Double-digit leads and the Lakers have been a volatile mix in the final days of December. Every time the Lakers get what appears to be a comfortable cushion, it seems to blow up in their face.
It happened again Thursday night in Staples Center, where the Lakers built an 11-point second quarter lead over one of the worst teams in the NBA, only to blow it in a dreadful third period that led to a 101-89 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the Lakers' 14th loss in 16 games this month.
The Mavericks (10-23) have the worst-scoring offense and second-worst shooting team in the league and played without starting forward Dirk Nowitzki, who was running a fever.
But they got a team-high 20 points from guard Wesley Matthews, 17 points from forward Harrison Barnes and 14 points each from forward Dwight Powell and guard Devin Harris to pull away for the win.
The Lakers blew 19-point leads in consecutive losses at Miami and Orlando on Dec. 22-23, and though they didn't give up that much of a deficit Thursday night, their collapse was just as severe.
They went up by 11 early in the second quarter and had a 57-50 halftime lead behind the hot shooting of Nick Young, who made all four of his three-point attempts in the first quarter, and D'Angelo Russell, who had 13 points in the first two quarters.
But the Lakers went cold in the third period, making just five of 17 shots, while the Mavericks warmed up from the outside, making six of 10 three-pointers in the third after hitting just five of 14 shots from beyond the arc in the first half.