Lakers rout Mavericks in Lonzo Ball’s return
LOS ANGELES — Julius Randle had 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists and rookie Lonzo Ball made a triumphant return to the lineup as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Dallas Mavericks 124-102 on Friday night.
Ball, who was sidelined for 15 games with a knee injury, had nine points, seven rebounds and six assists in 17 minutes. Isaiah Thomas had 17 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Brandon Ingram scored 15 apiece to help Los Angeles stop a three-game slide.
It was Randle’s second triple-double this season and No. 5 for his career. Josh Hart added 12 points and 10 boards as the Lakers enjoyed a 61-29 advantage on the glass.
Wesley Matthews and Harrison Barnes each scored 19 points for the Mavericks (18-41), who have dropped five of six.
The Lakers jumped out to 23-5 lead and had a 63-41 advantage at the break.
Mavericks: Rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. was one of the players identified in the Yahoo Sports story on federal documents obtained in the FBI’s investigation into college basketball corruption. It alleged Smith received $43,500 and was loaned another $73,500. Said Smith at the morning shootaround: “I’m a firm believer in God and everything happens for a reason. Whether it’s going to strengthen you or destroy you, you make that decision. But since I’ve been here, it’s been a class organization from top to bottom, starting with Mark Cuban and all the way down to players like myself. It’s been great, fantastic. I’m here to play basketball. Everything else to me is just noise and I have to block all that out.”
Lakers: The Yahoo Sports report also said rookie forward Kyle Kuzma received $3,000 and $6,500 in loans. Kuzma would not say prior to the game whether the story was accurate. “Hmm, I’m not going to say anything really,” he said. “Just gathering information about it and whatnot.” He called it a legal matter, though he did not believe he was in jeopardy. “I don’t know. I don’t think so,” he said. “That’s why we’re trying to gather information about everything. It is a federal investigation the NCAA is dealing with.” Kuzma did say the story was a distraction. “Yeah, for sure,” he said. “It’s the NBA right now and we’re focusing on trying to win games, and things like this come about, it’s definitely a little distraction.”
Mavericks: Play on back-to-back nights when they travel to Utah on Saturday.
Lakers: Also play on consecutive nights, traveling to Sacramento on Saturday.
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