Nowitzki leads Mavs past Lakers in Thomas' debut

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Feb 11 2018 12:57 PM | Updated as of Sep 07 2018 08:58 AM

Dirk Nowitzki (41) of the Dallas Mavericks looks to shoot against Isaiah Thomas (7) of the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half at American Airlines Center on February 10, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. Ron Jenkins, Getty Images/AFP

The 39-year-old Dirk Nowitzki turned back the clock by scoring a season-high 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting and Dallas made key plays down the stretch as the Mavericks defeated the new look Los Angeles Lakers 130-123 on Saturday at the American Airlines Center.

Back-to-back jumpers by Dennis Smith Jr. and Doug McDermott, the latter with 2:34 to play, pushed Dallas to a 121-118 lead.

After the teams traded free throws, Kyle Kuzma's fadeaway jumper with 1:30 remaining kept the Lakers within 123-121, but a dunk by Maxi Kleber off a Smith assist and a bucket by Salah Mejri expanded the Mavericks advantage to 127-121 with just 53.4 on the clock. Los Angeles would not threaten again.

Harrison Barnes added 21 points for Dallas while Dwight Powell hit for 19, Smith scored 14 and Wesley Matthews and J.J. Barea tallied 13 and 10, respectfully, for the Mavericks.

Julius Randle scored a game-high 26 points for Los Angeles before fouling out in the final minute. Brandon Ingram and Isaiah Thomas added 22 each, Brook Lopez tallied 16 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit for 14 and Kuzma scored 12 for the Lakers in the loss.

Offense ruled in the first half as the Lakers shot their way to as much as an 11-point advantage before settling for a 66-65 lead at halftime.

Thomas, in his first game with Los Angeles after being traded from Cleveland on Thursday, led the Lakers in scoring in the first half with 16 points off the bench. Randle added 16 and Ingram scored 12 points over the first 24 minutes of play.

Barnes paced the Mavericks with 14 points in the half and Matthews poured in 11 for Dallas prior to intermission.

Dallas took things to the Lakers in the first two minutes of the third quarter, forging a 12-5 run to take a 77-71 lead. After giving back all that advantage and more, the Mavericks ended the period on a 7-2 spurt and headed to the fourth quarter up 100-95.

From there the game went back and forth, with neither team leading by more than six points through the first four minutes of the quarter.

Dallas gets no reprieve as it heads to Houston to play the Rockets on Sunday evening in the second game of a brutal back to back. The Lakers continue a three-game road trip on Wednesday at New Orleans.

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