Mavs’ Irving on loss to Lakers: ‘There is no 20-point lead that is safe in this league anymore’

With just over seven minutes left in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers(29-32) on Sunday, the Dallas Mavericks(32-30) took their largest lead of 27 points and were in complete control.

However, the Lakers closed the half strong and cut the lead to 61-47 at the break. Los Angeles would outscore the Mavs 64-47 in the second half and defeat Dallas 111-108 at American Airlines Center.

This season, teams were 0-138 when trailing by 27-plus points, but that changed with the Lakers’ win on Sunday.

Kyrie Irving, who had 21 points, a career-high-tying 11 rebounds, and five assists, says no 20-point lead in the NBA is safe.

“It’s a tale of two halves,” he said. “I think tonight showed it. First half, we were playing incredible, other than the last three minutes of the first half, where I think we came in up 14. We were up 25 or 23 … I’ve been quoted saying this, ‘There is no 20-point lead that is safe in this league anymore,’ just because of pace and style of the game. But for us, I think we showed some great poise in the third quarter. But in that fourth quarter, I have to do a better job of just getting us into some initiated offensive sets and just be aggressive and not kind of force my way into the lane.”

Mavs head coach Jason Kidd said Dallas lost its rhythm and got too caught up with the officials.

“We lost our rhythm in the sense of just playing our game and not worrying about the other elements,” he said. “Our rhythm there in the first two-and-a-half [quarters], we were playing at a high level on both ends offensively and defensively. Then, we just got a little distracted with the whistle. We’ve just got to be better with that.”

Luka Doncic, who had 26 points, nine rebounds, and five assists on Sunday, agreed with Kidd about the team getting distracted by the officials.

“It’s probably true,” he said.

Kidd knows what it takes to win an NBA title; he did it as a player and an assistant. According to Kidd, if the Mavs want to win a championship, he believes the team has to grow up.

“We’ve got to grow up, if we want to win a championship,” Kidd said. “There’s no young team that’s ever won a championship, mentally or physically.”

Dallas was down three with 15 seconds left, and an inbound pass from Irving to Doncic was thrown toward the backcourt, but not knowing the ball could be thrown in the backcourt, Doncic tried to keep the ball in the frontcourt, which caused a turnover. Anthony Davis secured the loose ball for the Lakers, and Dallas was forced to foul.

“I thought Luka needed a little bit more room, so I threw it towards the backcourt because I thought Jarred Vanderbilt did a great job denying him,” Irving said of the play. “I thought he was just going to let it bounce twice and then go grab it, but once I saw him try to save it from halfcourt, I looked at him maybe like a minute later and was like, ‘You know you can go backcourt,’ and he was like, ‘Ah, man. That’s my fault.’”

Doncic added: “That was my bad. I totally forgot you can go backcourt. That was my mistake. That is why I tried to save it.”

Dallas, who has lost four of their last five games, has to execute better late in games, and thus far, Doncic and Irving have struggled together in that area. Fortunately, with 20 games left in the regular season, they have time to fix it.

“I’m glad it’s happening during the season and not during the playoffs,” Kidd said. “When you have those two guys [Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving] out there, it’s about the details. We’ve got to do a better job with the details.”

76ers’ Embiid on final 30 seconds of regulation against Lakers: ‘We were just trying to figure out what the hell was going on’

It would not have been pretty if the Philadelphia 76ers(13-12) lost to the Lakers(10-15) on Friday night. Philadelphia led by as many as 18 points in the fourth; they had a 16-point lead with just under five minutes to go, and the Sixers led by nine points with 34.8 seconds left in regulation.

Then, it got crazy. Philadelphia turned the ball over three times in the final 30 seconds of the game. Ultimately, the Lakers had an opportunity to win it in regulation, but Anthony Davis missed one of two free throws, and the game would go into overtime.

In OT, James Harden would score nine of his 28 points to go along with 12 assists, and Philly would outscore the Lakers 13-2 to win 133-122 at Wells Fargo Center. 

“We will take the win, and one thing that I will say is that usually when you give up a lead like that, to gather yourself and play well in overtime is rare,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “I told our guys that we were very proud of that. Just the mistakes we made down the stretch, very similar to the Houston game; we have to fix that.”

Joel Embiid added: “We were just trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Honestly, I think we had a bunch of turnovers, and we should have never been in that position. I’m glad we had another opportunity, and it went to overtime, and we closed it out.”

The first quarter was all about Embiid, who scored 20 of his 38 points in the first quarter. According to Embiid, he wanted to set the tone for the team.

