Anthony Davis was far and away the best player for the Lakers, finishing the game with 37 points and 11 rebounds. LeBron James had a slow start but still ended with 33 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in 40 minutes of play. Austin Reaves had 22 points with seven assists and five rebounds.
Dallas now holds the tiebreaker over Los Angeles for playoff positioning, which could have long-term ramifications if the Western Conference standings continue to be as tight as they currently are.
The Lakers will be looking to bounce back Wednesday night against Victor Wenbenyama and the San Antonio Spurs.
The opening minutes were promising for the Lakers. Davis was attacking the basket and protected the rim with a nice chase-down block, establishing his dominance as he usually does on the defensive side of the ball.
Unfortunately for Los Angeles, Dallas’ potent offense came to play and the Mavericks still ended the quarter with 34 points and an eight-point advantage.
The remainder of the first half was an offensive struggle for the Lakers as they had trouble getting open looks or easy baskets early in the shot clock. Dallas went on an 8-0 run midway through the second quarter and their lead ballooned to 13.
Anthony Davis to the rack!— NBA (@NBA) December 13, 2023
He's got 15 in the 2Q, 20 on the game
Lakers-Mavs | Live on TNT pic.twitter.com/376tKje2r8
The team may have been struggling, but Davis kept putting the ball in the hoop. The Lakers went on a 7-0 run of their own, but a Tim Harawady Jr. corner three—part of the 12 threes the Mavericks made in the first— put an end to a Lakers comeback.
The most impactful aspect of the half, however, was the strain on Davis’ body. He had an early second-quarter moment where he started showing distress in his groin, a consistent point of pain for AD this season.
With two minutes and change left, he was once again laboring and reaching for that area after converting on a basket. That’s certainly something to keep an eye on moving forward with Davis.
LeBron James got going in the third, knocking down a few threes and after a Davis runner, the Lakers got within five.
Hardaway Jr. hit a 3-pointer again to cool the comeback down, but the Lakers stayed in the game this time and finished the quarter on an 8-0 run. The biggest surprise was the Lakers doing this while James sat on the bench.
Both teams exchanged shots like two heavyweight boxers in a title match to start the fourth. Dallas pulled away again and for good, though, midway through the quarter, with Dante Exum and Grant Williams hitting three after three, they went a combined 12-16 from beyond the arch tonight.
The Lakers definitely missed Jarred Vanderbilt tonight.
The 71 points the Lakers gave up in the first half was the second most they’ve conceded this year only one point away from the season-high 72 they gave up versus the Thunder earlier in the year.
The combination of poor defense on the road against the fourth-best offense in terms of Offensive Rating was a recipe for disaster and even a third-quarter surge wasn’t enough to pull out the win.
Luckily for L.A., they play the tanking Spurs next, but the turnaround is short as they play at San Antonio in less than 24 hours.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.