5 TAKEAWAYS FROM THE 114-100 WIN OVER THE LAKERS
DELON CONTRIBUTED THE (W)RIGHT STUFF: His name may not always be in the headlines, but Delon Wright gave the Mavs a steady hand Sunday against the Lakers. The fifth-year guard came off the bench and played one of his best games of the season. Not only was Wright spreading the ball all over, but he also did something he’s rarely done this season. He was looking for his own shot. Wright was an efficient 7-of-12 from the field and 3-of-6 from 3-point range. That ties for the most field goals he’s attempted in a game this season, and are the most 3-pointers he’s attempted in a game this year. Wright wound up scoring 17 points – three shy of his season high – and distributing a season-high nine assists. Said Wright: “I’ve been hesitant a little bit this season for whatever reason. But I came into the game knowing I was going to be way more aggressive and take the shots that are there and knock them down with confidence.”
JACKSON IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ACTION: For historical purposes, the Mavs are 6-1 this season when Justin Jackson attempts at least six field goals in the game. Against the Lakers, Jackson was 6-of-10 from the field and 3-of-5 from behind the 3-point line while coming off the bench to produce 15 points. He poured in eight of those points when the Mavs were battling back from a 10-point deficit to get within 62-59 of the Lakers at the half. When the Lakers kept leaving Jackson wide open and not thinking he had the capacity to make that shot, he consistently made them pay. Also, Jackson’s plus/minus of plus-five was better than the numbers put up by LeBron James (-16)), Anthony Davis (-7) and seven other Laker players. In addition, this was the sixth double-digit scoring game of the season for Jackson, who also drilled a key 3-pointer in Friday’s win at Phoenix. The fact that Jackson was such a significant factor while playing just 15 minutes against the Lakers speaks volumes about his ability to make instant contributions off the bench.
POWELL SEIZED THE MOMENT: Dwight Powell was all over the place Sunday while being, well, Dwight Powell. The five-year veteran was scoring, snatching rebounds and diving for loose balls while being a constant thorn in the Lakers’ side. When the dust settled, Powell had played his best game of the season with season highs in points (15), rebounds (nine), defensive rebounds (six), and field goals attempted (11). Powell also made a season-high tying six field goals and was very active on the court. The performance by Powell almost equaled his combined output for the last three games when he totaled 15 points and 12 rebounds in games against the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns. And it was his best game since he contributed 11 points, seven boards, three assists, two blocks and a pair of steals during a 138-122 win at Memphis on Nov. 9.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: Even if the rest of the NBA seems laser-focused on the Lakers, Clippers, Rockets, Bucks, Nuggets and Sixers, the Mavs have remained dialed-in on the task at hand. With the stunning mega-victory over the Lakers, the Mavs have now gone on the road and won at Denver, Houston and the LA Lakers. No other team has that trifecta on their resume. The Lakers entered Sunday’s game with the best record in the NBA and with a 10-game winning streak. Meanwhile, Denver is second in the Western Conference behind the Lakers, and Houston is the No. 5 seed – one spot behind the Mavs. The Mavs also own a road victory against the No. 8-seeded Phoenix Suns. In other words, the Mavs are going into enemy territory and accomplishing what they went there to accomplish. The Mavs are 7-2 on the road this season. By contrast, last season the Mavs didn’t win their seventh road game until Mar. 23 at Golden State – after they had played 37 games away from American Airlines Center.
LUKA’S SHINING SECOND HALF: I’m not sure if Luka Doncic snacked on anything at halftime Sunday, but he sure snacked on the Lakers in the second half. In 17 second-half minutes, Doncic looked every bit the strong MVP candidate that he is. In LeBron James’ own backyard, Doncic mowed down the mighty Lakers for 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals – a full game for most players, but accomplished in only a half against LA. That includes drilling a step-back 3-pointer right in James’ face that gave the Mavs their largest lead of the day at 110-89 with 5:28 remaining in the game. Yes, Doncic’s six-point, 2-of-9 shooting from the field in the first half was nothing to write home about. But give him credit for bouncing back and going 8-of-14 from the field in the second half when he also was 3-of-5 from 3-point range. In essence, Doncic figured out what the Lakers were taking away from him in the first half, then he went out and made the necessary adjustments. Overall, Doncic finished with 27 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists. That came on the heels of Friday’s 120-113 victory at Phoenix when he finished with a career-high tying 42 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists.