Down by as many as 27 points in the first half, the Lakers pulled off an improbable comeback, besting the Dallas Mavericks 111-108 on the road. Teams were previously 0-138 this season when trailing by 27+ points heading into the game according to ESPN.
At the start though, everything went well — and in — for the Mavericks as they canned nearly every look from the outside. The Lakers on the other hand, couldn’t buy a bucket, shooting an abysmal 17.6% from three on the night and missing 15 consecutive three-pointers to start the game.
After a great Malik Beasley game against the Warriors where he hit seven three-pointers, the team left their shooting in Los Angeles as they started 0-10 from three in the opening quarter. You mix that with Dallas shooting 53.8% from downtown and you have a losing formula leading to the Lakers being down by a dozen in the first.
Fortunately, the early misses and large deficit didn’t extinguish their effort as behind tremendous defensive intensity and timely contributions, the Lakers capped off arguably their best win of the season. With the inability to shoot, they instead turned their focus to the paint, this helped cap off a 16-5 run to keep the score close heading into the half.
In the third quarter, the Lakers carried their momentum as they fought back thanks to a gutsy performance from the aforementioned Vanderbilt. Stealing balls and finishing with dunks in transition, he was the lighting rod that energized the Lakers’ return. He ended the night with 15 points, 17 rebounds and 4 steals.
8 points, 8 boards, and 3 steals in the third quarter for @JVando pic.twitter.com/df2v1YCIHR— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 26, 2023
It was not all smooth sailing however, as midway through the quarter LeBron James hurt his right foot on a non-contact play. He fortunately was able to fight through it and finished the contest. James was clearly hobbled but found a way to maneuver through the paint to convert on multiple layups around the rim.
The final frame was exactly the kind of marquee matchup the NBA envisioned when they scheduled this game as both teams and their stars jostled back and forth until the final moments.
In the closing minute however, it was all Anthony Davis. The Lakers were up one with the ball and Davis hit a tough shot over Luka and then stole the pass from him on the very next possession to secure possession up three. Davis led the Lakers in scoring with 30 points and also pulled down 15 rebounds.
The Lakers are now 29-32 on the season and their winning streak is up to three. Ultimately this was a huge win not solely for the monumental comeback, but the team once again was able to make up ground in the standings.
To come back from down 27 takes resiliency, belief and talent. In previous games, the Lakers wouldn’t have been able to pull off such a win. But with Vanderbilt here, Beasley being productive and AD looking more like AD each day, this is the most optimistic Lakers Nation has been all year. Now everyone will be awaiting injury updates on James and D’Angelo Russell.
If this team can stay healthy, there is still time left to make a run.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.