DALLAS – After their countless struggles on the road this season, the Dallas Mavericks returned home from a week-long road trip to discover that their home court has now betrayed them.
Following a flawless first half when they tallied 67 points and appeared untouchable, the Mavs could muster but 30 points in the second half en route to falling to the Los Angeles Lakers, 107-97, before a Monday night American Airlines Center sellout crowd of 20,354.
It was a weird set of circumstances for the Mavs, who led by as many as 15 points in the first half as they had their way with the Lakers, who played without the injured LeBron James. But in the second half the Mavs just couldn’t generate any offense as they got outscored 32-13 in the third quarter and 21-17 in the fourth quarter and dropped to 18-22 on the season.
“We didn’t show up in the second half, plain and simple,” guard J. J. Barea said. “It was embarrassing for the fans — the second half was awful.
“We’re not playing hard enough, especially here at home. We can’t come out like that in the second half and have that showing here.”
The Mavs were so out of sync that Luka Doncic tallied 15 of the 30 points they scored after halftime, including making six of the 11 field goals Dallas converted in the second half. In that ugly second half, Doncic was 2-of-4 from 3-point range, while the rest of the team was 0-of-15.
Overall, the Mavs collected a season-low 12 assists, meaning shots weren’t falling and the ball was not moving around the horn the way they wanted it to. They also were outscored in fast breaks points, 34-5.
“I think I led the team in assists with three,” said Barea, who also scored 11 points. “You can’t win the game like that, so hopefully it won’t happen again.”
Dallas shot just 41.9 percent from the field, missed 22 of its 30 shots from 3-point land, and turned the ball over 19 times. In essence, it was like watching two different ballgames – the efficient offensive showing by the Mavs in the first half and a second half where the air left their balloons.
“They picked it up and we struggled,” coach Rick Carlisle said, explaining what happened in the second half. “Give them a lot of credit for picking up their intensity and picking up their defense.”
Brandon Ingram ignited a 22-6 Laker run that LA ahead, 88-80, early in the fourth quarter. The Mavs got as close as seven – 104-97 – following a pair of free throws by DeAndre Jordan with 1:26 left.
However, Ingram scored inside shortly thereafter and the Mavs saw their record at home drop to 15-4.
“We missed some shots,” Carlisle said. “They weren’t bad shots, but we were unable to get some traction defensively ourselves, and then all of a sudden it’s a 32-point quarter for them and a 13 (point) quarter for us.
“That was where things went sideways for us.”
Doncic led the Mavs with 27 points and eight rebounds, Harrison Barnes and Dennis Smith Jr. tallied 11 points apiece, and Jordan collected 10 points, 19 rebounds, two steals and three blocks.
“We did bad,” Doncic said. “Our defense wasn’t as great as the first half.
“I think they played way better defensively in the second half. We didn’t move the ball as well as we did in the first half.”
The Mavs only picked up two assists in the second half. But the whole night was odd for the Mavs, who scored more points in the first (33) and second (34) quarters than they scored in the entire second half.
“There’s nothing that guarantees you anything when you walk out on your home court, and certainly nothing guarantees you anything just because you have a 13-point halftime lead,” Carlisle said. “You’ve got to play the whole 48 minutes).
“I thought the second half as a whole was just ugly. It’s on all of us. We all own it. Everyone with a uniform to me to all the coaches. We own it. And so we’ve got to get back to work tomorrow. Phoenix is coming in here (on Wednesday). They been a tough matchup for us the last three years.”
Ingram led the Lakers with 29 points and Lonzo Ball finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
“We obviously got to move the ball better,” Carlisle said. “We’ve got to get to a point where it becomes a habit and not something that is only a convenience.
“A lot of guys will try to do the right thing to make something happen, but we’re best on offense when we do move it. And when we move it we’re always better on defense because we’re always more energized.”
NOTES: Add coach Rick Carlisle to the list of folks who were taken aback when Minnesota fired coach Tom Thibodeau right AFTER the Timberwolves blew out the Los Angeles Lakers, 108-86, on Sunday night at home. “Surprising to hear after a 22-point win,” Carlisle said. “But Tom’s a great coach. I communicated with him via text. He’s a guy going forward certainly is going to have plenty of options, but you never want to see coaches go at all, let alone in the middle of the year in a situation like that. It was surprising.” In addition to being the Mavs’ coach, Carlisle also is the president to the coaches association. . .Prior to Monday’s game the Mavs observed a moment of silence for Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher, who died last Thursday at the age of 87. . .Cowboys players Ezekiel Elliott, DeMarcus Lawrence and Jaylon Smith attended the game, as well as former Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. The crowd went wild when Elliott was shown on the Jumbotron. Elliott then gave his patented “Feed Me” routine. The Cowboys play the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. in the NFC semifinals in LA. . . .Coach Carlisle said guard/forward Ryan Broefhoff earned the right to be on the active roster for Monday’s game against the Lakers because of the way he was ready and played last Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers. In that game against the Sixers, Broekhoff was 6-of-8 from the field and scored 15 points in only 22 minutes. Thus, Broekhoff was on the active roster Monday, but did not play.