Los Angeles Lakers exorcise ghosts of Christmas past, shocking Mavericks

Feb 26, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) looks to drive as Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Green (8) defends during the first quarter at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) looks to drive as Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Green (8) defends during the first quarter at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

The Los Angeles Lakers continued their long climb up the Western Conference standings on Sunday afternoon against the Dallas Mavericks, one of the teams ahead of them in the sixth seed. Sure the title of this article would be considered strange bringing up Christmas at the end of February, but when the Lakers were included in the big Christmas Day lineup, the embarrassing performance was the talk of the day.

Up until about the four-minute mark of the second quarter, it was a continuance of the embarrassing performance on Christmas Day. The Mavs were on fire from the 3-point line and if you need a visual of how bad things were going, well, film don’t lie…

The Dallas Mavericks were all over this team to start but history shows that the Lakers are known to pull massive comebacks against this team. Remember when Kobe Bryant led a ridiculous comeback against the Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash-led Mavs in the early 2000s after being down 27 to start the fourth quarter?

(Start at 18 seconds, if it doesn’t give you chills, you’re dead!)

The Lakers were down 27 points in the second quarter, so they had plenty of time right?

The Los Angeles Lakers absolutely put the Dallas Mavericks franchise back into shock with an impressive 111-108 come-from-behind win in front of a national television audience. As bad as they were talked about on Christmas Day, this is how far this franchise has turned things around.

The Lakers have now won three straight and a couple of wins later on in the week will allow us all to discuss Darvin Ham’s goal of making the postseason without rolling our collective eyes.

The good of the Los Angeles Lakers win (Give the staff a second to figure out how all of this happened!):

This team didn’t quit after falling down 27 points in the first half!

The Lakers couldn’t shoot the ball outside the paint. They missed their first 18 shots that had wood paneling on their side of the court. But there’s one thing that Darvin Ham will not allow is this team to let go of the rope. They used their tried and true tactic of forcing the Mavericks into fouls and getting to the free-throw line while turning seemingly every Dallas turnover into points.

The halftime score ended up being 61-47 but a 20-8 run to finish the second quarter kept this post-game report from being a comedy act routine surrounding the brick masonry master class that the Los Angeles Lakers were teaching that would put the Tuskegee Institute to shame.

Anthony Davis is now officially back from the All-Star break! 

AD gave a reminder to the basketball world as to how dominant he can be when he is angry. The dude was ornery in this one! He dominated on both ends of the floor to the tune of 30 points (12-20 shooting!), 15 boards, 4 assists and 3 blocks. The Mavericks’ frontline had no clue on how they would stop him and AD really put a whipping on them.

Can the Lakers fans get an order of games like this for say…21 more games?

The Los Angeles Lakers can beat this team in a seven-game series!

Yes, it is irritating to hear… “No one wants to meet the Lakers in a seven-game series!”. But the Mavericks showed why. The Lakers can maul perimeter-based teams and bully them inside and increase the pace. When Dallas was knocking down shots, everything was fine. When the second half started, the Mavs started shooting like the Lakers did in the first half from beyond the arc and they stalled big time.

The free-throw line…

Remember how the Lakers stole that game from Portland when they were down 25 points about a month ago? Same thing here. When teams outscore opponents 21-10 from the charity stripe, it means two things.

  1. One, they are more aggressive, attacking the hoop collecting paint points and fouls
  2. Two, they are playing great defense without fouling.

The Lakers are literally hustling NBA teams with this concept.

The bad of the Los Angeles Lakers win:

The first-quarter offense!

Lord have mercy it was bad. The Los Angeles Lakers couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean 10 feet deep standing next to coral reefs. They shot 24% from the field overall and donated bricks to the Dallas community from the 3-point line. It was awful.

Luka Doncic almost matched the entire Lakers team in scoring.

  • Los Angeles Lakers: 16 points.
  • Luka Doncic: 14 points.  

This is not the greatest way to start a basketball game with playoff implications. To the snide Lakers fans that are sensitive, the Lake Show came into this game in 13th place, ALL of the games have playoff implications.

Rui Hachimura:

Outside of a dunk in this game, Rui contributed…well let’s put it this way. Close your eyes. What do you see? Nothing? That closes the analysis of Rui Hachimura.

The story of the Los Angeles Lakers win:

The Los Angeles Lakers FINALLY have a shutdown defender!

No, it is not Anthony Davis. It is Jarred Vanderbilt. He is now becoming the most important player picked up at the trade deadline. Just watch the activity of this dude in this highlight!

This was a team effort to get this comeback, but teams need that player willing to do the dirty work on the perimeter. Lakers fans, Vanderbilt is that guy. He needs to be in the starting lineup the rest of the way and if Darvin Ham doesn’t do so, he deserves every bit of criticism fans and media give him.

He threw Luka Doncic in a broom closet in the final eight minutes. Vanderbilt is the real deal! This is after he hurt himself going for a rebound.

This is probably the best wing defender the Los Angeles Lakers have had in recent memory.

LeBron’s right foot!

Dude showed heart finishing with 26 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists, but it is all about his foot that LeBron James injured in the second half. He was caught on camera saying that he heard a pop. The next 48 hours will be interesting as the reports fly around the place.

Next. 50 greatest Lakers of all-time. dark