“I tried to send a message to my teammates,” he said. “I often hear a lot about how I’m actually due to be the best offensive player, the best defensive player, playmaking, leadership; it’s a lot to deal with, but you know I like the challenge.”

The third quarter was all about D’Anthony Melton. He scored 16 of his 33 points in the third quarter. In addition, according to Stathead, Melton is the first 76er in franchise history to post 30-plus points, eight-plus three-pointers, and seven-plus steals in a game. He joins Michael Adams as the only NBA players ever to do so in league history. 

“On offense, my teammates were just finding me,” Melton said. “They kept leaving me open, so I just kept shooting it and shooting it with confidence. We got so many guys that draw attention that it opens up space for other players. Tonight, was my night and my teammates kept finding me, and I kept finding the open spot. “

In the future, Philly has to be stronger with the ball. They ended the game with 23 turnovers, and those turnovers almost cost them in the end. Philly’s seven-game homestand, which could help the team string together some wins, continues on Sunday against the Hornets. 

The Great, Not So Great, & Bottom Line of Cavs’ win over Lakers

On Tuesday night, the Cavs(16-9) began a three-game homestand as they welcomed LeBron James and the Lakers(10-13). Cleveland got a little fortunate as Anthony Davis, who had been on a tear, left the game in the first half with the flu and did not return.

Fortunately for Cleveland, they got Jarrett Allen back, and ultimately, they would defeat the Lakers 116-102 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to sweep the season series. 

With the loss, the Lakers three-game winning was snapped, while the Cavs have won three of their last four.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over the Lakers.


Donovan Mitchell had a season-high 43 points(17-27 FG) to go along with five rebounds, six assists, and four steals. According to StatMuse, Mitchell became the first Cavalier to have a 40/5/5/4 game since, guess who, LeBron James.

Fourth Quarter: With the game tied at 92, the Cavs took over. They went on a 21-6 run to take their largest lead of the game at 113-98. When the Cavs needed him the most, Mitchell came up big, with 17 points in the fourth. 

Jarrett Allen, who returned after missing five games with a lower back injury, scored 22 of his season-high tying 24 points in the first half and grabbed 11 boards. This is a different team when Allen is on the court, and it showed against the Lakers.

Darius Garland had a double-double with 21 points and 11 assists. This was Garland’s sixth double-double of the season.

Points in the Paint: The Cavs stayed in the Lakers’ paint. They scored 70 of their 116 points in the paint.

Not So Great:

All good for the Cavs

Bottom Line:

The Cavs swept LeBron and the Lakers this season. The Cavs win their seventh straight at home and move to 11-1 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Last season, LeBron came into Cleveland, had a triple-double, and dominated the fourth quarter, this season, the Cavs have Donovan Mitchell, and he was not going to let that happen.

Mitchell was the one who controlled the fourth.

What’s Next:

Cleveland continues their three-game homestand on Friday night against the Sacramento Kings.

Best of the Rest:

LeBron James led the Lakers with 21 points and a season-high 17 rebounds; Thomas Bryant had season-highs of 19 points and nine rebounds.

James falls to 17-3 against the Cavs in his career. 

In two games against the Lakers this season, Mitchell has averaged 38 points.

Junkyard Dog:

Donovan Mitchell got the “Junkyard Dog” award for his dominating performance against the Lakers.

Lakers’ Howard on altercation with AD: ‘We squashed it right then and there’

The Los Angles Lakers added a few pieces to their team in the offseason. They brought in guys like Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, DeAndre Jordan and brought in two guys from their 2020 championship team in Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo, but they have gotten off to a slow start.

On Friday, the Lakers(0-2) dropped their second straight game as they were defeated by the Suns(1-1) 115-105 at Staples Center.

The loss is not too concerning when you consider it’s only the second game of the season. However, what might be more concerning is what transpired on the team’s bench between Howard and Anthony Davis.

The two got into a shoving match in the second quarter after a Suns timeout. 

Watch below:

After the game, both Howard and Davis said it was squashed.

“We squashed it right then and there,” Howard said. “We just had a disagreement about something that was on the floor… We’re grown men, things happen. But we are going to squash this little issue between me and him, and that’s my brother, that’s my teammate.”

Davis, who had 22 points and 14 rebounds on Friday night, added: “After the situation happened, me and DH, we talked about it, and we left it at that.”

According to Davis, the argument started over an issue with their pick-and-roll defense.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel says stuff like this happens when you’re losing:

“When you’re getting your a** kicked, sometimes those conversations get heated,” he said. “They talked it out, and that’s going to happen from time to time.”

Howard did not play in the second half, but Vogel said it had nothing to do with the incident with Davis.

