Homestands are always a welcome sight for the home team.
Plenty of days at your own house instead of a hotel. Eat the food you want, see the people you wish to see, sleep in your own bed with whatever firmness of mattress and pillow you desire.
But the Lakers didn’t start a five-game homestand the way they hoped Thursday.
The Dallas Mavericks came to town and won a wild double-overtime game, 119-115, as Dallas guard Luka Doncic notched a triple-double in a career-high 53 minutes at Crypto.com Arena.
The Lakers (19-22) got back two players from brief absences — LeBron James and Troy Brown Jr. — but it didn’t help. They had their chances. Many, many chances. They led by three late in the fourth quarter but Doncic made a step-back three-pointer up top with six seconds left in regulation. Brown Jr. then air-balled a three-point attempt but appeared to be hit on his wrist by Tim Hardaway Jr.
Lakers coach Darvin Ham said Brown Jr. was fouled “clear as day” but added that the Lakers had plenty of other things to blame.
“We had a lot of different chances to not be in that situation,” Ham said. “It stings, man, to lose a game like this. We’ve just got to fill our cups back up … and get ready to compete on Sunday.”
The Lakers couldn’t challenge the apparent foul on Hardaway because they already used their official challenge a few minutes earlier on a rebound by Dallas center Christian Wood.
So the game went to overtime. The first one.
The Lakers had another chance to win but James missed a reverse layup as time expired. He appeared to be fouled on the arm by Wood, but the game continued.
On to the second overtime.
The Lakers looked tired at this point, scoring only seven points and making only three shots over the next five minutes.
There was nothing left. James played 47 minutes. The game ended quietly.
James nearly had a triple-double of his own, finishing with 24 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists. He didn’t shoot well, making only nine of 28 shots and missing all seven of his three-point attempts.
“Just an off night for me,” he said.
Doncic finished with 35 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists for Dallas. His three-pointer at the end of the fourth quarter was a major talking point in post-game interviews.
“Big time players make big time shots. It’s that simple,” James said.
The Lakers trailed by 19 in the first quarter, a big hole no doubt, but slowly worked their way back into the game before taking a one-point lead midway through the fourth quarter. Russell Westbrook had a lot to do with that, successfully attacking the basket again and again on the way to 28 points.
Dallas (24-19) beat the Lakers on Dec. 25 after exploding for 51 points in the third quarter of a 124-115 victory. There was no such outburst in the rematch.
It didn’t help that four Lakers players were still sidelined — Anthony Davis (foot), Austin Reaves (hamstring), Lonnie Walker IV (knee tendinitis) and Patrick Beverley (non-COVID illness).
“The one consistent thing that we have is a billion different lineups. You get what I’m saying?,” James said. “Right now we’ve got a lot of guys that’s banged up.”
“Ever since we made the trade for A.D. to bring him here, our whole thing was about health. It’s not changed,” he continued. “We haven’t had the best of luck with health. I can’t tell you what I want out of this ball club until [then].”
The Lakers host Philadelphia on Sunday and finish out their home stand with games against Houston, Sacramento and Memphis.