The Los Angeles Lakers once again fell short of reaching their first five-game winning streak in years, dropping a crazy 130-123 back-and-forth game to the Dallas Mavericks. The teams exchanged blows down the stretch, but big plays from Salah Mejri kept the momentum in Dallas’ favor to close things out.
Julius Randle scored a game-high 26 points, grabbing eight rebounds and seven assists to stuff the stat sheet. He also turned the ball over five times, and got posterized into oblivion by a dude named Maxi Kleber in the final minutes of the game.
Isaiah Thomas’ debut with the Lakers was a microcosm of what you’d expect he brings to the table to this roster over the final 20-something games. He provided the kind of offensive punch the Lakers hoped for — perhaps could only dream of after his downward trend in Cleveland — with 22 points. IT drilled four of his eight three-point attempts, and definitely looked like he could be a productive producer of points in Los Angeles.
Defense is another story, of course, and this was only the start of seeing the mismatches that await. The Lakers will have to figure out how to play defense when Thomas is on the floor, no longer able to run the switch-heavy schemes they’re used to when 5’9 Thomas is on the floor. The absence of Larry Nance Jr. in the interior was definitely felt as well.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 22 points in 24 minutes, going a perfect four-for-four from outside. Kyle Kuzma scored 12 points, pulling down a game-high 15 rebounds.
The Lakers have plenty of time to think this one over, off until Wednesday in New Orleans. Until then, keep Randle in your thoughts: