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Lakers close out 2019, clamp down on Luka Doncic to beat Mavericks

The Lakers opened December with a double-digit loss to the Dallas Mavericks and closed it with a double-digit win over them.

With both teams playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Lakers’ defense dominated in a 108-95 win Sunday, a night after the Mavericks scored 141 at Golden State. Anthony Davis led all scorers with 23 points, and the Lakers received critical contributions off the bench from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who scored 19, making four of five three-pointers, and Dwight Howard, who scored all 15 of his points in the second quarter.

LeBron James finished with 13 points, 13 assists and six rebounds as the Lakers improved to 26-7 while Dallas fell to 21-11. Luke Doncic, who was averaging 29 points against the Lakers this season, had 19 on five-for-14 shooting, missing all six of his threes.

Howard dominated in the second quarter, making six dunks. He also made three of four free throws, blocked a shot and got a steal.

In the first half, the Lakers held the Mavericks to 30.4% shooting, and Doncic made two of seven shots. Dallas went nearly three full minutes in the second quarter without scoring.

The Lakers pulled away in the third quarter. They shot 60% and led by as many as 17.

Still, the Mavericks would not let the Lakers blow them out. Not until a minute and a half remained in the game did the Lakers feel comfortable enough to sit James.

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