Luka Doncic wore cowboy boots and a black hat. Russell Westbrook had on a grey pleated skirt and white wingtipped sneakers. And LeBron James donned a camel peacoat and small round sun shades.
Christmas Day within the NBA, as a lot as any throughout the 82-game season, is an opportunity to indicate out with everybody watching.
And, if you happen to’re simply tuning in, now you understand precisely what the Lakers are this season.
The Dallas Mavericks scored a laughable 51 factors within the third quarter, carving the Lakers’ protection with crisp passes and wide-open three-pointers in a 124-115 win that was extra lopsided than the ultimate rating.
The Lakers (13-20) have misplaced 4 straight and are in peril of their third five-game shedding streak of the season. The workforce, when confronted with these powerful moments early within the season, has largely respondedto scratch its means again to respectability.
But requested whether or not he believed the Lakers might do it once more, James flipped the query on its head.
“I look at it the other way too,” stated James, who appeared in his seventeenth sport on Christmas Day, eclipsing the earlier file of 16 he shared with Kobe Bryant. “Like, how many times are you going to try to dig yourselves out until it’s too much dirt on you?”
At seven video games beneath .500 and with out an injured Anthony Davis for the close to future, the Lakers once more appear to be at a defining stretch with their subsequent 4 video games approaching the highway to wrap up a really unkind December schedule that can have taken them on two prolonged journeys.
With issues getting unhealthy, the Lakers are getting much less shy about venting, mentioning a perceived lack of changes, issues with their dimension and depth, and incapability to handle a troublesome stretch.
Since Davis has been out due to a stress damage in his proper foot that he appeared to endure throughout a win Dec. 16, the Lakers have been particularly challenged defensively, their plans to double-team Doncic going up in flames throughout the third quarter.
Because the clock ticked down close to the tip of the third, Doncic, utilizing the sort of 20-20 court docket imaginative and prescient few possess, jumped and zipped a two-handed move to Christian Wooden, who, like Dallas gamers had all quarter, walked right into a wide-open three-pointer. However not like different Mavericks all quarter, Wooden’s high-arcing shot rattled off the rim.
It was an enormous miss — not as a result of it finally mattered within the outcome however as a result of it stored the earlier 12 minutes from being embarrassingly historic.
Had Wooden’s three-point try fallen, the Lakers would have set a franchise file for many factors given up in 1 / 4. When the shot rimmed out, the efficiency was simply the second worst ever one level behind the 52 factors the Minneapolis Lakers allowed the Boston Celtics to attain within the fourth quarter on Feb. 27, 1959.
“You’re never going to win a game if you give up 51 in a quarter,” James stated. “So, that’s it. It’s simple.”
Lakers gamers, together with James, pointed once more to the workforce’s lack of dimension, saying it restricted the Lakers’ choices to gradual the 6-foot-7 Doncic. Coach Darvin Ham stated the Lakers selected to double-team him as a result of they feared he would punish one-on-one defenders along with his capacity to get to the basket and draw fouls.
For a half, the double-teaming labored, the Lakers forcing the ball out of his fingers and to his teammates, who proceeded to brick open three-point attempt after open three-point attempt.
The Mavericks went 5 for 22 on three-point makes an attempt within the first half, and the Lakers led by 11 factors at intermission.
“We talked about it before the game, just being able to initiate, sustain and finish with energy, effort and competitiveness,” Ham stated. “And we left it in the locker room at halftime.”
A busted protection led to Spencer Dinwiddie getting an open three-pointer to start the second half, setting the tone for a 12-minute drubbing that almost made franchise historical past.
The Mavericks scored on 20 consecutive possessions within the third quarter — Tim Hardaway Jr. and Doncic combining for 29 of Dallas’ 51 factors.
Throughout these 20 possessions, the Mavericks outscored the Lakers 48-15.
James scored 38 factors to steer the Lakers, however Dallas (18-16) had three starters with no less than 26, led by Doncic with 32. The Lakers’ different 4 starters mixed to attain simply 32 factors.
It’s the seventh straight sport wherein James has scored no less than 30.
“He competed his ass off,” Ham stated of James. “It’s tough times right now, tough circumstances. But at the end of the day, you know, we just have to keep mashing forward. He’s the prime example of that. Just his ability to come out game after game after game and put up the type of performances he’s putting up.”
However the Lakers aren’t successful and persistence appears to be sporting skinny.
“There’s been times that I’ve been happy. There’s been times where I’ve been like, ‘OK, we can do better here,’ or whatever the case may be,” James stated of his temper this season. “But I always try to stay even-keeled. There’s ways that we can be better. There’s some things that we’re good at. There’s some things that we’re not very good at.
“But we have another opportunity in two days. … We have another opportunity to win a ballgame, but we got to go out and play the right way. And if we play the right way and sustain our effort for 48 minutes, it gives us the best chance to win.”
However proper now, it might’t assure it. It’s nonetheless simply an opportunity.