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Anthony Davis figures it out: Three takeaways from Lakers’ win over Mavericks

Lakers forward Anthony Davis dunks over the Dallas Mavericks' Dorian Finney-Smith and Kristaps Porzingis.
Lakers forward Anthony Davis dunks over the Dallas Mavericks’ Dorian Finney-Smith (10) and Kristaps Porzingis, right, as LeBron James looks on during the first half Wednesday.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)
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The double teams were coming hard and fast, all of it being done to slow Anthony Davis, to make him hesitate, to think and to make him less of a weapon for the Lakers against the Dallas Mavericks.

Davis found himself having to “adjust to [the] schemes” Dallas coach Jason Kidd was employing. Kidd had spent two years as an assistant coach with the Lakers and was fully aware of the way Davis could dominate.

In the first half it worked, holding Davis to four points on one-for-five shooting. But once Davis figured things out, he was a force, scoring 12 points in the second half by shooting five-for-11 from the field and scoring four points in overtime by making both of his shots.

Austin Reaves knows he has the respect of LeBron James and his Lakers teammates, and he rewarded their faith in him with a game-winning three-pointer.

He finished with 20 points on eight-for-18 shooting, 12 rebounds and was a plus-21.

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“They were doubling every time I caught the ball on the post, and when he threw a little pocket pass another defender was right there in my lap so I couldn’t [take] the shot,” Davis said. “But it was just figuring out their schemes throughout the course of the game, figuring out ways to beat them to get shots.”

Three takeaways from the Lakers’ 107-104 overtime win over the Mavericks:

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1. Anthony Davis feeling fine

Dallas Mavericks teammates Tim Hardaway Jr., left, and Maxi Kleber battle Lakers forward Anthony Davis for a rebound.
Dallas Mavericks teammates Tim Hardaway Jr., left, and Maxi Kleber battle Lakers forward Anthony Davis for a rebound in overtime Wednesday.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

Davis had missed the previous two games because of left knee soreness, but he said the “knee feels fine.”

The proof was in Davis playing 39 minutes.

And it was in how tough he was on the backboards, collecting all 12 of his rebounds on the defensive end.

“Trying to get the soreness out, get ready to play,” Davis said. “But it’s fine, some treatment, some rehab and I was ready to go tonight.”

Davis said, “Yes,” when asked if his knee issue was behind him.

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It looked that way when he scored the Lakers’ first basket in overtime on a fallaway, when he next threw a pass for an assist to Russell Westbrook for the Lakers’ second basket and when Davis scored in the post for the Lakers’ third basket.

“Anthony Davis at his core is a guy that can dominate the game with defense and rebounding, you know, and scoring is gonna be there,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “It’s gonna come and go, especially when you have a lot of firepower like we do on this team. But tonight, like, he had 12 defensive rebounds. They were all dirty rebounds.”

Austin Reaves sinks a three-pointer just before the buzzer in overtime to lift the Lakers to a thrilling 107-104 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

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2. You try playing them

Lakers star LeBron James goes in for a layup against the Dallas Mavericks in the second half.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

To be sure, the Lakers’ 16-13 record is uninspiring for this talented and loaded team with championship aspirations.

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But the rub to that is that they are a very tough team to deal with in the clutch.

The Lakers are now 5-1 in overtime games this season.

If nothing else, that has to inspire confidence in the players that they can get the job done when the game is most tense.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s just a good sign of how we execute at crunch time,” Vogel said. “Because all of overtime is basically crunch time. I know they talk about the last two minutes and whatnot. But you’re playing an extra period, that’s a crunch-time atmosphere, and to know that we perform well in those situations does give us confidence about what we can be.”

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3. Wayne Ellington delivers ... eventually

Lakers guard Wayne Ellington gestures during a game against the Sacramento Kings on Nov. 26.
(Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)

The Lakers did apply some good defense against the Mavericks, holding them to 39.8% shooting from the field and 27.3% on three-pointers.

An airball three-pointer with the game hanging in the balance did not deter Wayne Ellington from hoisting another three when the opportunity presented itself and the Lakers needed it the most.

The Lakers were down three when Ellington shot a three-pointer that missed everything with 39.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

But when Ellington was called upon again for a clutch three-pointer, he delivered, knocking one down with two seconds left to tie the score at 93-93 to send the game into overtime.

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All three of Ellington’s field goals and his nine attempts were three-pointers.

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