The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Dallas Mavericks 103-93 on Sunday night after a horrendous start and a horrific shooting night.
Dallas scored the first 15 points of the night, as the Lakers turned the ball over repeatedly to dig a massive hole that the home team failed to ever find a way out of. In the first quarter, the Lakers turned the ball over seven times, and the Mavs punished the Lakers for 15 points off those errors. Add in that no starter other than Julius Randle scored a field goal in the opening 12 minutes, and the Lakers could be considered lucky to only trail by 11 points at the end of the period.
The only bright spot in the opening quarter turned out to be Randle. The 20-year-old scored eight points and pulled down eight rebounds in only nine minutes of first quarter play. He would have a double-double by halftime, as the Lakers managed to cut the lead down to single digits at the intermission.
"(Randle)'s going to be tough in this league," Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki said after the game. "He puts the ball on the floor like no power forward in this league. He's strong, he's athletic, he can finish."
The Lakers managed to claw back into contest by playing 12 minutes of the second quarter without committing a single turnover. Also, the Lakers got to the foul line regularly, outscoring Dallas 15-3 from the charity stripe in the first half.
Even with LA playing improving in the second quarter and Roy Hibbert getting a layup at the buzzer, Dallas still led by nine points entering the locker room.
In the third quarter, the training wheels fell off the bicycle, and the Lakers proceeded to fall flat on their faces. Poor shooting caught up to the Lakers, as the home team fell behind by 17 points to end three quarters. The crowd at Staples Center began to grow restless and proceeded to jeer in disapproval.
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The fourth quarter featured chants of "We want Randle" for the first time ever at Staples Center, and Lakers coach Byron Scott obliged by putting the promising power forward back in the game. The Lakers would go on to make a couple runs and climb to within seven points with 3:13 to play after Randle hit two crucial free throws.
Scott turned to a finishing unit of D'Angelo Russell, Lou Williams, Roy Hibbert, and Randle to finish the game. Willaims would cut the deficit to six points with 2:27 to play. However, the Lakers failed to hit shots late and ended up falling short.
Randle would finish with 22 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and four steals, all of which were team highs, and the 20-year-old became the second youngest player to put out that box score in NBA history.
On the topic of Randle, Bryant said, "The sky's the limit for him. He's a gem."
Notes: Bryant finished with 15 points on 3/15 shooting. Russell finished with 10 points and one assist in 27 minutes. Nowitzki led all scorers with 24 points on 10/13 shooting.