Monta Ellis was incredible for the Mavericks, tallying 30 points and nine assists while shooting 11-of-14 from the floor. He was one of seven Dallas players to score in double-figures, with Jae Crowder representing the team's second-leading scorer with 18.
Nick Young led the Lakers with 21 points off the bench. It was truly an ugly performance for Los Angeles, as its guards simply could not keep Ellis and company from getting to the rim.
The Mavericks shot 52 percent, racking up 52 points in the paint. They also hit on 13 of their 27 three-point attempts.
Let's break down what went right for Dallas and what went wrong for LA.
Monta Ellis Played Possessed
From the opening tip, Ellis knew he had to be in attack mode, and he was. He ate whomever the Lakers put in front of him alive, slicing his way to the rim and finishing with very little resistance from Los Angeles' frontcourt.
When Monta wasn't scoring, he was still beating his man off the dribble, forcing the defense to collapse. He would then proceed to dump the ball off to the open man for the easy bucket.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
It was blatantly obvious early in the game that the Lakers could not stop Ellis from getting to the cup, and Dallas took advantage of it for the entirety of the contest.
Poor Steve Blake never had a chance.
Dallas Has Some Depth
How about the bench for the Mavericks tonight?
DeJuan Blair came in and posted 10 points, eight rebounds, four assists and five steals. He was a monster on the glass and demonstrated great anticipation by frequently jumping into passing lanes and deflecting balls that resulted in transition points for the Mavericks.
Jae Crowder was also sensational, draining four threes in the fourth quarter and finishing with 18 points off 7-of-9 shooting in 24 minutes of action.
Finally, Gal Mekel was able to spell Monta Ellis when he was on the floor. The rookie guard out of Wichita State also took advantage of the slower Lakers defenders to the tune of nine points, six assists to go along with four boards. He displayed great intelligence, making the right basketball plays throughout. He looks like he may have a bright future in this league.
Lakers Have Issues Defensively
Forget about the fact that the Lakers struggle on the road for a minute and look at the bigger picture.
Let's be honest here. They blew a 21-point lead at home to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night and recovered to win by the skin of their teeth, and they showed the same issues as they did tonight. Their guards are slow, and they don't have anyone to protect the rim. Pau Gasol was never a great interior defender, and he is a couple of steps slower. Chris Kaman? No.
Getting Kobe Bryant back will certainly help, as he will play a significant role in preventing opposing guards from getting to the rack, but he will not be a cure-all. LA needs some help up front. That isn't to say that its frontcourt is bad, because a rotation of Gasol, Shawne Williams, Kaman and Jordan Hill is nothing to scoff at, but seriously; where is the defense there?
The Lakers need a guy who can consistently protect the paint. They had that last year in Dwight Howard. Do they need to find another Dwight Howard? No, but they need some assistance.
Dallas May Be Better Than We Thought
Or at least better than I thought.
I figured the Mavs would be a contender for the final two playoff spots in the West this year, and that would be it. I never thought they could seriously challenge some of the upper echelon teams in the conference, but maybe they can?
They certainly have the depth, and they have said depth at every position. This is a very deep team, and everyone on the roster can score.
Let's also not forget that they are playing without Brandan Wright. When he gets back, that's just another piece to add to the puzzle. Throw Shane Larkin into that mix, too.
I know we're only four games into the season, but this Dallas ballclub looks good. They didn't just win tonight because they were playing a mediocre (at best) Lakers team. They won because they are talented.
The scariest part about all of this? Dirk Nowitzki only scored 11 points.