Luka Doncic, Mavericks Beat Lakers; Anthony Davis Scores 17 in 28 MinutesApril 25, 2021
The Dallas Mavericks finished off a two-game sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers with a 108-93 victory Saturday, clinching the season series 2-1 and creating a bit more separation between the Portland Trail Blazers for the all-important No. 6 seed in the Western Conference.
Only the top six teams in the East and West will earn an automatic berth in the first round of the postseason while the Nos. 7-10 seeds compete in a play-in tournament.
Lakers star Anthony Davis remained on a 25-minute restriction in his second game back from nearly two months off while recovering from calf and Achilles injuries. That didn't stop him from pouring in 17 as he continues to work himself back into game shape, but the defeat extended a three-game losing streak for Los Angeles.
Dennis Schroder, PG, Los Angeles Lakers: 16 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds
Ben McLemore, SG, Los Angeles Lakers: 20 points, 2 rebounds, 6 three-pointers
Luka Doncic, PG, Dallas Mavericks: 18 points, 13 assists, 8 rebounds
Dwight Powell, C, Dallas Mavericks: 25 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist
Dallas, Doncic Complete 17-Point Comeback
With Kristaps Porzingis a late scratch because of an ankle injury, Luka Doncic was going to have to be at his best if the Mavs were going to pull off a two-game sweep of the defending champions—and that was before Dallas fell into a 17-point hole early on.
It turned out he was up for the challenge.
With three's raining from as deep as he could manage and a big effort from center Dwight Powell, Doncic was able to will the Mavs to a late lead, then closed out with an exclamation point as he showed off just about every trick he had available.
By the time the final buzzer sounded, Dallas chairman Mark Cuban was running onto the court to congratulate his players. It was that meaningful of a win.
Not only does Dallas have the confidence it can hang with the likes of the Lakers in tight games, but it's one step closer to avoiding the No. 7 seed and ensuring they'll get to play at least four games in the postseason. There'll be plenty of challenges ahead for the Mavericks but Saturday may have provided the confidence boost needed to face them.
With only a dozen or so games left in the regular season, Dallas appears to be heating up at a crucial moment.
Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon
Luka Doncic torched Lakers’ traps in second half after struggling in first. Rick Carlisle: "I never mind seeing trapping defenses on him, because he’s so great at delivering the ball, and a lot of times he delivers it for a layup or a dunk." From @ESPNStatsInfo: https://t.co/dvPYXoQVVM
Davis' Increases Minutes In Second Game Back
The Los Angeles Lakers may be taking things slow with their star forward after such a long layoff, but the ramp up period certainly began in earnest on Saturday.
Scheduled to play just 25 minutes, head coach Frank Vogel put Davis back on the floor for the final eight minutes of regulation after already playing him for 20 earlier in the night. Necessity may or may not have dictated it.
Los Angeles led 85-83 when Davis checked back in and it was on the big man to help close out the victory. That he couldn't isn't an indictment on his health. Davis appeared to be moving rather well, covering as much ground in the paint as he normally would and keeping his hands active on defense. That was particularly evident with just under six minutes remaining as Davis' disrupted the Mavs' attempt to get the ball in the paint and helped force a shot-clock violation to preserve a five-point lead.
No, the Lakers lost because they're still missing a number of key players and their offense continues to lag because of it. Doncic was just the latest to take advantage.
Davis will have to continue working on his timing with the ball (5-of-19 FG, 0-6 3FG) and try to get his rhythm back as LeBron James, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and others return to the lineup. Until then, it's going to be a process. One Vogel was happy to slightly speed up on Saturday by playing Davis in crunch time regardless of the result.
The Lakers' road trip continues with a Monday night matchup at the Orlando Magic at 7 p.m. ET, followed by a game against the Washington Wizards in D.C. on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Mavs meanwhile, head out on a three-game road trip beginning Monday in Sacramento at 10 p.m. ET on NBATV.