After a sluggish start, the Los Angeles Lakers locked in defensively and beat the Dallas Mavericks 114-103 Friday at Staples Center. The Lakers now lead the regular season series over the Mavericks 2-0.
It was a back and forth affair on Friday, as there were four lead changes by the time final buzzer sounded, but the Lakers started to pull away in the third quarter and didn’t look back.
Kyle Kuzma was a big reason the Lakers were able to take control in the second half as he scored 13 of his 15 points in the third quarter after going 0-3 in the first quarter. Kuzma was also the team’s lone threat from behind the arc on Friday, draining 3 of his 7 3-point attempts.
To round out what was a strong nights for the 23-year-old, he also grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out 6 assists. As a result, he finished with a team-high box plus-minus of +13.
Of course, Kuzma wouldn’t have been able to make the impact he did if it were not for the contributions made by LeBron James and Brandon Ingram throughout the game.
James, like almost everyone on the Lakers, came out of the locker room looking a step slow on the second night of the back-to-back, but he ended the game with a team-high 28 points on 12-21 shooting from the field.
Ingram wasn’t too far behind James in the scoring column with 19 points on a less efficient 7-16 shooting from the field. Ingram once again made life hard on Rookie of the Year favorite Luka Doncic, who shot just 15.4 percent from the field. In their previous matchup, Ingram played air tight defense on Doncic before getting into foul trouble.
As a team, the Lakers built on their impressive defensive performance against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday. Lonzo Ball was an irritant on defense, poking away 5 steals to go along with 10 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Tyson Chandler was also a beast on the glass, grabbing 12 rebounds while putting up a season-high 13 points.
If this trend continues, they should be in great shape for their tough December schedule.
The Lakers have will have Saturday off before taking on the Phoenix Sunday in what will be the third game of their four-game home stand. The Suns have won four games this season, which means they’re sure to give the L.A. their best effort.
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