The Dallas Mavericks secured a thrilling 127-125 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, led by stellar performances from Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. With Kyrie Irving sidelined due to a bruised foot, the Mavericks' duo stepped up significantly.
Doncic amassed 33 points and 17 assists, while Hardaway Jr. notched a season-high 32 points, showcasing his ability to shoulder the scoring burden in Irving's absence. Hardaway Jr., who played despite recent back spasms, felt the responsibility to elevate his game.
"Knowing how they're defending Luka, I had to just try to put a stamp on the game,” Hardaway said.His performance was crucial for the Mavericks, as he managed an impressive shooting display, including a 50% success rate from the three-point line.
Intense Final Moments and Key Contributions
The game was marked by an intense finish, with the Lakers erasing a 15-point deficit early in the third quarter. Anthony Davis and LeBron James led the charge for the Lakers, scoring 37 and 33 points, respectively.
However, their efforts fell just short as the Mavericks held on for the win. Dante Exum played a pivotal role for Dallas, scoring a season-high 26 points and hitting a career-best seven 3-pointers. His sharpshooting, particularly in the fourth quarter, was instrumental in keeping the Mavericks ahead.
Austin Reaves contributed 22 points for the Lakers. The Mavericks were not at full strength, missing several key players due to injuries, including Irving and Derrick Jones Jr. Despite these absences, the team displayed resilience and depth.
Grant Williams returned from injury to add 19 points for Dallas. Doncic's endurance was on full display as he played extensive minutes over two consecutive nights, contributing significantly in the final quarter against the Lakers.
His efforts were a testament to his status as a four-time All-Star and a crucial factor in the Mavericks' success.
“I don’t know how I played,” Doncic said. “I slept very little today, and everything hurts.The victory marked Dallas' fourth consecutive win and demonstrated their ability to compete against top-tier teams, even in the absence of key players.
I am getting older. But we got two back-to-back wins, which is amazing especially against a team like the Lakers”.
The Lakers, coming off a two-day rest and a recent tournament victory, faced a tough challenge against a determined Mavericks team, underscoring the competitiveness of the league.