Already down Kobe Bryant for the third straight game, the Los Angeles Lakers did not do themselves any favors to start their game against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night.
From the tip, the Lakers went down 10-0 before calling timeout. Shortly thereafter, the game inflated to a 12-point lead for the hometown Mavericks. The visitors gained their bearings shortly thereafter and fought to make the game competitive.
About four minutes into the second quarter, the Lakers leveled the score at 30.
Carlos Boozer and Jeremy Lin were the catalysts for the Lakers. Boozer led his team with 10 points and four rebounds at the midway point in the contest. At that same point, Lin had two assists and five points with no turnovers. The duo of backups helped mask another tough outing from Nick Young.
Young had a nightmare game in Chicago on Christmas Day, when the trigger-happy shooting guard finished with only three points. In Bryant's absence, Young was expected to pick up the slack. Instead, the first half against Dallas featured Young struggling with his shot and only tabbing three points on six attempts.
Despite being down their best player and witnessing their sixth man struggling on the floor, the Lakers entered the intermission down only six points. What made that score line even more difficult to comprehend was that the Lakers had shot a dreary 33 percent from the field compared to 59 percent by the Mavericks.
The third quarter, however, did not offer the Lakers any relief. The Mavericks quickly expanded the lead to 13 points. Again, Boozer led the Lakers' attack. The veteran big man led all scorers with 16 points after three quarters, and the Lakers trailed by 10 at that point.
After starting 1-10 from the field, Young would go on to hit three straight three-pointers. Suddenly, a 12-point game turned into a six point game with 6:51 to play in the contest. New addition via trade, Rajon Rondo, helped Dallas regain control and put the Lakers back down by 11 points only two minutes later.
In the blink of an eye, that 11-point lead would expand to 16 points. In the dying moments, the Lakers cut the deficit to make the finish interesting, but the Lakers never led from the starting tip to the final whistle.
Notes: Rondo led Dallas in scoring, and the former Boston Celtics point guard finished with 21 points, seven assists and and eight rebounds on the night. Boozer finished with a team-high 18 points. Ed Davis pulled down eight offensive rebounds, as the Lakers out-rebounded the Mavericks 62-40. The Lakers shot 36 percent from the field compared to 51 percent for Dallas. The Lakers' defense took a step back as the Mavs outscored the Lakers 56-30 in the painted area.