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Mavericks pound Lakers



DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks are operating at tremendous efficiency and the Los Angeles Lakers, who for the rare time this season were actually feeling decent about themselves, served as nothing more than the next overmatched opponent to get blown away.

Led by Dirk Nowitzki’s 19-first half points, endless scoring options all whirring in high-scoring harmony and a 42-point third-quarter shellacking, Dallas routed the Lakers 140-106 on Friday night for their sixth consecutive victory.

The Mavs (10-3) haven’t won as many as six in a row since 2012.

Kobe Bryant and the Lakers surrendered their modest win streak of two, which vanished in a fog of Mavs shot-making from everywhere and from seemingly everybody.

“Tonight is a setback,” Bryant said. “Sometimes you take a couple of steps forward before taking a step back. Sometimes you take a step back before you can take a couple of steps forward. Tonight was a step back. They are extremely good, but they shot the lights out. I mean, 55-percent from 3 is crazy.”

Dallas gained control with an 11-2 burst in the final 1:26 of the first quarter that ended with the Mavs scoring five points in four seconds, capped by guard J.J. Barea’s 3-pointer after Lakers center Robert Sacre regrettably tossed the inbounds pass directly to a Dallas defender.

The Mavs led 68-59 at the half and managed a nine- or 11-point cushion until midway through the third quarter when the flood gates busted open. Guard Monta Ellis suddenly discovered a sizzling hand and nailed three consecutive 3-pointers to blow the game up, 93-73.

With 2:30 to go in the third quarter, Dallas led 100-77, carving up a virtually nonexistent, or at least a completely insufficient Lakers defense.

At the end of three, Dallas was shooting 65 percent from the field and 52 percent (13 of 15) from beyond the arc. They had 29 assists on 39 baskets and led 110-83.

“I love the way we passed it in the second half,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “When the ball touches a lot of people’s hands, it makes a big difference, regardless of what level you’re at. Second half, the unselfishness was really tremendous. We’ve just got to keep preaching it. Guys have got to keep doing it. This was a hard game that turned into an easy game in the end, but we had to get some traction defensively, and we had to keep scoring.”

The Lakers tried hard to make a game of it before halftime, but they just couldn’t really cut into the lead very deep and once the onslaught started in the third quarter, it just got out of hand for L.A.

Bryant again struggled to connect in L.A.’s methodical offense, hitting on just 6 of 22 shots from the field for 17 points. Guard Jeremy Lin led the Lakers with 18 points and five assists, but he also had four turnovers.

Dallas eventually extended the lead to 119-88, the fifth time in 11 games to lead by at least 30 points.

“We just moved the ball,” Chandler said of the Mavs’ season-high for points. “We played so unselfish and that was probably our best ball-movement game. People had good shots; if someone had a better shot we moved the ball. In the paint, we penetrated and drove, kicked it to the open man and that’s how we need to play. Our defense was much better and I think that gives us energy for the offensive end.”

Four Dallas bench players scored in double figures with pleasant early-season surprise Al-Farouq Aminu getting 13 points and dunk machine Brandan Wright adding 12 points. Barea, a clutch spark plug in the Mavs’ last road win at Washington, was again impressive with 16 points and eight assists.

“The teams that we have struggled with are the teams that have a lot of shooters,” Bryant said. “Those teams can really spread the floor and shoot it well. Those teams are the ones that are going to give us some problems.”

NOTES: Lakers G Kobe Bryant defended the two-year, $48.5 million extension he signed last season in comparison with the below-market contract — three years, $25 million — that Mavs F Dirk Nowitzki signed during the offseason. Bryant deemed so-called hometown discounts a “big coup for the owners.” Bryant said, “Did I take a discount? Yeah. Did I take as big a discount as some fans want me to? No. Is it a big enough discount to help us be a contender? Yeah.” … Lakers G Wayne Ellington rejoined the team after a nearly two-week absence following the murder of his father in Philadelphia. “I just want him back with the team, back with his family,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “Last couple of games obviously we’ve played pretty well, so that rotation will probably stay the same for tonight.” … Mavs owner Mark Cuban used to enjoy trading barbs in the media with former Lakers coach Phil Jackson. Those days are over, but Cuban still likes to poke the struggling Lakers when the opportunity presents itself. During an interview on a Los Angeles sports radio talk show this week, Cuban said he hopes the Lakers “suck forever.” … Mavs G Devin Harris missed his second consecutive game with lower right leg soreness … Mavs G Raymond Felton served the third of a four-game suspension, leaving Dallas with 12 players in uniform … Mavs F Chandler Parsons returns to Houston for Saturday’s game against the Rockets for the first time since the Mavs plucked him from Houston with a lucrative contract offer during the offseason.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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