SCARY SITUATION: You ever have something happen to you and you immediately start processing it, and the possible end results weren’t good? That may have been the case with some Mavs fans after Luka Doncic fell hard to the floor on his back and bumped the back of his head after absorbing a hard foul from Dwight Howard late in the second quarter. Doncic went briefly into concussion protocol, was declared fine and wound up starting the second half. The point guard played 30 minutes and finished with 19 points, four rebounds and seven assists. More importantly, he survived a very real scare that probably made Mavs followers sick to their stomach.

HARDAWAY INJURES HAMSTRING: A routine play in the first quarter by shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. turned into something that cost him the rest of Sunday’s game. Hardaway stepped into the passing lane and stole a pass in the backcourt, dribbled down court and ended up perfecting a slam dunk. But a problem occurred when Hardaway said he had an uncomfortable feeling on the play. And on the Mavs’ next possession, Hardaway was in obvious pain and clutching his left hamstring and had to be permanently removed from the game. Coach Rick Carlisle said he didn’t believe Hardaway’s injury is serious and that he probably will be listed as day-to-day.

OFFENSE DISAPPEARED: For some odd reason the Mavs had no offensive consistency on Sunday. But it happens to the best of teams, and it certainly happened to the Mavs during their 108-95 loss to the Lakers. The 95 points were the fewest the Mavs have scored in a game this season and it was just the second time Dallas has been held under 100 points. In Saturday’s game at the Golden State Warriors, the Mavs scored 141 points, including 41 points in the first quarter when they were 10-of-15 from 3-point land. A day later against the Lakers, the Mavs scored a mere 43 points in the first half and were 13-of-43 from beyond the 3-point arc.

HOWARD A DIFFERENCE-MAKER: Before the game, coach Rick Carlisle talked about how impactful Lakers backup Dwight Howard has been this season. Carlisle’s words turned out to be prophetic as Howard came off the bench and poured in 15 points in the second quarter when the game started tilting in the Lakers’ favor. In the second quarter, Howard was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field. Then again, it was sort of easy for him to make all of his field goals since all six were dunks. The Mavs had problems keeping Howard out of the paint, obviously.

LEBRON CELEBRATES BIRTHDAY: LeBron James turned 35 years old today. And it seemed as though the Laker superstar wanted to celebrate it a day early by giving, not receiving, presents as he got his teammates involved in the offense. James only took 10 shots and made just three while finishing with 13 points. But the NBA’s assist leader pulled down six rebounds, picked up two steals and handed out a game-high 13 assists in 34 minutes. He also became the ninth player to collect at least 9,000 career assists. As a side note, the Associated Press just named James as its Male Athlete of the Decade after he won three titles and advanced to eight straight NBA Finals this decade.

Twitter: @DwainPrice


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