For Lakers, it was a December to remember despite their first taste of adversity

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic defends Lakers guard Avery Bradley.
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic defends Lakers guard Avery Bradley during the first half of the Lakers’ 108-95 win Sunday at Staples Center.
(Michael Owen Baker / Associated Press)

It was a daunting December for the Lakers because so many of their opponents were formidable and they were on the road for so many games.

For the most part, the Lakers withstood the challenges, even overcoming their first real taste of adversity in the form of a four-game losing streak.

When it was all said and done, the Lakers completed the month with a 9-5 record, which left them at 26-7, best in the Western Conference and second best in the NBA behind the Milwaukee Bucks (29-5).

After the Lakers defeated the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night at Staples Center, Coach Frank Vogel said his team played “lot of games against good teams” in December, and the overall performance was “very good.”

“We feel like we missed some opportunities right before Christmas, but overall a really good month and one that we knew was going to be a very difficult one, a lot of teams with winning records and a lot of games on the road,” Vogel said. “So we’re definitely happy with how we performed. On to 2020.”

LeBron James is closer to being over the hill, but his play over the last two games, in particular, shows how much he brings to the Lakers and the NBA.

Dec. 29, 2019

If there was a weak spot in December, it was their performance against teams with winning records, going 4-5.

They lost to Dallas to open the month and had four losses in a row to Indiana, Milwaukee, Denver and the Clippers on Christmas Day.


“Even with us losing four in a row, we’re still in pretty good position in the West,” Danny Green said. “I think we’re in the right direction now. We can get the ball rolling.”

Anthony Davis missed the game at Indiana because of a right ankle injury and LeBron James missed the Denver game at home because of a back strain.

“Some games we let slip away, but still a winning record,” Davis said. “That’s what you want to do, come out every month with a winning record still. Feel good about it. We got a lot to learn from it as well, the games that we lost and even the games that we won, we got to try to get better.”

On the bright side, the Lakers went 7-2 on the road in December, improving their mark to 15-3, best in the NBA.

The Lakers kept the Mavericks’ shooters in check and leaned on big contributions from Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard to defeat the Mavericks 108-95.

Dec. 29, 2019

“I think you got to come together more on the road,” Davis said. “It’s just the guys in the locker room. It’s no home-court advantage or anything like that, even though our fans travel. But it’s tough to win in other team’s arenas, and we got to make sure that we come together even more to win those games and I think that’s why we’ve been able to be so successful on the road.”