February 11, 2018, 12:46 am
The Lakers arrived into Dallas red-hot, playing excellent defense, and having won 12-of-16 games. All those streaks came to an end on Saturday as the Lakers left their defense at home, losing to the conference-worst Mavericks 130-123.
Los Angeles welcomed Isaiah Thomas into the fold after acquiring him in a trade deadline deal from the Cavaliers, a deal that sent Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson to Cleveland. Thomas’ presence was certainly felt on the offensive end where he accrued 22 points, six assists, one rebound and one steal. However, he turned the ball over six times and also really hurt the Lakers on the defensive end, where the Mavericks attacked him relentlessly in the pick and roll as well as in the post. The Lakers like to switch everything on defense, that may not be possible when the diminutive Thomas is in the lineup.
As a team, the Lakers played terrible defense for the bulk of the contest, allowing Dallas to score easily all night. Los Angeles struggled in particular to guard the pick and roll, conceding dunks and easy layups all night. Often the Lakers were unsure of their defensive assignments off the pick and roll, resulting in mismatches, open lanes, or wide-open shooters. The Mavericks came into the game as the worst team in the league at scoring points in the paint (38.3 points in the paint per game) — the Lakers’ defense gave up 52 points in the paint. The 130 points were a season-high for Dallas.
The Lakers still had a good chance to win this contest, taking a 115-114 lead in the fourth quarter after a 10-1 run out of a timeout.
Dallas had all five starters in double figures, led by Dirk Nowitzki who tallied 22 points, four rebounds, and two assists on 8-of-11 shooting from the field, 4-of-4 from 3-point range. He was inexcusably left wide-open for a number of jump shots and the defense was so bad that he was even able stroll to the rim for a rare dunk.
The Mavericks bench was the difference in this game as they received key contributions from several players including Dwight Powell (19 points, seven rebounds and two steals on 8-of-12), newly acquired Doug McDermott (8 points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal) and Salah Mejri (four points, three rebounds, one assists and two blocks). Mejri was particularly vital as he made several defensive plays down the stretch, including a block on Brandon Ingram that led to a go-ahead layup for Dallas.
The Lakers appeared to be frustrated by the referees during this game and it seemed to have an effect on their defensive mentality and ability to focus on the game.
Julius Randle continued his history of playing well in his home town, scoring 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. However, he committed five turnovers and fouled out of the game.
Brandon Ingram turned in a strong performance with 22 points, three assists, one rebound and one steal while knocking down 9-of-16 shots and 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Unfortunately, he allowed Dallas rookie Dennis Smith Jr. to blatantly muscle him out of the way on a crucial jump ball, leading to an easy layup. He was also the victim of Mejri’s game-changing block. He scored 10 points in the first quarter alone, but had limited involvement afterward, often deferring to Thomas or other Lakers.
Josh Hart was unable to maintain his string of unbelievable games, possibly due to the arrival of Thomas, who earned a lot of his playing time and offensive touches. Hart finished with nine points, two rebounds and one assist in only 29 minutes.
Kyle Kuzma seems to have regained his confidence, posting 12 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and two steals. He was coming off two consecutive 16-point games after averaging only seven points in his previous five contests.
The Lakers will try to take advantage of their three days off to get in a few practices, work on their team defense and chemistry.
Rookie point guard Lonzo Ball missed his 13th consecutive game while recovering from an MCL sprain. Although he has ramped up activities of late, he is not expected to return until after the All-Star break.
Key Stats and Observations
- The Mavericks’ bench outscored the Lakers’ bench 50-36.
- Los Angeles came into the game with a large rebounding advantage over Dallas for the season. However, they were outrebounded 40-37 on a night where there weren’t many rebounding opportunities due to a dearth of effective defense for both teams.
- The Lakers allowed the Mavericks to shoot 53.9 percent from the field, 44.4 percent from 3-point range and collect 32 assists. Los Angeles enjoyed an excellent shooting night as well, hitting 54.8 percent from the field, 47.1 percent from 3-point range and distributing 29 assists.
- Los Angeles had taken better care of the ball recently but failed to do so tonight, turning the ball over 17 times, leading to 29 points for Dallas. Conversely, the Mavericks only turned the ball over 11 times leading to only 15 points for the Lakers.
- The Lakers’ free throw woes returned as they converted only 15-of-22 (68.2 percent) including four in a row with the game still in question. Dallas was able to knock down 22-of-27 free throws (81.5 percent).
The Lakers will return home to take advantage of three days off before heading to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans on Wednesday.
New Orleans is without All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins who injured his Achilles and will miss the rest of the year. In his stead, the team is led by their other star big man Anthony Davis, who is fresh off a 44-point, 17-rebound, six-steal and three-block performance.
Los Angeles is suddenly on the verge of being playoff relevant, should that be the case, the Pelicans would be one of the teams they would need to overtake in order to sneak into the playoff picture.
May 27, 2020, 9:06 pmAndre IguodalaSF, Miami Heat
Andre Iguodala returned to South Florida after living in California since the NBA season was suspended.
Iguodala returning to the market where his team is could mean that he believes team workouts will begin soon. However, there is no official timetable on when team workouts will begin and Jimmy Butler has yet to return to Miami.
Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter
May 27, 2020, 7:52 pmZach LaVineSG, Chicago Bulls
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Bulls were cleared by the Governor of Illinois and are in talks with city officials to open practice facilities on Friday for voluntary workouts that would follow the NBA guidelines.
