Mavs lose (again)

Dallas blows 27-point lead as Lakers win in a thriller

Saint Garcia, Staff Writer

The remainder of the regular season is very critical for the Dallas Mavericks as they seek to make the playoffs while staying above the six seed to avoid the play-in tournament. Despite their efforts, the Mavs lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 111-108 on Feb. 26.

Mavs star Luka Doncic, left, scans the floor while being guarded by Lakers guard Dennis Schroder. (Photo/

One of the biggest takeaways from the trade deadline was that without a doubt the Mavs will not have a problem with scoring. With superstars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving being elite ball handlers and shot creators it is easily said that opportunities will be made for their teammates.

They did not disappoint in the first half as they showed that scoring is at an all-time high with Doncic’s 14 first-quarter points and the rest of the team making 12 3-point shots in just the first half. Major contributors off the bench proved to be power forward Christian Wood, who ended the night with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists and small forward Tim Hardaway Jr. with 17 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and shooting 50% from behind the arc.

The Mavericks just couldn’t stop Los Angeles on the inside as the Lakers made 62 points in the paint, which ultimately helped them ignite the rally that would help them take over the game. In the fourth quarter. The lead changed 14 times before Lakers forward Anthony Davis grabbed an offensive rebound to score the go-ahead dunk that pretty much sealed the game with two minutes left. The pacing and physicality of the Lakers kept them within arm’s reach, even when it felt like the game was over at the end of the first half. With the modern NBA, however, we can truly see that a 20-point lead can be altered quickly and leave the opposing team stunned.

After the game, Dallas head coach Jason Kidd was asked about his mentality and thought process for not calling timeouts as LeBron James and the Lakers were making huge runs in the third quarter and Kidd said, “I’m not the savior here. I’m not playing, I’m watching, just like you guys. As a team, we’ve got to mature… We’ve got to grow up if we want to win a championship. There’s no young team that’s ever won a championship, mentally or physically.”

The Mavs starting lineup was a little older than it has been in the past couple of games with four of the starting five being 30 and older. The exception is 24-year-old Doncic. While Kidd didn’t mention Doncic by name, he implied the team was affected by disagreements with officials. Doncic has done this often in his career but on Feb. 26 it seemed as if his focus and frustration were on the three officials rather than the opposing players on the court as he was seen talking and arguing with the refs rather than getting back on transition defense.

“Can’t get distracted with the whistle, and just keep playing. It just happens that way. We’ve seen a lot of basketball games. When you have big leads, you know which way the whistle is going to go,” Kidd said.

This was the fourth game with Irving on the roster. He finished the game with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists while shooting 20% from the three-point line. Irving admittedly said in the press conference.

“I think we showed some great poise in the third quarter but in that fourth quarter I got to do a better job in just getting us into some initiated offensive sets… I feel like after they were scoring it was a few times I tried to rush the ball up court and answer back with a three.”

There are tremendous upsides to this team, but that comes with an Achilles’ heel of this team as well: defense and size. The Mavs have an incredibly small team compared to the majority of the already-stacked Western Conference with most of their players standing between 6 feet and 6 feet 6 inches. Because of this they are not able to protect the paint and lack the effort in grabbing necessary defensive rebounds.

The probability of getting a center to play valuable minutes in the buyout market was slim to none as the Mavs were forced into looking to sign another wing player who can preferably shoot the 3 and defend the opposing team’s best scorer.

After Terrence Ross signed with the Phoenix Suns, the next-best option to look at was veteran player Justin Holiday. Holiday already provides a better defensive presence and a willingness to do whatever the team needs from him. But the road goes only as far as Doncic and Irving can take this team. It may be a lot to handle but it’s going to have to be that way whenever your sights are on winning a championship this year.