DALLAS—The Los Angeles Lakers are playing their best basketball of the season extending their winning streak to three with a thrilling comeback victory against the Dallas Mavericks, 111-108 on Sunday, February 26.
Early on, it was all Mavs with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving building a 27-point lead in the first half. Los Angeles, with help from some of the new Lakers began chipping away at the deficit.
Teams were previously 0-138 this season when trailing by 27+ points heading into the game.
The fourth win in five games for LA came after trailing in the middle of the second quarter — the same deficit the Lakers faced at the start of the fourth at home against Dallas on December 6, 2002, before finishing a 30-point rally in a 105-103 victory.
Anthony Davis had 30 points and 15 rebounds, LeBron James scored 26 and the Lakers completed their biggest rally in 21 years.
There were 13 fourth-quarter lead changes. Davis grabbed a rebound and dunked the ball with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, and the Purple and Gold never looked back.
Watching Davis will the Lakers to a crucial victory was a wonderful sign for both Laker fans and Davis as well. The Lakers big man faced criticism over the years due to his frequent injuries, he silenced the critics with his brilliant performance for at least one day.
“The guys never got discouraged,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “They had that look of frustration, but it wasn’t a look of defeated-ness on their faces. Everybody just wanted to stay encouraged.”
Doncic scored 26 points for the Mavs, but the youngest of the four superstars was limited and frustrated, largely by the defense of Jarred Vanderbilt, after a 14-point first quarter that sent Dallas on its way to the huge lead.
James sprained his ankle in the third quarter, but refused to leave the game. The recent NBA All-Time scorer relied on his size and excellent footwork to score key buckets down the stretch.
In the second half, the Lakers outscored the Mavs 64 to 47. After missing their first 18 three points attempts, the Lakers began dominating the paint and playing stellar defense to mount the thrilling game.
The X factor was Jarred Vanderbilt. His tenacious defense was the key. Stealing balls and finishing with dunks in transition, he was the lighting rod that energized the Lakers’ return. He ended the night with 15 points, 17 rebounds and 4 steals.
Los Angeles has a record of 29-32, currently 12th in the Western Conference standings. Tomorrow night will be another marquee matchup as they visit the surging Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies are the No. 2 seed in the West. James has been ruled out with a rolled right ankle.
Tipoff is 6:30 p.m. and will air on TNT.