Mavericks Thrive Without Doncic as Lakers Confirm Starting Lineup

Mavericks Thrive Without Doncic as Lakers Confirm Starting Lineup

In the absence of Luka Doncic for the past three games, the Dallas Mavericks have not only coped but excelled, winning two out of three matchups, including a remarkable 125-120 victory against the New Orleans Pelicans. As the Mavericks gear up to face the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, they seem confident in their ability to adapt to varying roster options.

Kyrie Irving has been the focal point in Doncic’s absence, averaging an impressive 39.7 points over the three games. In their latest triumph against the Pelicans, Irving paired up with Tim Hardaway Jr., who contributed 41 points, marking the second time in Mavericks’ history that two players scored at least 40 points in a game. The first occurrence was in March of the previous season when Irving partnered with Doncic.

Coach Jason Kidd commended Hardaway’s contribution, highlighting his ability to step up in the absence of key players. Kidd stated, “Timmy was huge for us, he kept us in there, he made some big shots, but Ky was steady the whole afternoon. (Irving) just took what the defense gave him. He’s been leading us, and guys are following, putting us in a position to win.”

Despite the challenges, the Mavericks achieved a 5-2 record during an extended home stretch and are now embarking on a brief two-game road trip.

On the other side, the Los Angeles Lakers, after a rough December, seem to be finding their rhythm again, winning three of their last five games. In their recent 112-105 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers returned to their initial starting lineup, featuring D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves in the backcourt.

Anthony Davis spearheaded the Lakers with 27 points and 15 rebounds, while Russell and Reaves showcased their skills, contributing 14 points with six assists and 15 points with seven assists, respectively. Lakers coach Darvin Ham expressed confidence in the current starting lineup, stating, “For the foreseeable future, that’s gonna be our lineup, barring any type of injury.”

With a settled starting lineup, the Lakers aim to capitalize on their home advantage, preparing for six consecutive games in Los Angeles before embarking on a challenging six-game road trip. Russell emphasized the importance of building momentum, stating, “This was a huge game for us to win. And the next few that are coming up, big wins for us to get, to just go into that road trip with some rhythm and flow.”