NBA: Lakers post convincing win over Mavs despite Doncic return

AFP , Thursday 18 Jan 2024

The Los Angeles Lakers, fueled by a near triple-double from Anthony Davis, spoiled Luka Doncic's return from injury with a convincing 127-110 NBA victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

Lakers vs Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks forward Tim Hardaway Jr. (10) grabs a rebound over Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024, in Los Angeles. Photo: AP

 

Davis scored 28 points with 12 rebounds and nine assists and D'Angelo Russell scored 29 for the Lakers, who withstood a triple-double from Doncic -- who had missed three games with a sprained right ankle.

Doncic scored 33 points with 13 rebounds and 10 assists. But Mavs star Kyrie Irving was limited to 12 points on four-of-16 shooting and Dallas never led after the first quarter.

It was just one of the lopsided victories on a night that saw the Cleveland Cavaliers rout the short-handed Milwaukee Bucks 135-95, the Boston Celtics top the San Antonio Spurs 117-98 and the Toronto Raptors beat the Miami Heat 121-97.

However, it was no blowout in Atlanta, where Dejounte Murray drilled a buzzer-beating jump shot to lift the Hawks to a 106-104 victory over the Orlando Magic.

At arenas round the league teams observed a moment of silence in memory of Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic, who died Wednesday in Salt Lake City after suffering a heart attack.

The Warriors' scheduled game against the Utah Jazz was postponed after what Golden State coach Steve Kerr called a "shocking and tragic blow" for the team and for the family of the 46-year-old Serbian, who played and coached in Europe where he worked with a number of future NBA stars, including two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic.

"A lot of NBA players went through his hands and his influence," Toronto's Serbian coach Darko Rajakovic said.

"He helped a lot of guys to make the next step in their career," added Rajakovic before his Raptors, fueled by a season-high 28 points from Gary Trent Jr., beat the Heat.

In Los Angeles, LeBron James said the Lakers' victory -- which pulled them back to .500 for the season at 21-21 -- owed much to finally having a healthy squad.

"The most important for our team is about health," said James, who scored 25 points with eight rebounds and eight assists. "If we get guys to be in uniform and be on the floor, we get the continuity, we could get some minutes together and see what we're about."

In Cleveland, Donovan Mitchell scored 31 points to lead the Cavaliers, who took full advantage of the absence of Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo to notch a sixth straight victory.

The Cavs raced to a 22-2 lead as Antetokounmpo, nursing a bruised right shoulder, watched from the bench -- just the second game that the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player has missed this season.

Elite defense

Georges Niang connected on 13 of his 14 shots from the field on the way to a career-high 33 points for Cleveland and Jarrett Allen posted his 10th straight double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Damian Lillard led the Bucks with 17 points, making just seven of his 20 shots from the field. Khris Middleton had an even worse night, making just one of 10 shots on the way to two points.

"Obviously we know what Dame and Khris are capable of but I thought our guys came out and were very pointed, they were physical without fouling," Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "I thought our team defense was elite."

In Boston, Jayson Tatum scored 24 points, Jrue Holiday added 22 and Jaylen Brown returned from a one-game injury absence to score 21 as the Celtics gave San Antonio's rookie star Victor Wembanyama a rude welcome in his first visit to the TD Garden arena.

Wembanyama scored 10 of his 27 points in the first quarter, but the Celtics pulled away relentlessly against the Western Conference stragglers to improve their perfect home record to 20-0.

In New Orleans, Brandon Ingram delivered a triple-double of 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Pelicans to a 132-112 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

Ingram had a career-high seven three-pointers and rookie guard Jordan Hawks made six as the Pelicans set a franchise record with 25 from beyond the arc.

A tight game in Atlanta was settled by Murray's 17-foot jumper as time expired.

Orlando's Paolo Banchero had tied it at 104-104 with a three-pointer with 8.4 seconds left.

Murray scored 26 points to lead the Hawks and Banchero paced the Magic with 26 in a tense battle that featured 19 lead changes.

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