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Anthony Davis, Lakers Breeze Past Luka Doncic, Mavs Despite Quiet LeBron Night

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIIDecember 30, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 29: Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket during the game against the Dallas Mavericks on December 29, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers ended 2019 positively, stringing together back-to-back victories following a four-game losing streak.

The Lakers defeated the visiting Dallas Mavericks 108-95 at the Staples Center on Sunday night.

L.A.'s defense impressively suppressed the NBA's top-rated offense, holding the Mavs under 100 points for the first time since they lost 114-99 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 26.

Chris Geeter McGee @geeter3

Lakers are 3-0 2nd night of back to backs.... and the key 🔑 has been the D.... give up only 99 points per, they give up 106 other nights.... small sample size but cool stat ... Dallas has 79 points with 8:28 left

Kobe Bryant looked pleased with what he saw from the Lakers:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

LeBron and Kobe reunite at Staples 👑🐍 (via @NBA) https://t.co/4UO6Jxmotc

The Mavericks had won back-to-back games against the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors entering this matchup.

The Lakers improved to 26-7, cushioning their lead ahead of the 23-9 Denver Nuggets and 23-11 Clippers atop the Western Conference.

The Mavs, meanwhile, dropped to 21-11 and missed an opportunity to move up within the West.

     

Notable Performances

LAL F Anthony Davis: 23 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block

LAL F LeBron James: 13 points, 6 rebounds, 13 assists, 2 steals

LAL G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: 19 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block

LAL C Dwight Howard: 15 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block

DAL F Luka Doncic: 19 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals

DAL F Kristaps Porzingis: 11 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block

DAL G Delon Wright: 14 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals

     

Injuries Headline Western Conference Clash

The Mavericks avoided disaster but won't leave L.A. unscathed.

Starting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. was forced to exit with 5:26 remaining in the first quarter. He was replaced by Seth Curry and later ruled out by the Mavericks with a hamstring injury.

Veteran J.J. Barea started the second half for Hardaway:

Dallas Mavericks @dallasmavs

Back-to-back 3s for JJ! #coqui @jjbareapr | #MFFL https://t.co/xRMmKkkk3c

Mavs PR @MavsPR

#Mavericks guard J.J. Barea has now made 800 three-pointers in his career after hitting one in tonight’s game. Barea is the 18th player in @NBA history listed at 6-foot or under to record 800+ 3FGM in a career, per @bball_ref. https://t.co/jSxYHYlnrE

Doncic took a hard fall and remained down while appearing anguished toward the end of the first half, which was especially worrisome given the reigning Rookie of the Year recently returned to Dallas' lineup on Dec. 26 after an ankle injury suffered on Dec. 14 sidelined him for four games:

Mike Trudell @LakersReporter

Doncic took a hard fall on his back after being fouled, and stayed in the game to shoot FT’s before being subbed out after DAL took an intentional foul on Howard.

Tania Ganguli @taniaganguli

Luka Doncic was down for a while. He gets applause as he stands up. LeBron Jamess and Anthony Davis are checking on him. Looked like he hit his head pretty hard on the ground.

Dwain Price @DwainPrice

Luka is coming out of the game and headed to the locker room.

Fortunately for Dallas, Doncic was able to return for the second half. He led all Mavericks with 19 points on 5-of-14 shooting from the field, though he went 0-of-6 from three-point land. It was a relatively poor outing for the 20-year-old leading the NBA with nine triple-doubles.

The Lakers were technically at full strength against the Mavs, but James has been nursing a groin injury since Christmas Day.

James had an off shooting night at 3-of-10, including 2-of-4 from three-point land, but still positively influenced the game with 13 assists. It marked the three-time NBA champion's fourth straight double-double.

Mike Trudell @LakersReporter

Last 2 games, at POR on Saturday and vs. DAL on Sunday, for @KingJames: 29 assists, 3 turnovers.

Davis had hurt his knee during the Lakers' 128-104 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Dec. 22, a game James missed with a thoracic muscle strain. However, the six-time All-Star dispelled any lingering concerns over his knee prior to Sunday's game:

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

🎥 “It feels good. Real good.” -AD on his knee https://t.co/3orXuBYp1j

The Lakers have a two-day break to rest Davis and James.

     

What's Next?

The Mavericks have one more game remaining in the decade, but the Lakers won't be in action again until 2020.

Dallas will travel to Oklahoma City to play the Thunder on New Year's Eve.

L.A. will host the Phoenix Suns on New Year's Day.