LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers suffered their 21st home loss of the season falling 100-93 to the Dallas Mavericks, who snapped their two-game skid.
Following a competitive first half that had the teams tied at 44 at the half, Los Angeles grabbed the lead in the third quarter by shooting a robust 71 percent from the field. Rookie Jordan Clarkson lead way for the Lakers with a quarter-best 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Meanwhile, Monta Ellis kept the Mavericks in the game with 18 of his 31 points of the game on 7-of-11 shooting, including going 4-of-5 from 3-point range.
Los Angeles maintained their lead through the midway point of the fourth quarter holding a 90-84 advantage with 6:35 left. However, they fell in another late fourth-quarter collapse as they were outscored 16-3 by the Mavericks for the remainder of the game. Ellis sealed the deal with a 3-pointer followed by a jumper to put his team up 100-91 with 1:08 remaining.
For head coach Byron Scott, it was an all-too-familiar forth quarter letdown that more than anything outlined the team’s lack of go-to players late in games.
“Same old story. They turned it up a notch. On the offensive end we turned the ball over a bunch of times,” Scott said, “Every shot that we had was under distress. We didn’t move the ball as well as we did earlier in the game. It’s the same old story.”
Carlos Boozer led the Lakers in scoring with a team-best 17 points to go along with eight rebounds. Clarkson and Wesley Johnson each chipped in with 15 points a piece. Ed Davis had a near double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds, and Wayne Ellington scored 13 points with five rebounds.
The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair with the lead changing hands seven times. Jordan Hill led the Lakers in scoring with six points, which came all came in the team’s first 10 points of the game.
Clarkson had an all-around opening quarter with four points, three assists, and four rebounds. Despite that, Mavericks held a 25-24 advantage on 52 percent shooting heading to the second quarter.
Los Angeles battled back in the second to grab the lead that they extend to five points at 34-29. However, Dallas answered to recapture the lead with a 8-0 run. The teams finished the first half tied at 44. Davis and Johnson scored a team-high eight points at halftime.
Here are five things learned from Sunday’s loss:
Jordan Clarkson’s continuing development
After coming off a career-best 25 points scored last game, Clarkson had yet another productive night with 15 points, six rebounds, and five rebounds in 35 minutes played.
In the first quarter he had four points, three assists, and four rebounds. In the quarter he had a nice drive to the basket that he nearly lost possession of the ball, and regained in time for an up-and-under move layup past Tyson Chandler. Clarkson also had an assist on a drive to the basket that he found Tarik Black for the easy dunk opportunity.
He did have two bad defensive sequence in the quarter with two consecutive layups given up to J.J. Barea in the fast break. After a quite second quarter, Clarkson picked it up offensive in the third quarter with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
This included a floater in the lane and soared past Ellis for the dunk off the Mavericks’ turnover. He also grabbed a rebound in the paint, and followed it up with a putback layup. In the fourth quarter he was non-factor offensive with just one point on 0-of-2 shooting, and gave up two key jumpers late to Rajon Rondo, who had eight points and nine assists, that helped seal the loss.
Overall it was performance that showed that Clarkson still has plenty of growth in his game especially on defense. For Scott, he will continue to bring along the 22-year-old in his current starting role for the remainder of the season.
“He will keep learning. Jordan’s not the the problem. Jordan’s one of our bright spots,” Scott said. “We will keep putting him in situations like this and he will continue to get better.”
Clarkson’s progress as a point guard has also been gaining notice from other teams across the league. Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle stated the rookie is playing in more like a point guard as the season has moved along, which he accredited much of the credit to Scott’s coaching.
“One of the remarkable things with Clarkson’s progression is that he appeared to be more of a two guard than a point guard,” Carlisle said prior to Sunday’s game.”Now that he is really getting more of a feel for the point, and that’s great coaching.”
With 20 games left in the season, it will be a chance for Clarkson to continue grow as a player with the added experience and allow him to adapt to the point guard playing style.
Tarik Black returns to lineup
After being a healthy scratch for five out of the last six games, Black was productive as he had six points with five rebounds, and a career-high three assists in 26 minutes played.
Almost all of his work came in the first half with six points and four rebounds. Most of Black’s activity occurred in the second quarter with four points and two rebounds. He had a couple of impressive plays in the quarter with an off-the-dribble drive to the basket for the layup past Chandler, and was also the recipient of an alley-oop pass from Clarkson.
