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Lakers’ winning streak comes to an end in 109-97 loss to Mavericks

Lakers forward Julius Randle, left, shoots as Dallas Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes defends during the first half Tuesday.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The next step in the Lakers’ evolution came at the cost of the team’s first loss at Staples Center this season.

The Dallas Mavericks ended the Lakers’ three-game winning streak with a 109-97 victory Tuesday night.

After beating the Atlanta Hawks, the Golden State Warriors and the Phoenix Suns, the Lakers struggled against a Mavericks team that entered the game with a 1-5 record. Harrison Barnes, coming off a 34-point performance in the Mavericks’ last game, scored 31 against the Lakers. Five Dallas players finished in double figures and the Mavericks shot 52.4%.

The loss dropped the Lakers to 4-4.

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“Harrison was pretty spectacular tonight,” said Lakers Coach Luke Walton, who coached Barnes while the coach and player were both at Golden State. “J.J. Barea, and then Seth Curry coming off the bench was huge. … I thought we were a little soft in the first half. When you let good players get into a rhythm, it can be tough to shut them down.”

Barea finished with 18 points and Curry added 23 off the bench with four assists and three steals.

Jordan Clarkson led the Lakers with 22 points, Nick Young had 20 and Julius Randle had 15. The Lakers committed 17 turnovers that led to 20 Dallas points.

The Lakers took an early lead entirely off shooting guard Nick Young’s play. He scored the Lakers’ first 13 points. Julius Randle also had eight points in that quarter, while three other players had one bucket each.

The Lakers fell behind, then clawed back. A Clarkson floater tied the score in the fourth quarter and Lou Williams’ free throws gave L.A a 91-89 lead. But the Mavericks went on a 12-0 run and capitalized on a Lakers scoring drought that lasted nearly four minutes. When Randle finally broke the drought, the Lakers trailed the Mavericks 101-93.

While this young team had finished strong in prior games, even in improbable victories, they couldn’t do it against the Mavericks. It’s a lesson Walton wants them to learn, and part of why he stuck with a young lineup rather than returning to veterans like Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng late in the game.

“The only way to learn how to close games out is to experience it,” Walton said. “Once you experience it, even if you’re not in the next time you should know what to look for and see how other guys are doing it from both teams.

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“Being out there and feeling how the game shifts in those final, three, four, five minutes of the game I think are very important for the young guys.”

On Tuesday night the learning experience came at the cost of a win.

“We gotta keep it for the whole time of the game, that mentality,” Clarkson said. “Getting stops, playing hard in transition, playing fast and making shots. That’s all it comes down to at the end of the day. The biggest thing is stopping them from scoring, and they went over their average of scoring. Kind of threw us off our little pace a little bit. That’s what it is.”

tania.ganguli@latimes.com

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Twitter: @taniaganguli

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