One day after ending all the trade speculation, Pau Gasol and the Lakers trotted onto the court in Dallas Tuesday evening with a chance to pull themselves closer to a possible playoff berth. As been the case more often than not this season, the Lakers failed to close out a game, giving up 50 points in the second half and dropping the game 110-97, falling to seven games under .500. The Lakers were outscored in all four quarters, only put up a minimal fight, and looked defeated late in the fourth with the game yet to be determined.
With injuries stacking up – and the release of Shawne Williams earlier in the day – the once deep Lakers played only eight players on the night, with only four ending in double figures. Jodie Meeks was the high scorer for the Lakers, finishing with 24 points, but shot just 6 of 16 from the field. In fact, only Kendall Marshall and Jordan Hill shot better than 50% on the night from the field, with the Lakers shooting 42% from the field and 35.5% from three.
From the get-go, the Mavericks were the aggressor on the night, pouring in 33 points in the first. The Lakers did hang tough, scoring 31 of their own. The second quarter saw the Mavs pull away even more, this time scoring 27 points, giving them 60 for the half. Factor in the 137 points the Lakers gave up to the Nuggets Sunday night and their lack of attention to defense speaks for itself.
The second half saw the Mavericks shift into cruise control as the Lakers looked defeated and hopeless at times, resulting in their 21st loss of the season and 8th in 9 games. Kendall Marshall continued his impressive play, finishing with 18 points and 6 assists on the night. Gasol added 15 points and 13 boards, while Wesley Johnson added 17 points of his own. However, in a reversal of roles, the starters for the Lakers had 71 of the team’s 97 points on the night. Much can be attributed to injuries depleting the depth of the Lakers, but none of the three bench players reached double figures on the evening.
The Lakers schedule gets no easier as the travel to Houston tomorrow night. Despite winning their earlier this season, the Lakers will look far different and likely be far less competitive. The game will tip-off at 8 PM Eastern, 5 PM Pacific.