It was a dominating performance by the LA Lakers as they cruised to a 138-115 victory against the Dallas Mavericks on Christmas Day 2020. The 23-point embarrassment that the Lakers administered made up for their opening night loss to the LA Clippers.
Luka Doncic needed more support from his teammates, especially on the defensive end. In contrast, LeBron James and Anthony Davis received ample contributions from the rest of the Lakers, including 60 points off the bench.
James, Davis, and newcomer Montrezl Harrell each scored more than 20 points, while on the Mavericks side, it was only Doncic with 27 who topped 20.
How did the LA Lakers make this game look so easy? What does this game say about the Dallas Mavericks?
Check out 5 talking points from the Christmas Day game between the LA Lakers and Dallas Mavericks:
No. 5 - The LA Lakers are way better this season because of Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell
Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell proved that the LA Lakers were right to acquire them in the offseason. The Lakers were already the team to beat, and these two demonstrated their added value against the Dallas Mavericks.
Schroder controlled the tempo when LeBron James was on the bench and contributed mightily to the Lakers’ offense. Harrell’s energy was infectious and his 22 points led both teams’ reserves. There was no let-up on either end of the court when James and Davis were on the bench because of Schroder and Harrell.
No. 4 - The Dallas Mavericks have a lot of work to do to compete for a title
A loss to the Phoenix Suns during their season opener and now a lopsided loss to the LA Lakers doesn’t bode well for a Dallas Mavericks team that was touted as a championship contender after their impressive showing against the LA Clippers during the 2020 playoffs.
After surrendering 138 points to the Lakers, the Mavs have their work cut out for them on defense. The defending champions repeatedly scored inside without much trouble. Though they had 13 steals for the game, showing the Dallas Mavericks' interior defense needs work. The entire team blocked just two shots all night.
No. 3 - Kristaps Porzingis was sorely missed in this game
Several times Friday night the ESPN cameras focused on Kristaps Porzingis, who is out until January because of a meniscus tear. It was a reminder of how much the Dallas Mavericks are missing the All-Star big man. As good as Doncic is, he needs Porzingis to help him carry the load.
Porzingis is a match-up nightmare for many teams. At 7-foot-3, he could have made the battle of the boards versus the LA Lakers more interesting. Instead, the LA Lakers hammered the Dallas Mavericks in rebounding with a 53-27 advantage. His scoring and ability to space the floor would have been a welcome sight for Dallas.
No. 2 - Kyle Kuzma’s confidence is sky-high
Last year, Kyle Kuzma seemed lost on offense once Anthony Davis arrived. Not this year. Kuzma has been shooting the ball well the past two games for the LA Lakers, draining timely jump shots and 3-pointers to help stave off rallies by the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.
He scored 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field including 3-of-4 from 3-point range in only 22 minutes of action. There’s a bounce to his step this season and the LA Lakers are feeding him the ball where he wants it.
No. 1 - LeBron James still has a leg up on Luka Doncic… for now
This was the head-to-head battle to watch. LeBron James showed everyone that while Luka Doncic may be the NBA’s future, the present still belongs to the King. The LA Lakers' veteran took control of the game from start to finish and his playmaking was beautiful to watch, leading to 10 assists for last year's league leader.
Doncic was no slouch either, but it was clear who had better command of his team in this game. The 21-year-old played well and had huge moments in the game. His 3-point shooting was solid – 2-of-5 – after two seasons of struggling beyond the arc.
James took Doncic to school a couple of times, despite terrific defense from the Dallas Mavericks' star.
The four-time MVP and LA Lakers leader may have won this battle, but there’s no denying that Doncic could own the league once he gets the right pieces to support him.Published 26 Dec 2020, 10:27 IST