Kentavious Caldwell-Pope defends Luka Doncic

Lakers at Mavs, Three Things to Know: April 24, 2021

by Mike Trudell
Lakers Reporter

The Lakers (35-24) face the Dallas Mavericks (32-26) for the second straight time after a 115-110 Mavs win on Thursday evening. The rematch is set for Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

Below are three things to know about the matchup:

EVALUATING AD’S RETURN
The Lakers had the challenge of trying to accomplish two separate, if related, things on Thursday: winning the game; and integrating Anthony Davis back on the court for the first time since Feb. 14. AD had was on a minutes limit (17) and played only in the first half, struggling to find his rhythm on offense (2 for 10 FG’s) and missing some defensive rotations as he fatigued. And yet, he looked good physically all things considered, and made a few fantastic plays on the defensive end. After the game, he said he felt good, and didn’t even think about the injury as he played, a good sign moving forward.

We’ll see if Davis gets a small extension to his minutes limit for Saturday’s game, which will depend upon how he responds to Thursday’s action.

THURSDAY’S GAME
As for the game itself, L.A. got some terrific individual performances, but didn’t have its typical defensive connectivity on the evening, allowing the Mavs to capitalize and shoot 48.8 percent from the field, and attempt 36 free throws to LAL’s 17. The Lakers were led by Dennis Schroder – 25 points on 9 of 13 FG’s with 13 assists to four turnovers – and KCP – 29 points on 9 of 17 FG’s with six made 3’s – in what was the most productive night from the starting backcourt all season. Andre Drummond was also very good, going for 14 points with 19 rebounds, three assists and three blocks, plus some impactful defense. Luka Doncic predictably led the Mavs with 30 points and eight assists, while Kristaps Porzingis added 19 points and six boards, but left the game in the second half with a sprained ankle that will leave him questionable for Saturday’s rematch.

THE FOUL LINE
The free throw line may have been the biggest difference in a 5-point game on Thursday. LAL were whistled for 28 fouls and Dallas just 15, resulting in 36 FT attempts for the Mavs, to LAL’s 17. The Lakers came into the game ranked fifth in the NBA in free throws allowed, at 19.6 per night, compared to the 18th ranked Mavs, who give up 22.3 attempts. L.A. also typically attempt more foul shots than Dallas: 23.3 (6th) to 20.9 (19th). Predictably, Doncic led the way, taking 11 free throws, while Porzingis attempted seven. Dallas subs got to the line 12 times to a collective zero for the Lakers.

A regression to the free throw mean could go a long ways towards a different result in the rematch.

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