The Los Angeles Lakers were busy ahead of the NBA trade deadline, and LeBron James is pleased with the team’s new look.
“I feel like we’re in a good place,” he told reporters after Sunday’s 111-108 win over the Dallas Mavericks, which included overcoming a 27-point deficit. “We’re gonna try to continue that.”
The Lakers most famously moved on from Russell Westbrook ahead of the deadline, while adding players like Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley. Since bringing aboard the latter three in the Westbrook deal, the Lakers are 4-1.
Every game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks this season seems to end the same way: purple and gold heartbreak. When they faced off on Christmas, Dallas outscored Los Angeles by 30 points in the worst quarter of the season for the Lakers. In the January rematch, Dallas won a controversial, double-overtime thriller that featured questionable officiating on both sides. When Dallas jumped out to a 48-21 lead in the second quarter of the rivalry’s third installment of the season on Sunday, it looked as though the Lakers were heading for a similar fate.
And then a couple of shots started falling. A 27-point lead was trimmed to 14 at the half. The defense clamped down after that, holding Dallas to just 20 points in the third quarter and cutting the lead down to only three. And in the final period? The stars were the difference. LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 18 points as Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving melted down. With 18 seconds remaining, a Doncic turnover with the Mavericks trailing by three effectively sealed the comeback. The Lakers defeated the Mavericks, 111-108.
“It gives us a lot more freedom on the defensive end,” Davis told reporters Sunday about having Vanderbilt in the starting lineup.
“I think each and every game we’ve gotten better, gotten more chemistry,” Vanderbilt added. “So just trying to keep building in that right direction. Keep progressing. I can see the chemistry getting there each and every game.”
James added 26 points and eight rebounds while shooting 10-of-23 from the field. Jarred Vanderbilt finished 15 points and 17 rebounds. The win marked the third-straight for the Lakers, and the fourth in their last five games.
Doncic added nine rebounds and five assists, and Irving finished with 11 rebounds and five assists. They were the only two Mavericks starters to score double figures. Dallas has now lost four of its last five games, and has only won once with both Irving and Doncic on the floor since their trade.
LeBron James limps out of arena with foot injury
The Lakers got the win, but it may have come at a price.
James injured his right foot in the third quarter quarter, and was seen holding his ankle on the court and saying, “I heard a pop.” He insisted after that he never thought about sitting the rest of the way. He didn’t get into too much detail after, other than saying he “has been better.”
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