Christmas Day basketball could have started better for the Dallas Mavericks(18-16) against the visiting Lakers(13-20). In fact, the Lakers led by as many as 14 points in the first half and took a 54-43 lead at halftime.
However, in the third quarter, the Mavs woke up. They scored 51 points in the quarter on 72% shooting, including 61% from deep. The 51 points are tied for the most in a quarter in franchise history and are also the most in a quarter by any team on Christmas Day ever.
Ultimately, the Mavs would defeat the Lakers 124-115 at American Airlines Center.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 16 of his 26 points (6-14 3FG) in the third quarter; he felt Dallas was a little nervous early but got comfortable in the third.
“I think we had to get the jitters out of us for a little bit,” he said. “It was some guys’ first time ever playing on Christmas Day. Just being able to appreciate the opportunity for the most part and being able to go out there and get the nerves and the butterflies out of your system. I think that’s what happened, and [we] came out in the second half more aggressive, pushing the pace instead of walking the ball up the floor, and getting the ball moving, and knocking down our shots.”
Luka Doncic, who scored 13 of his franchise-record 32 points in a Christmas Day game, to go along with nine rebounds, and nine assists, battled double teams all game long, says the team played with pace in the third.
“I would say the 51 points we scored,” Doncic said. “I think was a franchise record in a quarter. I think we just played with pace, played with smiles on our faces, and kept going since I was being doubled every possession in this game. We just had to play out of that because it was the right play, and that’s what we did.”
In his Christmas Day debut, Christian Wood scored nine of his 30 points in the third. He also added eight rebounds, seven assists, four steals, and two blocks. Wood felt honored to star on Christmas Day.
“It’s amazing. It’s a blessing,” he said. “I used to be that kid sitting at home watching Kobe [Bryant], watching LeBron [James]. That D-Wade, LeBron pass. Just to be playing against him on Christmas Day, specifically, is a blessing. It’s an honor, so I was happy and ready to go tonight.”
Dallas has now won three straight and has an opportunity to string together some wins as the Knicks and Rockets come to town, and they go on the road for two more against the Spurs and Rockets.
We’ll see if the Mavs can make a push.
Before the game, Dirk Nowitzki’s statue was unveiled. Nowitzki played an NBA record 21 seasons with Mavs and helped lead Dallas to the franchise’s only championship in 2011. After the game, Doncic talked about Dirk’s statue.
“Oh, it was brilliant,” he said. “I’m just really happy for him. He deserves all the things that are happening to him, and it was amazing. The statue looks amazing, and he deserves it.”
The Lakers were led by LeBron James, who scored a game-high 38 points (13-23 FG) to go with 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Today was his 17th career Christmas Day game, passing Kobe Bryant for the most games played on the holiday.