The Dallas Mavericks were short-handed on Saturday night. Both Kristaps Porzingis and Josh Richardson were out with injuries in the second straight game against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. The Mavs fell behind by 17 in the second quarter as it looked like it would be a night to forget after finally moving into sixth place in the Western Conference, but Luka Doncic had other ideas.
The Lakers were aggressive in trapping and double-teaming the Mavericks superstar. It had him frustrated and struggling in the first half, but his team moved the ball better over the last 24 minutes. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle also made a fantastic adjustment by allowing Doncic to work off double screens. Dallas outscored Los Angeles 33 to 21 to tie the game heading into the final quarter before Luka and company closed it with impressive defense down the stretch for a 108-93 win.
The story of the night for Dallas was Doncic finding Dwight Powell for easy scores. The Mavericks dominated the Lakers in the second half with it in Powell’s best game of the season. Here is a closer look at Luka’s performance and why it was a massive win for Dallas.
Luka Doncic double-double lifts Dallas Mavericks over Los Angeles Lakers
Doncic had just two points in the first quarter. He scored eight in the second, but the Lakers were playing outstanding defense and dominating the Mavs. Luka had three turnovers, and Dallas scored just 46 in first 24 minutes.
The 22-year-old superstar got it going in the second half by finding Dwight Powell. See one of their many beautiful alley-oops below.
The Mavericks made the Lakers pay the entire second half as Powell went off for 25 points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes on Saturday night.
Luka finished with 18 points, eight rebounds, and 13 assists in their win over the Lakers. He was six of 15 from the field and had six turnovers, but the 22-year-old was the engine for Dallas’ impressive comeback. The Mavericks outscored Los Angeles by 20 in Doncic’s 39 minutes on Saturday night.
It was a massive game as the Mavericks won the season series and now hold the playoff tiebreaker over Los Angeles. The Lakers are just 1.5 games up on Dallas after the Mavs swept the two-game set. Luka and company also moved a full game ahead of the Blazers with the win. It will be a tight race to avoid the play-in tournament over the 13 games, but Dallas has won three straight and looks primed to make a move.
The Dallas Mavericks are back in action on Monday night in Sacramento against the Kings. It is the first night of a back-to-back set and the start of a three-game road trip. Every game is important down the stretch. Stay tuned for updates on Kristaps Porzingis and Josh Richardson’s injuries and to see what Luka Doncic can do next. Fans will not want to miss it.