Everyone in attendance at STAPLES Center for Wednesday night’s matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks were treated to two things: free tacos and some pretty average basketball. With an audible “We want tacos!” chant booming in reference to the coupon for two Jack-In-The-Box tacos given to fans when the Lakers win and hold their opponents under 100 points, Los Angeles defeated Dirk and the tanking Mavericks 103-93 to earn the team’s No. 33 win of the season.
It was the Brook Lopez Show to start the game, as the Lakers center netted 13 first quarter points (and of course zero rebounds) while staying mainly inside the arc and showcasing the footwork and finishing ability of his Brooklyn prime. However, Lopez’ efficient scoring was just enough to keep the Lakers afloat as Dallas held a 34-32 lead at the end of the first.
Los Angeles had no answer for the Mavericks’ point guards throughout the first half, with Dallas’ prized rookie Dennis Smith Jr. and fringe role player Yogi Ferrell combining for 24 points. After missing the past 12 games, Brandon Ingram contributed an impressive 7 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in just 12 first half minutes. Despite Ingram’s tangible boost, the Lakers headed into halftime with the Mavs leading 56-55
After a rollercoaster ride of a third quarter in which the Lakers went on a 16-0 run led by two-way play from Julius Randle just to recover from a 13-point deficit, Los Angeles maintained an 82-81 lead going into the final quarter of play. The Lakers then entered “Kuz Control” to take them home, with Kyle Kuzma notching 10 of his 18 points in the final twelve minutes to seal the deal for Los Angeles.
Lonzo Ball, who left the game in the third quarter with a knee contusion and never returned, finished with 8 points on 3-of-7 shooting along with 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Julius Randle, whose nickname might have to become some sort of In-N-Out Burger pun, recorded yet another double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds while Brook Lopez led the team in scoring with 22 points. Harrison Barnes, who went 7-of-15 from the field to go along with 4 rebounds and 2 steals, led the Mavericks in scoring with 17 points.
Wednesday night’s loss was the Mavericks No. 52 loss of the season, a result the team will happily take in this year’s brutal tanking race. The Lakers, now 33-41 on the season, next play on Friday at STAPLES Center against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.