(Harry How/Getty Images)
LeBron Scores 28, Defense Does the Rest in Lakers' Win Over Mavs
After playing in the same building less than 24 hours before, the Lakers came out flat against Dallas, falling into an early 15-point hole.
According to LeBron James, that was on … LeBron James.
“It started with me,” he said. “I was horrendous in the first quarter. I told the team it was all my wrongdoing. I had four turnovers and wasn’t as engaged as I should have been to start the game.”
After shooting just 1-of-6 in that opening period, LeBron morphed into a bulldozer, hitting 11-of-15 without a turnover the rest of the way.
James hung up 28 points — including 20 in the paint — as the Lakers outscored the Mavericks by 21 through the final three quarters, winning 114-103.
The Mavericks (10-10) entered the night winners of seven of their last eight games, but L.A.’s defense kept them in check.
Dallas shot just 39.5 percent from the field and 25.6 on 3-pointers, while star rookie guard Luka Doncic made only two of his 13 shots.
The Lakers (13-9) were able to get defensive largely thanks to the chaos-creating efforts of Lonzo Ball, who had five steals, in addition to 10 points and four assists.
The purple and gold scored off every turnover created by Ball, who has been excellent defensively throughout the season.
“He’s cat-quick,” James said. “His length, his hands are very fast. His ability to pick up full-court. And he pretty much doesn’t get tired.”
Lonzo Ball putting those quick hands to use with four first-half steals.— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) December 1, 2018
Lakers scored on all of them, with Zo scoring, assisting or drawing a foul. pic.twitter.com/wREVfvuWv6
Ball’s defensive playmaking led to plenty of transition opportunities, as the Lakers outscored the Mavs on fast-breaks, 31-13.
Kyle Kuzma was another player who lived on the breaks on a night where he flashed much of his all-around skill set.
Kuzma stitched together 15 points, a season-high 12 rebounds and six assists — providing transition playmaking and three 3-pointers.
Nice connection between Kyle Kuzma and Tyson Chandler to end the third quarter.— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) December 1, 2018
Tyson sets a huge screen to gift Kuzma a wide-open 3, and Kuz returns the favor by feeding the big guy on the roll. pic.twitter.com/77J5xRiZE9
Kuzma found nice chemistry with Tyson Chandler, who had his most stat-filled night as a Laker, providing 13 points on a perfect 6-of-6 clip with 12 rebounds.
With starting center JaVale McGee fouling out early in the fourth quarter, Chandler’s screening, offensive boards and defense were huge factors in the Lakers’ win.
How about some love for Tyson Chandler?— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 1, 2018
13 points, 12 rebounds and 6-for-6 shooting pic.twitter.com/btB0sFfmyh
Like Chandler, Brandon Ingram was impactful on both ends of the floor, scoring 19 points while using his length to disrupt Dallas’ attack.
Ingram found a nice groove with his in-between game, hitting a handful of fadeaway jumpers. He also had a hand in one of the game’s key moments.
The Lakers led by just two with 10 minutes remaining before erupting on a 23-9 run. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored nine points during this stretch, including on a triple set up by a Chandler tap-out and two swing passes from Ingram and Kuzma.
Harrison Barnes led Dallas with 29 points. … The Lakers shot 48.8 percent from the field and outscored Dallas in the paint, 62-40. … L.A. won both games in its first home-home back-to-back since 2012. … Jack Nicholson, Will Ferrell, Macklemore, Lionel Richie and Evander Holyfield were among the sold-out crowd.