The Los Angeles Lakers won another close overtime against the Mavericks on Wednesday night, improving their record in those games to 5-1 on the season.
Los Angeles has played in the most overtime games this season, in addition to the victory against Dallas, they have also defeated the San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers. The Lakers stars would probably want to avoid getting into a lot of overtime games, but at least when they get there, they have shown a stamina that has allowed them to win.
The Lakers roster has (rightly) received some criticism since the season began: They have had ups and downs, they have been told they are too old and many have wondered if the adjustment of LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis can work.
But there is one thing to be said about veteran baseball clubs: They find ways to win.
Yes, it took rookie Austin Reaves a three-point shot with 0.9 seconds left in overtime to seal the deal, but the fact is, the Lakers are still winning their overtime games, and that’s important as they look to start their season with positive momentum.
James scored 24 points, Westbrook added 23 and Anthony Davis had his sixth double-double of the season with 20 points and 12 rebounds after missing two games with a sore left knee.
Their first – and only loss – in an overtime game was against the Sacramento Kings in which they fell 141-137 in a triple overtime game.
Despite playing without Luka Doncic, who missed his third straight game with an ankle injury, the Mavs went on a 15-0 streak to start the second quarter and went ahead of the Lakers to end the first half, 50- 47. However, Los Angeles stepped up its defensive intensity, holding the Mavericks to just 39.8 percent shooting for the game.
“Our defense is definitely growing. We are improving ” said coach Frank Vogel After the match.
The Lakers are 6-3 in their last nine games, a stretch in which their defensive rating has risen to fifth best in the league. The Lakers now move to 16-13 and are climbing again in the Western Conference standings slowly but surely.
Their season may not have been fully saved yet, but their stamina in these close matches has at least ensured that they will be fit to compete later this season.