James, Kuzma lead Lakers over frustrated Mavericks
DALLAS — LeBron James had 35 points and 16 rebounds, Kyle Kuzma scored a season-high 24 points starting in place of injured star Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers went up big early in a 129-114 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night.
James was dominant from the start to help the Lakers build a 22-point lead in the first half, which ended with Luka Doncic in a ripped jersey on a frustrating night for the 20-year-old Dallas phenom against the player he grew up admiring.
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle was equally flummoxed, getting ejected after his second technical early in the fourth quarter when he exploded over the Lakers getting to challenge an out-of-bounds call after he thought the Mavericks had thrown the ball in.
Doncic, who had played James just about even while the Lakers took two of first three in the season series, had 25 points and 10 rebounds but ripped his jersey late in the first half after one of his 11 misses (8 of 19). The 2019 Rookie of the Year was a game-worst minus-24 in the first half.
Davis missed the first game of a road back-to-back after taking a nasty fall in a 117-87 win over the Knicks in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. An MRI exam showed no major concerns, although Davis was extremely sore.
Both leading men — James and Doncic — were without their star sidekicks for the final regular-season meeting as both fell short of a triple-double after both had one in the previous meeting in Dallas. They had seven assists apiece.
Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis has already been ruled out for the final two games of a six-game homestand because of a sore right knee. It’s not the knee the 7-foot-3 Latvian injured in his final game for the Knicks almost two years ago.
The Mavericks got within 91-81 late in the third quarter when Doncic found Tim Hardaway, who scored 22 points, for a 3-pointer. It was the closest Dallas had been since 19-9 midway through the first, when James hit a 3 to cap a stretch of scoring or assisting on seven of LA’s first nine baskets.
Dallas never did get the deficit back to single digits, and James hit a 3 to open the fourth quarter to push the lead back to 16.
FLAGRANT AND TECHS
Dwight Howard was called for a flagrant foul for shoving Maxi Kleber 33 seconds after entering the game in the first quarter, prompting a five-point possession for Dallas that ended with a goal-tending call against Howard.
The foul was called as Hardaway hit a jumper. Hardaway missed one of the two free throws awarded for the foul, then Howard grabbed Seth Curry’s runner on its way down. Howard got his fifth foul midway through the third quarter, but had already scored all 10 of his points by then.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel matched Carlisle in the first half with a technical foul. Kuzma was called for one in the third quarter.
Lakers: The previous high in a quarter was 43 in the first quarter in a 117-017 win over Phoenix on New Year’s Day. The previous high for a half was 77 in a 136-113 win over Portland on Dec. 6. … Rajon Rondo scored 10 points
Mavericks: Dropped to 2-3 on a season-long six-game homestand, putting them at 11-10 at home compared to 12-5 on the road. … Assistant coach Stephen Silas filled in for Carlisle after the ejection. … Boban Marjanovic had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The second night of a back-to-back for both teams Saturday, the Lakers in Oklahoma City and the Mavericks at home against Philadelphia.