Dallas Mavericks suffer crushing loss as Lakers make historic comeback

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks suffered a soul-crushing 111-108 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon. They built a 27-point advantage in the second quarter only to squander it in a historic comeback by LeBron James and the Lakers. It looked like Dallas had the game wrapped up in the first half, but they took their foot off the gas and paid for it on Feb. 26.

Luka Doncic came out hot, but he was quiet over the final three quarters. The 23-year-old superstar had 14 points in the first quarter and just 12 over the final 36 minutes. It was a forgettable night for LD as the Mavericks suffered a heartbreaking loss on their home floor.

Dallas started Justin Holiday over Josh Green on Sunday afternoon. The team got off to a fast start, but they could not stop the bleeding once it started late in the second quarter. It was a strange contest that the Mavericks will likely regret at the end of the regular season. Here is a closer look at the contest before taking a peek at what is next for Dallas.

Dallas Mavericks suffer crushing loss as Lakers make a historic comeback

Everything looked positive early on. The Mavs were sinking open shots and defending well as they built a massive advantage. Kyrie Irving even provided one of his best plays of the season in the second quarter.

Dallas built a massive edge early on the back of their defense. The Lakers were just three of 21 from 3-point range in the first half, and they struggled to find any offensive traction until the final minutes when a run cut the Mavericks' edge to 14 at halftime.

Los Angeles officially got back into the game in the third quarter as they outscored Dallas 31-20 over the 12 minutes. The Lakers got to the rim and scored inside to get back connected. They did not hit a 3-pointer in the third quarter, but their massive edge in paint points and free throws helps them get within three heading into the fourth.

The defense was a problem over the final 36 minutes as the Lakers scored 30-plus in each quarter to earn the comeback win. Dallas needs to get things figured out on that end of the floor or they may not even make the playoffs this season.

Teams were 0-138 when trailing by 27 points in a game this season coming into Sunday, which made the Mavericks' performance even more disappointing. Dallas had 16 turnovers, and they stopped getting easy buckets. The Mavs need to play more like they did in the first quarter than the final three if they want to climb up in the Western Conference standings down the stretch.

Dallas took their foot off the gas in the second half, and the Lakers made them pay for it. LA knows their season is on the line with every game as they are currently 13th in the Western Conference. LeBron James and company could not buy a bucket in the first quarter, but they did not quit. They kept battling the entire game, and it resulted in an incredible comeback.

Kyrie Irving had a 21-point double-double on Sunday afternoon, but the loss will only make the rumors of his exit for Los Angeles this summer louder. LeBron James is actively recruiting his friend and former teammate to the Lakers. Will the eight-time All-Star decide life is better in LA? Sunday's heartbreaking loss could play a small factor in his upcoming decision.

The crushing loss wipes out all the positive vibes from their first win after the All-Star break. Dallas needs to play better. They cannot afford to let games slip away down the stretch, and the Mavs did on Sunday afternoon.

The Dallas Mavericks continue their six-game homestand on Tuesday night against the Indiana Pacers. Former head coach Rick Carlisle will be back where he won a championship in 2011, and fans know he will have a fantastic game plan against the Mavs. It will be a cannot miss contest, so be sure to tune in and enjoy the game.

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