Lakers vs. Mavericks score, takeaways: Luka Doncic's near triple-double leads Dallas to comeback win over L.A. (2024)

Luka Doncic stuffed the stat sheet for the Mavericks, who score 51 points in the third quarter

By Jasmyn Wimbish

1 min read

The stars were out in full force in Game 2 of the NBA's Christmas Day slate as LeBron James and Luka Doncic put on a show in the Dallas Mavericks' 124-115 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite his best efforts, James could not help the visiting Lakers hold onto their early lead, as the Mavericks blitzed them offensively during the third quarter. Dallas put up a historic 51 points, a Christmas Day record, which proved to be too much for Los Angeles to overcome.

While Doncic will receive the bulk of the headlines following his near triple-double performance of 32 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, the Mavericks All-Star had plenty of help on the offensive end as Christian Wood and Tim Hardaway Jr. combined for 56 points in the win. On the other end of the spectrum, LeBron put up the type of superstar numbers we've grown accustomed to seeing over the years finishing with 38 points, six rebounds and five assists but the rest of the Lakers' roster did not offer him enough support to get the job done on the road.

With the win, Dallas improves to 18-16 on the season while Los Angeles falls to 13-20.

1. Mavericks explode in the third quarter to blow this game open

Things couldn't get worse than what the Mavericks did in the first half against the Lakers. They shot 39.5 percent from the field and 22.7 percent from 3-point range, and fell behind by 11 points to a Lakers team that was without Anthony Davis. Based on how poorly things went in the first two quarters, Dallas was bound to turn things around, but no one could've predicted the 51-point outburst the Mavericks laid on the Lakers, using a 20-5 run to go up 82-65 with two minutes left in the third quarter.

By the end of the third frame, Dallas was up to a 94-75 lead, and the 51 points they totaled was not only a Christmas Day record, and tied a Mavericks record for most points in a single quarter, but it was also the highest point total in a single quarter this season. It all happened thanks to nine 3s, four of which came from Tim Hardaway Jr. who scored 16 of his 26 points in the third quarter. Doncic also joined in on the third-quarter fun, scoring 13 of his 32 points during those 12 minutes, and dishing out six assists in the process.

It wasn't as if the Mavericks were doing anything dramatically different stylistically in the third quarter, it was just as simple as guys knocking down shots. That's been the story for Dallas all season long. When this team gets cooking from 3-point territory, they're difficult to beat. The Mavericks generate the second-most wide-open 3s this season, but in terms of making them, they're in the middle of the pack at 38.1 percent, which ranks 15th in the league. The first half was the version of the Mavericks that don't hit their wide-open looks, while the third quarter was a drastic swing in the other direction with nearly every shot going in. It's not sustainable going forward, but it's a positive sign that Dallas can and turn things around in the middle of a game and see players like Reggie Bullock, who have struggled heavily, get out of a slump.

2. LeBron James vs. everyone

We already knew James was going to have to do it all for the Lakers to have a chance in this game, because without Davis on the floor there isn't much depth behind their two stars. But still, LeBron outscored the four other Lakers starters who combined for just 32 points. Russell Westbrook tried his best to offer some help off the bench, going for 17 points, five rebounds and four assists, and Austin Reaves had a quiet 16 points, but when you have no other starters score in double figures you're not going to win many games. Especially when the team shoots 32.1 percent from 3-point range, a long standing issue for the Lakers this season. L.A. ranks 26th in the league in 3-point percentage, and they shot just a hair below their season average, proving that once again this team desperately needs shooters to compete in the West. Even LeBron went 0 of 4 from deep, but when he's doing everything else on offense, that's just a small blip on the radar.

There was some hope in the first half, when the Lakers were shooting 53.5 percent from the field and sending double teams to Doncic every trip down the floor, which forced every other Mavericks player to put up points, which they struggled to do. The Lakers worked up a 14-point lead on two separate occasions in the first half, but once Dallas started catching fire from deep out of halftime, L.A. just didn't have the weapons to keep pace.

It's the latest example for Lakers fans to use to show GM Rob Pelinka that this team needs to make one -- or several moves -- if they want any chance to make the playoffs, or even the play-in tournament.

