LOS ANGELES –This turned out to be one of those dreadful nights where the Dallas Mavericks probably wish they could have just stayed in their hotel room and watched TV all night.
Nothing worked for the Mavs offensively on Sunday as they suffered their lowest scoring output of the season and eventually fell to the Los Angeles Lakers, 108-95, before a STAPLES Center sellout crowd of 18,997.
The offensive meltdown included the Mavs shooting just 36 percent from the field and making only 13 of their 43 3-point attempts. They also uncharacteristically turned the ball over 19 times.
“We had a slow start offensively,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I thought they did some good things defensively.
“We needed to be a little better with our shot-making. We had some odd turnovers — stepping out of bounds, missing dunks — but overall they played with more force. Any time we started to get some traction they had an answer, so it was disappointing.”
In addition to losing the game and being held under 100 points for just the second time this season, the Mavs (21-11) also escaped two injury situations that could have been catastrophic.
An extremely scary situation occurred when point guard Luka Doncic fell hard to the floor and landed on his back and also banged the back of his head on the court when he was fouled by Dwight Howard with 2:03 remaining in the second quarter. Doncic laid on the floor for about three minutes while surrounded by Mavs coaches, teammates and medical personnel, and even LeBron James — he turns 35 on Monday — and some of the Lakers.
Doncic eventually got up, buried two free throws and then went to the dressing room and into concussion protocol.
“It was scary,” Doncic said. “I fell on my back and hit my head, my elbow. I was OK.”
Also, shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. left the game midway through the first quarter and didn’t return after he suffered a left hamstring injury. The injury occurred when Hardaway stole a pass and converted a breakaway dunk.
It is not known if Hardaway will be able to play in Tuesday’s game at Oklahoma City, but Carlisle said he believes the seven-year veteran will be listed as day-to-day.
“This is not going to be a serious thing,” Carlisle said. “We’re very optimistic that this can be a short-term thing, so we’ll see. It’s going to most likely be day-to-day.”
That’s the hope, also, from Hardaway’s perspective.
“I’m walking fine and I didn’t feel nothing pop or anything like that,” Hardaway said. “Right now I just got a lot of treatment done during the time they were playing.
“You don’t want to mess with nothing like that,” Hardaway said. “You don’t want it to linger on for more than what it needs to be — I understand that.”
As far as the game, the Lakers were in control for the overwhelming majority of the night. A Mavs team that scored 41 points in the first quarter on Saturday against the Golden State Warriors only had 43 points in the first half against the Lakers when they trailed by 11 points.
In addition, the only other time the Mavs scored under 100 points this season happened when they scored 99 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 26.
Doncic started the second half and finished with a pedestrian-like 19 points, four rebounds, seven assists and six turnovers. Delon Wright scored 14 points, and Dorian Finney-Smith and J. J. Barea collected 12 points apiece.
“I think it was one of the worst games we ever played,” said Doncic, who shook hands with former Laker guard Kobe Bryant, who was sitting courtside. “We didn’t play like us and we had a tough night today.
“Just a bad night for us, a really bad night. We played really bad.”
The Lakers (26-7) held at least an 11-point lead in the entire second half.
“We just couldn’t really get it going,” said Kristaps Porzingis, who finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. “They played good defense. It’s one of those nights. They played really well and we just didn’t have a good game.”
Howard came off the bench and was a huge factor for the Lakers when he went 6-of-6 from the field — all six field goals were dunks — and scored 15 points in the second quarter. And with Anthony Davis motoring for 23 points and nine rebounds, and James adding 13 points, six boards and 13 assists while becoming the ninth NBA player with at least 9,000 career assists, the Lakers showed why they have the best record in the Western Conference.
In the meantime, after playing their third game in four nights, the Mavs are looking forward to a rest and travel day on Monday before Tuesday’s game in Oklahoma City.
“We’re not going to sit on this one for too long,” Porzingis said. “It was not a great game for us, but it’s all a learning experience. We’re a young group — we just got together. We’ll watch the film and learn from this, and it’s on to the next one.”