Saturday’s rematch between the Lakers and Mavericks was the opposite from their first game against each other this week. This time it was the Lakers who looked like they had all the energy to start before the Mavericks made a late comeback, but in the end, the result was the same: An even more lopsided, 108-93 loss that saw the Lakers go scoreless in the final five minutes as Dallas nips at their heels in the Western Conference standings.
In a notable shift, Frank Vogel even changed up the rotation for this game, and it appeared to work well to start. In addition to Anthony Davis having his minutes restriction upped to 25 and being allowed to play in the second half, Vogel also inserted Marc Gasol over Montrezl Harrell for a little more size after Harrell’s lack of rim protection left something to desired in Thursday’s matchup. In the first half, the strategy worked, as the Lakers ran out to a 12-point lead by halftime.
And with Davis and Andre Drummond quickly shuffling their feet, the Lakers had some success early trapping Luka Doncic out of the pick and roll, but by the third quarter the Mavericks were moving off the ball more, hitting shots and generally using the Lakers’ aggressiveness against them to outscore L.A. by 12 in the frame, making up their entire halftime deficit over those 12 minutes.
The fourth quarter was more of the same, with Dwight Powell (25 points on 11-12 shooting) endlessly cutting to the rim to take advantage of all the attention the Lakers were sending at Doncic. Some less than stellar Lakers defensive communication on one end that led to threes and dunks in conjunction with Davis still looking a little rusty as he clanked shot after shot down the stretch was enough to put the final nail in the coffin as the Lakers dropped another winnable game to fall to 35-25, just 1.5 games ahead of Dallas for the No. 5 seed.
The Lakers will now have Sunday off before continuing their road trip with a matchup against the Orlando Magic on Monday. The only silver lining from this one, though, is that at least they don’t have to play Dallas again.