After defeating the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night, the Dallas Mavericks(33-26) knew that defeating the Lakers(35-25) in the second game of their two-game set at American Airlines Center would be difficult on Saturday night, especially without Kristaps Porzingis(ankle).
The Lakers started fast and led by as much as 17 points in the second quarter and took a 58-46 lead into halftime.
Los Angeles did a great job of trapping Luka Doncic in the first half, and he had three turnovers in the second quarter. Dallas made adjustments, and Doncic, who finished the game with 18 points, had 10 of his 13 assists in the second half, and Dwight Powell, who was 11-12 from the field, scored 21 of his 25 points in the second half as the Mavericks defeated the Lakers 108-93 to sweep the two-game set.
The Lakers, who were led by Ben McLemore’s 20 points, were without LeBron James(ankle) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope(ankle). Dennis Schroder added 16 points and 10 assists.
Basketball is a game of adjustments, and the Mavericks made adjustments, which opened things up for Doncic and Powell.
“We weren’t spaced well enough in the first half,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said after the game. “In the second half, our spacing was better. Our angles were better. He was just really on point in the second half. The things that we changed made the game a lot easier for him and Dwight [Powell] and Willie [Cauley-Stein] and all of the guys rolling. That was big.”
According to Doncic, who experienced double teams in Europe, the wider NBA court made it easier to break the traps.
“I mean, they were double-teaming me,” he said. “In Europe, I used to do this a lot, and I know how it goes, but here the floor is wider, and so it’s kind of easier.”
Powell added: ‘”We’ve got to make ourselves available. We know he’s going to make the right reads, so we’ve got be ready for whatever opportunity comes our way, whether it’s a shot or a drive or another pass to off the assist, or whatever it may be. So the biggest need is showing up your hand when they’re sending two guys at him, having his back and taking advantage of those opportunities.”
This was Powell’s third game as a starter for Dallas, and the six-year veteran, who ruptured his Achilles tendon last January, is back to his previous form, according to Carlisle.
“Dwight [Powell] ‘s one of the best rollers I’ve ever seen in this league,” Carlisle said. “He has great timing; he has great feel; he has great hands. He’s not super tall, but he really gets up. This is also a strong testament to the amount of work he put in over the last year-and-a-half-plus to recover from an injury that is extremely difficult for high-level athletes. But I look out there now, and I don’t see any difference now from the Dwight Powell before the injury, and that just speaks to an amazing amount of work put in.”
With the win, Dallas is in sole possession of the sixth seed in the West and moved to 1.5 games of the fifth-seeded Lakers. Dallas wants to avoid the Play-In Tournament, so this was a big sweep for the Mavericks.
Dallas is on a three-game winning streak and begin a three-game road trip starting on Monday night against the Sacramento Kings.
-The 17-point deficit the Mavericks overcame was the largest comeback of the season.
-The Mavericks improved to 17-5 when Doncic records a double-double and 12-1 when he records between 10 and 14 assists (the Mavs are weirdly 0-4 when he gets over 14 assists).