It has been a difficult last couple of weeks for the 22-year-old in regards to playing time, but he has continued to remain positive and prepared to play when his number is called.
“You got to always be prepared, so when your name is called you just go out there and play hard,” Black told Sports Out West. “A lot of things are out of your hands as well. You just got to give it your all and play ball and see what happens.”
With Scott committing to the lineup for the foreseeable future, Black will have the opportunity to show that he can be a productive player and that he can be a part of the team’s future moving forward past this season.
If there was anything positive to take away from the game, it was the Lakers’ effort in rebounding (47-33 advantage) and scoring in the paint (46-30 advantage), which they had the upper hand through the game against the Mavericks on Sunday night.
Los Angeles crashed the boards in the first half with a 28-19 advantage. This included a 9-2 edge in offensive rebounds, with the Mavericks grabbing just one in each of the first two quarters. Los Angeles hauled at least four offensive rebounds in each quarter in the first half.
In the second half, this trend continued with the Lakers seemingly out hustling the Mavericks on the boards. This often led to easy points in the paint with many opportunities for second chance points off missed shots.
“We just played hard and attacked the rim,” Black told Sports Out West. “On the offensive end and defensive end Ed (Davis) always sticks his nose in there and gets a lot of offensive rebounds. That helps boost our offensive rebound. That’s what it is. We just played hard and attacked the rim.”
It just was a balanced effort on the glass for the Lakers with each starter grabbing at last four rebounds, six players had at least five rebounds, and three players had recorded at least three offensive rebounds.
If the Lakers hope to stay competitive down the stretch of the season they will need to remain active on the boards as it will go a long ways into helping them stay in games.
Strong third quarter
The Lakers have had more than their fair share of problems in the third quarter this season, and this has been quite evident as of late. However, this was not the case on Sunday night as they outscored the Mavericks 33-31 in the period on an impressive 71 percent shooting.
Entering the game, Los Angeles had ranked last in the league with 27.6 opponents points allowed in the third quarter. Although that trend did continue with the Mavericks scoring over the average, the Lakers were able to knock down shots from all over the floor with most of their damage done at the free throw line (7-of-9) and in the paint (12 points).
Clarkson led the charge in the quarter with a team-best 10 points, and Los Angeles also had seven assists on the 12 made field goals. It was the type of third quarter that the Lakers needed especially with the game being tied coming out of the half.
It has happened too often this season where games are lost in the third quarter for the Lakers because of the team comes out flat offensively. It would be quite far fetched to hope for this type of offensive production in terms of shooting percentage, but it definitely a step in the right direction.
This could be the confidence booster that the Lakers need to help them get over their third quarter woes. That said, it will all be answered in due time.
Kobe on the bench
There was a familiar face on the bench for the first time in the last couple of weeks in Kobe Bryant, who is still recovering from right rotator cuff surgery that he underwent in late January.
Bryant presence on the bench had been requested by Scott, who thought having him on the bench would help his teammates see him encouraging them and providing them with knowledge that could help them out during the game.
“It’s just good to see him out here and good to see him with his teammates,” Scott said. “I’m sure it’s good for the fans to see him as well. He still wants to help encourage these guys as much as possible. He’s in their ear during timeouts and things like that so I think that’s valuable.”
Scott also added that Bryant will be on the bench for the remaining home games of the season, and will stay home to rehab when the team is on the road.
As for his teammates, they appreciated the 17-time All-Star being their physically to support and provide any help he can for them to win the game.
“It feels good to have our mentor and our leader there watching us and talking to us to let us know what we can do to help this team get a win,” Hill said.
Clarkson also echoed the same sentiment about Bryant being on the bench during the game.
“It was cool seeing him out there supporting us. He was talking to us a little bit,” Clarkson said. “He was encouraging us.”
It is certainly a positive sign to see Bryant willing to be sit on the bench, and be there to support his teammates through this difficult season. Although he may not be able to help on the court, his off-the-court words of encourage and guidance could be extremely beneficial to the younger players such as Clarkson, who is learning the ins and outs of the NBA.
All in all, the addition of Bryant on the bench during games can only help the team.
Photo Credit: Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images
Bob Garcia IV
Latest posts by Bob Garcia IV (see all)
- LeBron James making an early case for MVP - December 5, 2018
- Kobe Bryant believes that Lakers will win an NBA title ‘before you know it’ - December 4, 2018
- Lakers continue to grow behind LeBron James’ play - December 2, 2018