The Los Angeles Lakers winning was never really in doubt in their third matchup of the season against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night, as the team did as good of a job slowing down sophomore sensation Luka Doncic as anyone this season while forcing 18 turnovers to come away with a 108-95 win.
Avery Bradley, Alex Caruso and the rest of the Lakers did a good job of keeping consistent pressure on Doncic, playing a good amount of zone to encourage him to get rid of the ball early and force other Mavericks to make plays. Doncic finished with 19 points on 5-14 shooting, and while the Mavericks were on the second night of a back-to-back, so were the Lakers, and it would be hard to argue which team was more banged up. This was a legit win for the Lakers, and they deserve credit for bringing it with both their gameplan and execution of it.
LeBron James didn’t shoot well (3-10 to finish with 13 points) as he continues to deal with multiple injuries, but did use his unparalleled basketball mind to end the game with 13 assists. Anthony Davis (23 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals) was also good, but for the second night in a row, the Lakers’ role players also deserve a ton of credit.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope his recent flame-spewing stretch, knocking down four of his five threes to finish with 25 points off the bench. Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee were huge in getting the Lakers tons of easy buckets on dunks, lay-ins and even a hook shot or two around the rim (finishing a combined 11-13 for 26 points).
Kyle Kuzma (0 points on 0-7 shooting) saw his recent hot streak come to an end, but the Lakers were able to survive it due to how well the rest of the team played.
This team is built around James and Davis, and won’t win many games that matter without those two being transcendent. But sometimes even stars need a little help from their friends, and on Sunday night they got it, allowing the Lakers to head into a two-day break before their next game on a two-game winning streak and boasting a 26-7 record. It wasn’t always the prettiest game, but all these wins count the same, and after a recent four-game losing streak, the Lakers will surely take any wins they can get.