3. Christian Wood showing why he should remain in the starting lineup

For the sixth-straight game, Wood was in the starting lineup for the Mavericks, and it was perhaps his best game in a Mavericks uniform. He finished with 30 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, four steals and two blocks. It was a complete performance on offense, and he even had several key defensive possessions, showing that he's more than willing to put in the effort on that end of the floor. Wood had 15 points at halftime, which was a prime reason the Lakers lead wasn't bigger than it already was, and he continued his strong play out of the break as well.

It was the perfect timing for Wood to have such a dazzling performance, given he's now eligible for a four-year, $77 million contract extension. Wood's in the final year of his contract, and is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but if the Mavericks want to keep the big man past this season, signing him to a contract now may be the better option, because if he continues to improve the price will only climb. And given how things went with Jalen Brunson, where Dallas could've offered him a contract extension midseason but passed on the opportunity, only to lose him to the Knicks as an unrestricted free agent last summer, they may not want that to happen again if their plan is to keep Wood past this season.

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LeBron not getting any help from teammates

James has 36 points on 13 of 21 from the field, and as impressive as that is, it's all been necessary as he's getting no help from anyone outside of Westbrook who has 17 points off the bench for the Lakers. The four other starting Lakers have 32 points combined, while three of Dallas starters have 25+ points. This was to be expected given L.A. is without Anthony Davis, and it's going to continue as Davis is expected to miss a month, but if the Lakers want to stay afloat, they're going to need someone other than James to step up on offense.

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Mavericks tie franchise record for highest scoring quarter

Dallas really turned the tables on the Lakers out of halftime, putting up 51 points (!!!) to climb back from a 11-point deficit and jump out to a 94-75 lead by the time the buzzer sounded. They did it with nine 3s, breaking out of a shooting slump from the first half that saw them shoot 22.7% from downtown through the first two quarters.

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Luka with a pretty no-look dime

Here's the shot that gave Dallas its first lead of the afternoon. This is typical stuff for Doncic, but it's still impressive that he can pull off these passes in traffic.

The Mavericks have flipped the script in 3Q

After shooting abysmally in the first half, Dallas is now shooting 46 percent from the field. Luka is flirting with a triple-double, and his teammates are starting to knock down the open looks he's generating. But LeBron is still unstoppable on the other end, and Dallas will need to turn up the intensity on that end of the floor to maintain this small five-point lead.

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Mavericks starting to heat up in the third quarter

After a first half that the Mavericks will soon want to forget, they're starting to knock down their shots out in the third quarter and have closed the lead to 58-55. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Spencer Dinwiddie are making their 3s, and Dallas has tightened up things on defense, and now it feels like we have a game.

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Halftime in Dallas, and it's been all Lakers so far

LeBron has 18 points, while Westbrook has tacked on 12 points off the bench. L.A. is shooting 53.3% from the field, and it's come pretty easily, primarily because James has been doing a lot of the heavy lifting. The offense sputtered at the end of the second quarter, but the Lakers still hold a 54-43 lead.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks have struggled to get anything going offensively, and haven't found an answer for James. Doncic has 10 points, while Christian Wood leads Dallas with 15 points. The Mavs are shooting jus 39.5% from the field and an even worse 22.7% from downtown.

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Westbrook heating up off the bench

In the second quarter Westbrook has seven points and 12 in total in the game. He's thrived in his role coming off the bench, and has helped the Lakers push this lead back up to 14 points. The Lakers will need that scoring so it's not all LeBron all the time.

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The Mavericks taking the "live by the 3, die by the 3" too literally

With just 5 minutes to go until halftime the Mavericks have taken 21 3-pointers and just 11 shots inside the arc. They are also shooting a lowly 23.8% from downtown, showing that they're certainly dying by the 3-pointer in the first half so far. It's an issue that has plagued Dallas all season so far, as guys like Tim Hardaway Jr., Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith have struggled heavily to get going from deep. As a result the Mavericks have hovered around .500-level basketball, and that's playing out this afternoon against the Lakers. There's still plenty of time for things to turnaround, but Dallas has to hope that change comes soon.

