Sunday’s battle between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers was one of the biggest games for the NBA all weekend. Late autumn Sunday afternoons is typically dominated by football in the sports world, but heads were turning to the battle between the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers. The team with the best record in the league at home against a team led by the front-runner for league MVP Luka Doncic. In what early on was a back and forth battle between the two teams, the Mavericks pulled away in the 3rd and did not look back winning handily in the Staples Center 114-100. Let us take a look at what we have learned from this game.
Doncic is currently the NBA’s best player: Doncic has gotten off to one of the best stretches we have seen of an NBA player ever and kept it rolling Sunday with a 27 point, 10 assist, and 9 rebound performance. He is GONE OFF so far this season averaging at triple-double with 30.1 points per game, 9.9 rebounds per game, and 9.6 assists per game. He has not only shown he is able to hang in this league, he has shown he is able to run this league for many years to come. His combination of size, shooting range, crafty finishes in the paint, with his court vision and ball-hawking ability to chase down rebounds is nothing short of amazing. He is shooting over 48% from the field and is spearheading the best offense in the league that is 1st in offensive rating and 4th in points per game. As long as he is playing at this level, the Mavericks are truly capable of beating anybody.
The Mavericks road to success goes as far as the supporting cast takes them: The key to the Mavericks winning this game against the Lakers was not only because of the amazing play from Doncic, but the scoring contributions from his teammates. When his teammates step up and produce, the Mavericks prove to be unstoppable. In this game in Los Angeles, 4 different players scored in double figures that did not include Doncic. Delon Wright looked phenomenal in his 6th man role scoring 17 points and dishing out 9 assists. Dwight Powell, Kristaps Portzingis, and Justin Jackson each put up 15 points of their own in this impressive scoring effort against what has thus far been one of the best defenses in this league. Although Doncic has shown that he is ready to shoulder the load of being a star in this league, Porizingis needs to continue to be that reliant second option and they still need scoring from Hardaway, Brunson, Jackson, and Powell in order to be the best version of them. This team has a solid young core with a ton of promise and a star that can lead the navigation through the Western Conference to the NBA Finals, but that ship will not get far if the rest of the team does not continue contributing offensively to that success.
The Lakers need to step up in statement games: Even including this loss, the Lakers have been the most impressive team in the league thus far. Jumping out to a 17-3 record while shuffling in a whole new cast of players from this season to last season has been an impressive feat. The Lakers lost a good chunk of their core that consisted of Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and their Head Coach Luke Walton. Replacing them were Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, Javale McGee, and Danny Green as well as new Head Coach Frank Vogel. This new regime took little time to grow chemistry together and start rattling off wins. However, it seems as though that when the lights are brightest in their games thus far, that is when they falter. Their three losses this season have came to their in-town rival Clippers, the defending champion Raptors, and the rising Mavericks. When looking at their season so far, they lost to the three best teams they have played against and all of those losses came at home. In those losses they gave up their three highest scoring totals of the season; 112, 113, and 114 respectively not including their 130-127 shootout with OKC. If defense is going to be what brings home championships for the Lakers, it needs to come with them in the big games they play. They have a tough back-to-back coming up this week in Denver and in Utah, it should be interesting to see how they bounce back from Sunday’s loss.
Below here is the link with the extended highlight recap of the game: