Dallas Mavericks

Game 33: Mavs at Lakers

Highlights: Mavs vs. Lakers

Five Mavs reached double-figures, led by Wesley Matthews’ 20, in Thursday’s 101-89 win over the Lakers.

LOS ANGELES — After sliding to back-to-back losses to start a stretch of four games in five nights, the Dallas Mavericks found themselves trying to avoid a three-game skid without their veteran leader Thursday in Los Angeles.

Traveling to L.A. for a second meeting of the season against the Lakers, the Mavericks tried to end their losing skid without the services of 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki as the 7-footer sat out due to an illness. The Mavs also attempted to continue their recent dominance over the Lakers after winning the previous 11 games between the two teams, looking to replicate a 109-97 win in L.A. back on Nov. 8. And despite playing without Nowitzki, the Mavericks (10-23) continued to have the Lakers’ number while pulling away in the second half en route to a 101-89 victory for their 12th straight win in the head-to-head series.

“One thing that we’ve struggled with a little bit is playing with a lead and keeping it. As a team, we know what they’re capable of and know that they’ve had some pretty good wins this season, and we just were grinding. We did it together at the defensive end of the floor, and we did it together at the offensive end of the floor,” swingman Wesley Matthews said after leading the way to the win.

Opening the game with a starting lineup of three-time All-Star point guard Deron Williams, Matthews, undrafted rookie Dorian Finney-Smith, leading scorer Harrison Barnes and center Andrew Bogut, the Mavericks tried to get out of the gates quickly to drown out the L.A. crowd. An emphatic two-handed slam by Barnes then got the Mavs going in the right direction, sparking a 7-0 start to the night.

The Lakers (12-24) quickly answered with a 15-0 run of their own, taking the lead after back-to-back three-pointers by sharpshooter Nick Young and another triple by D’Angelo Russell. Young continued to stay hot from long range in the quarter, hitting his first four shots from behind the three-point line in the process. And despite a boost from sixth man Devin Harris off the bench with eight quick points, the Mavericks entered the second quarter in a 27-26 hole.

Seeing the Lakers put their foot on the gas to open the second period on a 10-0 run, the Mavericks fell into a double-digit deficit after Jordan Clarkson’s driving score with 9:08 left in the half. Second-year standout Justin Anderson then attempted to spark his team with a three from the corner, but the Lakers continued to have an answer at the other end as reserve guard Lou Williams took over L.A.’s scoring duties.

Mavs third-year big man Dwight Powell also stepped up his play, throwing down a thunderous slam to bring the visiting team to within five, 45-40, with 4:29 left in the half.

“I just tried to do the best job I could going hard and trying to creating opportunities for our guards with good screens on the weak side and with hard rolls. And then when the ball comes to me, I try to finish,” Powell would later say.

But after Barnes moved into double figures for a 33rd straight game, which is the most ever by a Dallas player to start his tenure with the Mavs, the Lakers regained control behind big man Julius Randle. Russell took charge from there as the Lakers escaped with a 57-50 advantage into the halftime break.

Led by Powell’s 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting and five rebounds in the half, the Mavericks stayed in the game while being outshot through two quarters, 56.8 percent to 48.8 percent. The Lakers also held a 20-19 rebounding edge while converting the Mavs’ eight first-half turnovers into 13 points.

“Well, in the first half we just weren’t taking anything away,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle confessed. “They were shooting the three well, they were getting to the free-throw line and they were shooting a great percentage. And we just said, ‘Look, what’s gotten us wins this year is the defensive end, and we’ve just got to recommit right now.’”

Opening the second half the same way he closed the second quarter with a three-pointer from the top of the key, Finney-Smith later fed Williams in transition as the Mavericks tried to muster up a rally. Finney-Smith followed that with a tip-in score to bring the Mavs within three, 60-57, with 9:50 left in the third quarter.