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LeBron cannot be stopped

I've already noted this before, and I'm likely going to again, but LeBron is just scoring with ease every trip down the floor. He's already up to 16 points after dropping 10 points in the first quarter, and it's very realistic that he's drops 40 this afternoon. The Mavericks just don't have an answer for him defensively, especially with guys like Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber out injured. It's going to be the LeBron show from here on out, and the Lakers will need him to keep it up as it gets later in this game.

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Mavs close the gap to finish the first quarter

After working up a 14-point lead, the Mavericks decided to join the game and closed the gap to just a seven-point lead for the Lakers at 28-21. Still, LeBron had 10 points in the first quarter, and looked virtually unstoppable with the likes of Tim Hardaway Jr., and Reggie Bullock trying to check him. Doncic got going, which was the major factor in Dallas turning things around, but they still have some work to do in order to take the lead against a Lakers squad that is playing tough defense.

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Luka hasn't attempted a shot in the first quarter

The Lakers are sending a double team every time Doncic touches the ball, and so far it's yielded great results. The All-Star guard hasn't even attempted a shot with just under 4 minutes left in the first quarter. As a result, the Mavericks have put up just 11 points and are shooting the ball abysmally.

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Sluggish start for the Mavericks

Well this certainly isn't the way you want to start any game, especially a Christmas Day game on your home floor. Give the Lakers credit, they're doubling Luka Doncic when he has the ball, and forcing everyone else on the floor to beat them. So far it has worked out, and Dallas is ice cold from the floor to start, just 33% from the field and 25% from 3-point range. Dallas better hopes it can heat up soon, otherwise it's going to be a lousy Christmas afternoon for the Mavericks.

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All LeBron so far

With Anthony Davis out, this was to be expected. James already has eight of the Lakers 17 points, and Dallas has no answer whatsoever for the four-time champion. LeBron's certainly capable of going for 50 today with ease given how pedestrian the Mavericks defense has been all season long.

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Christian Wood getting sixth start of season for Mavs

Due to several key players injured for the Mavericks right now, Wood is starting in just his sixth game this season for Dallas. He's among the top bench scorers in the league so far, but his offense has never been the reason he's not in the starting lineup. Wood's somewhat of a liability on defense, and if he wants to remain a starter once Dallas gets healthy, he'll need to show better effort on that end of the floor.

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Mavericks looking for first Christmas Day win since 2008

Not only is Dallas hosting a Christmas Day game, which a rarity in itself, especially against the Lakers, but when the Mavs suit up against L.A. they'll be looking for their first Christmas Day win since 2008. Dallas has lost each of its last three Christmas Day games, one of which was against the Lakers. The Mavericks last won against the Portland Trail Blazers back in 2008, and are hoping they can conjure up some of that magic again on their home floor.

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LeBron vs. Luka

Over the course of his career, LeBron James owns a record of 6-2 against Luka Doncic. However, Doncic won the last meeting on March 1, 2022. The two have met once before on Christmas Day in 2020 with the Lakers coming out on top by the score of 138-115.

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Rare Christmas Day home game in Dallas

The Mavericks will play a home game on Christmas Day for the first time since 2011 and the second time overall. However, we can probably expect this to change in the coming years as Luka Doncic becomes one of the primary faces of the NBA.

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LeBron to distance himself from the pack

Entering Sunday's slate, James had played in 16 Christmas Day games and, as you can see, LeBron has scored more points than anyone else on the holiday. James is sitting pretty with Kevin Durant as the next closest competitor in the race for the Christmas Day scoring title.

Most Career Points on Christmas
LeBron James 422
Kobe Bryant 395
Oscar Robertson 377
Dwyane Wade 314
Kevin Durant 299

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LeBron and the Lakers will make history on Christmas Day

The Lakers have the most wins on Christmas Day in NBA history with 24 and, in fitting fashion, will be playing on the holiday for the 24th straight season this year. Much like his team, LeBron James will add to his legacy as well as he currently is the NBA's career leading scorer on Christmas Day with 422 points.

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Lakers vs. Mavericks score, takeaways: Luka Doncic's near triple-double leads Dallas to comeback win over L.A. (2)

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Lakers vs. Mavericks score, takeaways: Luka Doncic's near triple-double leads Dallas to comeback win over L.A. (2024)
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