Losers of eight of their last nine games, the Los Angeles Lakers (14-21) couldn't contend with the outpouring of offense the Dallas Mavericks (20-15) displayed on Tuesday night, losing by a final score of 110-97.
Dallas shot 53.3 percent for the game while forcing the Lakers into 18 turnovers.
Points in the paint played a huge role in Los Angeles' convincing defeat. The Lakers were outscored 58-32 down low, with many of those baskets coming with little to no defensive pressure.
Five players scored in double figures for the Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki led all scorers with 27 points, while veteran swingman Vince Carter came off the bench to drop 19 of his own.
Key Players: Los Angeles Lakers
Pau Gasol, Power Forward
The four-time NBA All-Star came into this game having scored a season-high 25 points against the Denver Nuggets on Jan. 5.
Things looked promising in the first quarter. Gasol had 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting. His defense left a lot to be desired, as Dallas basically had its way in the paint, but at least Gasol was leveling the playing field by keeping the score close.
His offense dried up as the game progressed. scoring just five points in the final 36 minutes.
Gasol did become more of a factor on the glass, finishing the night with 13 rebounds, so there's that.
Dirk Nowitzki, his defensive assignment for the night, led the Mavericks with 27 points on an efficient 12-of-20 shooting. It's safe to say that the Spaniard didn't emerge victorious, both on the scoreboard and one-on-one with Nowitzki, on this occasion.
Kendall Marshall, Point Guard
The Kendall Marshall experience continues for Los Angeles. In six games with the team, Marshall is averaging 8.3 points and 7.0 assists on 52.8 percent shooting.
Marshall had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 32-4 in his first two starts with the team. Against Dallas, that number came crashing down, as he had six assists along with six turnovers.
However, as Mike Trudell of Lakers.com points out, by watching the game, you can almost sympathize for Marshall, as he missed out on several assists and got credited with a couple of turnovers that weren't necessarily his fault:
In 33 minutes, Marshall scored 18 points while hitting three three-pointers.
Jodie Meeks, Shooting Guard
Jodie Meeks was a pest on both sides of the court for the Lakers, playing stingy defense (one of the few players who actually were) while putting up points in a hurry on the other end.
His 13 points led the way for Los Angeles in the first half. Meeks was also being a facilitator with the basketball, dishing out four assists, with one of the four coming on a beautiful behind-the-back pass to Robert Sacre under the basket.
This was the third straight game where Meeks has scored 18 or more points, finishing with a team-high 24 in 41 minutes.
His 6-of-16 shooting night isn't anything to brag about, but he did make an effort to get to the free-throw line (8-of-9) while attacking the basket and drawing contact in the process.
Meeks' four steals was also a nice touch. In fact, it's one of the few things the Lakers can be proud of on defense.
Wesley Johnson, Small Forward
Wesley Johnson continues to be an inconsistent source of scoring for the Los Angeles Lakers. He's scored just 10 or more points only three times since Dec. 13.
Thankfully enough, this was one of those games where Johnson was actually a productive contributor on offense, shooting 50 percent from the field for 17 points. He was also 3-of-7 from long range.
Eight of his points came in the third quarter, as the Lakers looked to narrow the gap on the scoreboard, but to no avail.
Robert Sacre, Center
Robert Sacre scored a career-high 15 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting the last time the Lakers played. Did he follow up that performance with another strong outing against Dallas?
Somewhat. He didn't hit all of his shots like he did against Denver, but that's just asking to much of him and anyone else for that matter.
He showcased some range by knocking down a couple of open jumpers. Sacre also grabbed 10 rebounds in 28 minutes, which is the second time in three games he's pulled down double-digit boards.
Nick Young, Sixth Man
Nick Young's 20-game streak of scoring in double figures came to an abrupt halt against the Dallas Mavericks.
Let's just say that his shot was not his friend on this night.
Young only hit one of his seven attempts from the field, including four misses from behind the arc. He finished with two points and three rebounds in 18 minutes. That's the fewest amount of points he's scored all season.
With injuries having decimated a majority of the roster, head coach Mike D'Antoni didn't have many options to work with off of his bench. Nick Young, along with Jordan Hill and Ryan Kelly, were the only second-unit players to see the floor.
All nine of Hill's points came in the first half. His shooting at the charity stripe was frustrating to watch, as the big man missed three of his four attempts. He's only shooting 68.3 percent on the season.
Kelly had five points and three assists, including one three-pointer, in 24 minutes of action. That's the most playing time he's seen all season.
Chris Kaman continues to wither away on the pine, which he's apparently none to pleased about, per Dallas Morning News' Brad Townsend:
Grade: C +
Follow NBA Featured Columnist/Live Blogger Christopher Walder on Twitter at @WalderSports.
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