingram wasn’t too far behind Kuzma with 17 points, but he had to play a little more conservatively late in the game because he — once again — got into early foul trouble. That’s an area he will have to be more disciplined in as the season goes on, but luckily it didn’t cost them the game on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Ball bounced back after after back-to-back rough outings for the Lakers. While he didn’t put up eye-popping stats, he was a key part in everything the starters were able to accomplish on Tuesday, posting a box plus-minus of +15.

It was a game that nearly escaped them, but the Lakers have a lot of positives to take away from this win.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.

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