Young and Matthews then exchanged threes as the two teams began to trade haymakers. But after Barnes brought the Mavericks to within one, back-to-back treys by Matthews gave the visiting team a 70-65 edge. Another three by sharpshooter Seth Curry would follow as the Mavs led by as many as eight. And after back-to-back threes by Harris and Curry put their team up by 10, the Mavericks took an 81-70 advantage into the fourth.

“We got physical in the second half and started playing harder and together,” Matthews explained. “We got a lot of stops, and we were able to not take the ball out of the net and just got to play basketball. We were making shots, we were getting in a rhythm, we were getting good looks, and we were able to open the game up a little bit.”

Starting the fourth quarter with Tunisian big man Salah Mejri at center after Bogut met his minute restriction at 22, the Mavericks tried to lock in on the defensive end during the final period. Mejri also supplied a little offense, finishing a bullet pass from Williams with a two-handed dunk in the lane as the Mavs surged to an 85-75 lead.

Barnes jumped into the scoring shortly after that, connecting on a three from the corner as the Mavericks’ lead ballooned to 14. Williams and Matthews took matters from there as the separation grew to 16 on the scoreboard. And despite seeing Williams foul out with 2:42 remaining, the Mavericks cruised to the win down the stretch after Harris’ three put the Dallas team up 100-84.

Scoring 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting and 4 of 9 from three-point range, Matthews led the Mavericks to the win. Meanwhile, Barnes scored 17 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Harris and Powell added 14 points apiece off the bench, and Finney-Smith made it five Mavs in double figures with 12 points in the first unit.

Randle led five Lakers in double figures with 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting. But the Mavericks finished the game outshooting the Lakers, 49.4 percent to 47.1 percent, using a 42-34 rebounding advantage to overcome the 18 L.A. points scored off their 17 turnovers.

“We have experience, and we played these guys one other time in a game that was a similar type of game. We respect how explosive they are, and once we got the lead we were able to build it up a little bit,” Carlisle concluded. “You know, we played smart and efficient, and we didn’t have a lot of catastrophic turnovers to get them going and get the building going. So, you know, credit to our guys. They did a good job at both ends of the floor.”

Note: The Mavericks will now conclude their stretch of four games in five nights Friday against the Golden State Warriors. Golden State leads the season series 1-0 after a 116-95 home win on Nov. 9. The game will tip off at 9:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270.

The Mavs return to American Airlines Center next Tuesday night, hosting the Washington Wizards. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Dirk Nowitzki (illness) — out

J.J. Barea (left leg muscle strain) — out

LOS ANGELES — After going through their morning shootaround without 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and Tunisian center Salah Mejri, the Dallas Mavericks could take the court minus the pair of 7-footers Thursday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Nowitzki and Mejri missed the team’s morning walkthrough while both tried to recuperate from an illness that seems to be circulating the Mavericks’ locker room. The two could now be forced to miss time as the Mavs play their third matchup during a stretch of four games in five nights. And although Mavs coach Rick Carlisle doesn’t know for certain the availability of the twin towers, he hasn’t yet ruled out the possibility that Nowitzki and Mejri could feel better by game time.

“We’ll see who is available tonight,” Carlisle matter-of-factly said. “There’s a chance we’ll have some guys available that weren’t at shootaround, but we’ll see.”

With the availability of their big men uncertain, the Mavericks (9-23) will attempt to bounce back on the road after dropping their previous two games. The Mavs will also try to continue their recent dominance over the Lakers (12-23) after winning the previous 11 games in the head-to-head series, including a 109-97 win in L.A. on Nov. 8.

However, with a matchup looming against the NBA-best Golden State Warriors on Friday, Carlisle says it’s important that his team remains focused on the task at hand. That said, the Mavs will attempt to duplicate that victory last month with a similar performance Thursday night.

“We  played a very solid game, and we’ll need to do the same tonight,” Carlisle said while briefly recalling the Mavericks’ double-digit victory the last time they matched up with the Lakers.