The NBA's guidelines currently state that a maximum of four players are allowed in the facility at any given time and there can only be one player per hoop. The Bulls are currently eight games behind the Orlando Magic for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls may not play again this season given how far behind they are in the standings and the recent reports of proposals to not continue the regular season.
Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter
May 27, 2020, 7:08 pmLuka DoncicPG-SF, Dallas Mavericks
Marc Stein of the New York Times has reported that the Mavs plan to open their practice facility on Thursday.
This news would make the Mavs the 23rd team to have their facilities open for "voluntary and socially distanced player workouts". Continue to monitor the wire as we should learn more about the potential of the league resuming in early June.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
May 26, 2020, 10:07 pmKawhi LeonardSF, Los Angeles Clippers
On Tuesday afternoon, AmicoHoops reported (via Twitter) that an unidentified NBA GM told them the league has seriously discussed resuming the current NBA season on Wednesday, July 22.
Nothing has been officially announced, by any means, and this is the first we've heard of specific target date(s) from anyone. It's looking like the continuation of the season will occur in Orlando at Walt Disney World at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, which has accommodations for at least some of what the NBA has planned for a resuming activity. As we have relayed numerous times recently, the next week or two seem to be a likely window for some decisions from Adam Silver and Co. at the NBA league office to start to come down. Stay tuned, hoops fans.
Source: AmicoHoops on Twitter
May 26, 2020, 8:47 pmDamian LillardPG, Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard announced on Tuesday evening that, in the event of a continuation of the NBA season, he would not be participating if the Blazers are scheduled to play 'meaningless games' with no shot at making the playoffs.
"If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating," Lillard told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday morning. It's hard to blame him, as it is quite easy to see the potential situation from his point of view. There have been countless scenarios tossed around by the league office during the pandemic period, but nothing is set in stone so far. Lillard, for his part, is only interested in returning to action if there exists a legitimate shot for his Blazers to reach the NBA Finals. Fair enough.
Source: Yahoo! Sports
May 26, 2020, 8:34 pmJoel EmbiidC, Philadelphia Sixers
The Sixers, who have their practice facility located in nearby Camden, NJ, will allow voluntary player workouts at the facility beginning on Wednesday, raising the number of NBA teams who have been able to do so to 22.
The Celtics, Knicks, Bulls, Pistons, Wizards, Mavericks, Spurs and Warriors are the final teams remaining who are unable to return to their practice facilities. The NBA seems to be inching ever so close to, at the very least, announcing a plan for a continuation of the current season. This next week or two should be very eventful on that front.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
May 26, 2020, 8:26 pmClint CapelaC, Atlanta Hawks
Hawks GM Travis Schlenk indicated on Tuesday that Clint Capela (right heel, plantar fasciitis) could very well play in the event of an NBA restart.
"Clint [Capela] says he's feeling better, and there's a possibility that we can get him back on the court," Schlenk said in a phone interview with ESPN. "Practicing and playing five games would be valuable to us." Capela has yet to see the floor for the Hawks since he was acquired at the deadline from the Rockets, and one would have to surmise that he would be under a heavy minutes restriction if the league resumes and if the Hawks deem him healthy enough to give it a go. Still two big "ifs," but this is obviously positive news for the Hawks and potentially for fantasy owners who have managed to stash Capela in an injury slot this long.
May 26, 2020, 8:17 pmMohamed BambaC, Orlando Magic
Magic center Mo Bamba said on Tuesday that he's spent the quarantine period bulking up, self-proclaiming that he's put on close to 30 pounds of muscle.
Bamba said of his time off, ""I’ve worked my tail off during this quarantine. This is going to sound weird, but I put on probably about 28 pounds since quarantine (started)." He laughed and added that only about 2.5 percent of the weight he's put on is body fat. Bamba, along with many other NBA players, "can’t wait to get back out there and work" which is a great sign for the Magic and their fans. Jonathan Isaac is becoming more and more of a potential option for the team when/if the season is resumed as the days pass, so his presence would limit Bamba's chances on the offensive end of the floor. The team has yet to decide whether or not they want to play Isaac at all the rest of the season, regardless of the rumblings about a restart from the league office. However, this bulk-up on Bamba's part is nonetheless pretty impressive and is certainly noteworthy.
May 25, 2020, 3:16 pmTerry RozierPG, Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets are the latest team to re-open their facilities, with the Novant Health Training Center set to open up on Tuesday.
With this, there are only eight teams left to open their practice courts back up, though nobody has been able to engage in any sort of team work yet. Individual workouts are better than no workouts, however, and the league appears to be getting its ducks in a row in terms of returning to play. There's still no firm timelines but things do appear to be heading in the right direction.
Source: Charlotte Hornets
May 25, 2020, 3:13 pmJon LeuerPF, Milwaukee Bucks
Jon Leuer has announced his retirement from basketball.
Injuries completely destroyed Leuer's career, as he played in a combined 49 games over the previous two seasons with zero appearances in the 2019-20 campaign. Leuer's high point came with the Suns, where he averaged 8.5 points to go with 5.6 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks and a 38.2 mark from deep. His eight-year career comes to an end, with Leuer saying that his body simply won't let him play at a high level anymore.
Source: Jon Leuer on Instagram