Five takeaways from the Lakers’ 124-102 win over the Dallas Mavericks
One of the first people to text Isaiah Thomas after he got traded to the Lakers was Kobe Bryant.
“I like you better in LA anyway,” Bryant said, according to Thomas’ recollection.
Bryant has been a mentor for Thomas, who reached out to Bryant last year during the playoffs. Thomas grew up watching the Lakers, and that would have included Bryant’s championship teams. He shared that nugget when asked if he still communicates with Bryant.
Friday’s game marked the first time Thomas got to play a home game with the Lakers.
“It was nice to get an ovation,” Thomas said. “To finally be on the home team in L.A. It was a nice feeling. I’ve always thought of having that feeling. I know my family back home was definitely happy about it. I’m just glad we got the win.”
It was also his first taste of what his role with the team might be for the next two months.
Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ 124-102 win over the Dallas Mavericks.
1.) Lonzo Ball and Thomas can coexist and play the way Lakers coach Luke Walton wants them to play. Because of Ball’s minutes restriction, he was never on the court without Thomas. “That group really had the ball moving, which I was hoping to see with two point guards on the floor,” Walton said. “They went through a stretch where they weren’t scoring, but they were getting wide open looks, and that’s all you can really ask for. We finished with 32 assists and I felt like, for the most part of the game, it was the simple pass and to the open guy.”
2.) Thomas said he didn’t learn anything new through the experience of playing with Ball. It simply confirmed what he expected. “We’re just two basketball players that know how to make plays,” Thomas said. “He’s a guy that loves to pass and advance the ball. I’m a guy that likes to make plays and score the ball. I think that adjustment is going to be easy just playing with another guy that likes to make plays, you just figure out where you can take advantage and go from there.”
3.) Big games from Julius Randle are becoming the norm. Randle notched his fifth career triple double, almost a year after he got his last one, also against Dallas. It’s been a study in not forcing things for Randle. “Teams are doubling,” he said. “They’re not really playing me one on one in the post. My job is to evaluate the defense and if I have the advantage, score; if not, draw the double team and make the play for my teammates.”
4.) Randle’s play was a big part of why the Lakers were so dominant on the boards. They outrebounded the Mavericks 61-29. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time since 1994 that a Lakers team notched at least 60 rebounds while its opponent had fewer than 30.
5.) Lonzo Ball didn’t lose the momentum he had built scoring. Ball had been shooting the ball better just before his injury, so it would have been fair to wonder whether he would keep that up after a 41-day break. Ball answered immediately by hitting a three-pointer seconds after entering the game. He made three three-pointers throughout the night, sinking half of those he attempted.
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli
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