“I’m not even thinking about tomorrow,” he added. “This is a one-day-at-a-time league, so today’s Thursday and we’re going to work on Thursday. But we have a plan for tonight and we have contingencies, and we’ll see which way the wind blows with Mother Nature. That’s really where we are as to how guys are feeling.”

Note: The Mavericks will now head to the West Coast for a difficult back-to-back that begins Thursday night against the Los Angeles Lakers. Dallas leads the season series 1-0 after a 109-97 win in L.A. on Nov. 8. The game will tip off at 9:30 p.m. CT, airing nationally on TNT and locally on 103.3 FM ESPN.

The Mavs return to American Airlines Center next Tuesday night, hosting the Washington Wizards. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

A.J. Hammons (illness) — probable

Andrew Bogut (right knee injury) — questionable

Salah Mejri (illness) — questionable

Dirk Nowitzki (illness) — questionable

J.J. Barea (left leg muscle strain) — out

LOS ANGELES — Traveling to the West Coast for the second time in the last week, the Dallas Mavericks find themselves needing to rebound from two consecutive losses Thursday night to begin a difficult back-to-back on the road.

Winning two straight games on the road before falling to a 111-104 defeat in New Orleans on Monday, the Mavericks (9-23) returned home but fell to a 123-107 lopsided loss to conclude a back-to-back Tuesday night against Houston. The Mavs will now attempt to avoid a three-game skid during the third outing in a stretch of four games in five nights, looking to get the better of the Los Angeles Lakers for a second time this season. And after welcoming starting center Andrew Bogut back Tuesday night following an 11-game absence with a right knee injury, the Mavs hope to bring their current slide to an end.

“Well, Bogut had a good impact when he was in the game. That was a positive,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said after seeing Bogut grab six rebounds in 10 scoreless minutes during Tuesday’s loss. “He’s been a high-impact guy for us really all year. And look, it’s good to be getting healthier. We’re struggling and we’re not playing great, obviously, and we came up against a real juggernaut of a team (Tuesday night). And it was not a good result. We didn’t play particularly well, but we kept scraping and kept fighting, and I like that. We’ve just got to continue to do that.”

The Mavericks certainly scraped and fought their way to a win the last time they saw the Lakers (12-23), extending their 11-game winning streak in the head-to-head series by sprinting to a 109-97 victory in L.A. back on Nov. 8. The Mavs now hope for a repeat performance in front of a nationally-televised audience on Thursday.

Scoring 31 points on 11-of-18 shooting, Mavs leading scorer Harrison Barnes sparked five Mavericks in double figures during that November win. Meanwhile, sharpshooter Seth Curry added a career-high 23 points off the bench, connecting on 9 of 15 from the field and 4 of 7 from three-point range. The Mavs also outshot the Lakers for the night, 52.4 percent to 48.7 percent, while converting L.A.’s 17 turnovers into 20 points as both teams grabbed 37 rebounds. That said, the Mavericks will need another well-rounded performance in order to collect a win before wrapping up their four-in-five-nights stretch Friday against the NBA-best Golden State Warriors.

“We had some pretty good stretches,” Barnes said while recalling the first matchup against the Lakers. “We were moving it around a little bit and making some shots. I think our core is we’re just going to continue to fight. You know, we’ve gotten down early on in these first few games, but we just battled back and we stuck to our process.”

Note: The Mavericks will now head to the West Coast for a difficult back-to-back that begins Thursday night against the Los Angeles Lakers. Dallas leads the season series 1-0 after a 109-97 win in L.A. on Nov. 8. The game will tip off at 9:30 p.m. CT, airing nationally on TNT and locally on 103.3 FM ESPN.

The Mavs return to American Airlines Center next Tuesday night, hosting the Washington Wizards. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Andrew Bogut (right knee injury) — questionable

A.J. Hammons (illness) — questionable

J.J. Barea (left leg muscle strain) — out

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