In an 82-game season, stuff like this does happen. This could bring the Lakers closer, and we’ll see the impact this altercation may have on Los Angeles going forward.

Howard talks altercation with Davis:

Lakers use big third quarter to defeat Suns in Game 3

The Los Angeles Lakers had their first home playoff game in eight years at Staples Center, and they took full advantage of it. Behind Anthony Davis’ 34 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists, and LeBron James’ 21 points, nine assists, and six rebounds. The Lakers defeated the Suns 109-95 in Game 3 of their first-round best of seven game series.

Deandre Ayton led the Suns with 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Booker scored 19 points.

The Lakers lead the series 2-1. Game 4 is Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles. This game turned in the third quarter. The Lakers outscored the Suns by 10 points and led by as many as 17 points in the third. Davis scored 18 points in the quarter, while James added 10 points. The Lakers never looked back, and now they have control of this series.

There were a lot of interesting subplots in this game. In the fourth quarter, LeBron James went head-to-head with Phoenix’s Jae Crowder and scored on a reverse layup, which excited the Lakers bench and the Staples Center crowd. Crowder would be ejected in the fourth. Also, late in the fourth, Booker would get ejected after being called for a Flagrant two foul. Booker shoved Dennis Schroder, who had 20 points in Game 3, while he was in the air. 

“That wasn’t a basketball play, and regular season, it’s probably a suspension as well,” Schroder said after the game.

“It’s a dirty play,” Davis said. “Dennis could’ve really gotten hurt right there.”

James added: “I thought the play wasn’t a basketball play.”

Suns PG Chris Paul, who is battling a shoulder injury, came into Thursday’s action 0-10 in playoffs games refereed by Scott Foster. After losing to the Lakers, Paul is now 0-11 in games officiated by Foster.

Paul never mentioned Foster by name, but at the end of his post-game interview, Paul had this to say:

“11 in a row.”

Watching Paul, who had seven points, six assists, and five rebounds in Game 3, struggle is brutal. Phoenix may have to make a tough decision and sit Paul down because right now, he has been ineffective. In his place, Cameron Payne has played well. Payne scored 15 points and dished out six assists on Thursday night and had a strong Game 2, so it might be time to turn to Payne.

It should be interesting to see how Paul and the Suns respond in Game 4 on Sunday, which is a must-win situation for this team.



Mavs’ Doncic; ‘No matter how we’re not trying to be in the Play-In Tournament’

The Dallas Mavericks moved up in the standing after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 115-110 at American Airlines Center on Thursday night. With the win, Dallas(32-26) and Portland(32-26) are tied for the sixth spot in the Western Conference. 

Dallas, who have won two straight, concludes their five-game homestand when they play the Lakers(35-24) in the second game of their two-game set on Saturday night.

Luka Doncic again led the way for the Mavericks with 30 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, and three steals. He now leads the NBA this season with 18 games of 30-plus points, five-plus rebounds, and five-plus assists.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Lakers with a season and team-high 29 points, including six threes, and Dennis Schroder added 25. 

After the game, Doncic reacted to moving on up to sixth-seed in the Western Conference.

“I think that’s great,” he said. “We’re just trying to get into the playoffs. No matter how we’re not trying to be in the Play-In Tournament. We’re trying to keep moving up.”

While they got the victory, not all was good for the Mavericks. Kristaps Porzingis, who had 19 points and six rebounds, left the game in the third quarter due to a left ankle sprain. 

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle is hoping the injury is not too severe. 

“[Kristaps Porzingis’] left ankle — he rolled it [and we’re] uncertain as to the severity,” Carlisle said. “We’re hoping it’s not too severe. I don’t think he’s been ruled out for Saturday yet, but with ankles, a lot of it’s about how the player is feeling the next morning. We’ll see where he is tomorrow. He was in pretty good spirits After the game. He is walking. He’s not in a boot or anything at this point, although he has it wrapped with some elastic tape. Anyhow, we had a lot of guys contribute.”

While Los Angeles was still without LeBron James, Thursday marked the return of Anthony Davis, who missed 30 games due to a calf injury. Davis finished with four points and four rebounds in 17 minutes. 

“I felt fine,’ Davis said. “My wind felt better than expected. I had looks that I missed, but I felt good out there to give the team some juice. Going through the second half was tough watching everything that was happening and not being able to play, though.”

Defeating the Lakers on Thursday night was not easy, and beating the Lakers on Saturday night will probably be even more challenging for Dallas, especially if they don’t have Porzingis. But, if they want to continue to move up in the standings, they have to keep winning.