Losers of three straight, the Los Angeles Lakers were hoping to end that streak and an eight-game losing streak to the Dallas Mavericks but fell short, 90-82, to end their five-game road trip.
After a two-game absence due to a sore back, Kobe Bryant returned to the starting lineup, and the 37-year old immediately went to work, shooting 6 of 7 from the field for 14 points to start the contest.
A reoccurring theme for the Lakers this season has been their slow starts, but tonight, it was surprisingly the complete opposite as they owned an early 10-point lead, 19-9. But after a timeout was called by Rick Carlisle, the momentum shifted, and suddenly the Mavericks went on a 20-5 run to close out the first stanza.
The two teams seesawed back and forth for the remainder of the contest, but Dallas had control of the game for the most part.
Each time the Lakers made a run to close the gap to two or three points, Dallas responded in small spurts to push the margin to eight or nine points.
Zaza Pachulia was the catalyst, notching a huge double-double with 18 points and 16 rebounds. The big man was drawing plenty of fouls, as he earned 11 free throws and converted on eight of them, ultimately fouling Roy Hibbert out of the game.
Pachulia knocked down a critical jump shot from the corner late in the game and hit key free throws down the stretch to help close out the feisty Lakers.
While Pachulia had his best game of the season, Dirk Nowitzki, fresh off a 31-point outing, had his worst game of the season. The seven-footer had merely nine points and five rebounds on 4 of 13 shooting in 29 minutes.
Jordan Clarkson, who had been struggling throughout the road trip, recovered from his funk to score 21 points on 50 percent shooting. Meanwhile, Bryant cooled down considerably as the game progressed, going 1 of 8 after his 6 of 7 start to conclude with 19 points, five rebounds, and three assists.
Lou Williams was the only other Laker in double figures with 10 points.
Both teams shot poorly from the field, hence the low scoring. The Mavericks made 36.6 percent of their shots, while the Lakers made 33.0 percent. But turnovers were the difference, as L.A. coughed up the ball 22 times. Every time the Lakers had an opportunity to gain traction, untimely turnovers hurt them.
During crunch time Coach Byron Scott elected to play rookie D’Angelo Russell. But late game execution was once again porous for the Lakers. Down four with the ball and just under 40 ticks to go, Bryant fired up an unwise, long, contested three-pointer instead of attempting to get a high percentage two.
After Bryant’s miss, Metta World Peace instantly stole the ball back from the Mavs and fired up a three as well and missed, sealing the team’s fate.
Dwight Powell recorded a double-double with 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds off Dallas’ bench, and Deron Williams had a respectable night with 13 points, seven assists, and three steals.
Julius Randle did not have a pleasant shooting night, putting up six points on 2 of 9 shooting, but he did indeed add 10 rebounds.
The Lakers’ five-game road trip ends with one win and four losses, as they have now dropped four straight games and have fallen to 1-8 on the season. Finally heading back home, the Lakers will rally against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, November 15.
The Dallas Mavericks have pushed their record above .500 at 5-4 and will have a crucial road game coming up tomorrow night against their Texas rivals, the Houston Rockets.