NBA: Doncic, Exum lead Mavs past LeBron, Lakers

Posted by watchmen
December 14, 2023
Posted in SPORTS


Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks looks for a pass beyond Cam Reddish of the Los Angeles Lakers at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Tim Heitman / Getty Images via AFP)
Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks looks for a pass beyond Cam Reddish of the Los Angeles Lakers at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Tim Heitman / Getty Images via AFP)

Luka Doncic produced another dazzling performance as the Dallas Mavericks brought LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers back down to earth with a 127-125 victory yesterday (Philippine time).

Doncic rattled off his eighth straight 30-point game to finish with 33 points, 17 assists and six rebounds in a thrilling back-and-forth duel with the Lakers, playing their first game since winning the inaugural in-season tournament crown last week.

An absorbing contest at Dallas’ American Airlines Center home saw the lead change hands eight times, with the Lakers overturning a 15-point deficit with a huge third quarter to help open up a four-point lead early in the fourth.

But Dallas’ Dante Exum took over with a superb display in the final period that saw him rattle in 17 points — including five three-pointers — to carry the Mavs to victory.

Exum finished with 26 points, while Tim Hardaway, Jr. added 32 points from the bench to support Doncic.

Anthony Davis led the Lakers scoring with 37 points from 15-of-21 shooting, with James adding 33.

Doncic stayed in the game despite rolling an ankle and suffering a bloodied lip in a physical battle between the two Western Conference rivals.

“I’m not going out in a game like this, no way. When you’re playing against the best, you want to stay on the court,” the Slovenian star said afterward.

“This was an amazing team win. We’ve got so many guys out, everybody stepped up, everybody played hard,” he added.

Celtics win, Jokic tossed 

Meanwhile, Doncic admitted he was flattered by talk of him potentially emerging as a contender for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award — but insisted team success was more important than individual honors.

“Of course, who wouldn’t want to be MVP of the league? But obviously, first is the championship … That’s what’s first on my mind for sure,” Doncic said.

The win saw the Mavericks improve to 15-8 for the season, while the Lakers fell to 14-10 to remain sixth in the West.

In other games, the Boston Celtics recovered from a shaky start to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 120-113, and preserve their unbeaten home record.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown scored 25 points apiece, while Kristaps Porzingis finished with 17 on a night when all five starters posted double-digit tallies.

But the Eastern Conference leaders were made to work hard for the win after trailing by 15 points in the first quarter following a slew of turnovers and some woeful shooting.

The Cavs led by 10 after the first period, but the Celtics responded with a 38-point second period to cut the gap to one-point at half-time.

A game that saw nine lead changes finally saw the Celtics edge clear midway through the fourth quarter to close out victory.

Donovan Mitchell led the Cleveland scoring with 29 points, while Darius Garland finished with 26.

“We got off to a slow start, but we picked it up, and some shots started to fall,” Tatum said afterward.

In Chicago, Denver star Nikola Jokic was controversially tossed from the game in the second quarter of the Nuggets’ 114-106 defeat of the Chicago Bulls.

Jokic was ejected after appearing to argue a no-call with a member of the officiating crew. (Agence France-Presse)


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