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No Anthony Davis, no problem as LeBron James and Lakers dominate Mavericks

With Anthony Davis dressed in a jacket and jeans while sitting on the Lakers bench, unable to play because of a bruised backside, a weary LeBron James was forced to lead the attack.

To make matters even more challenging for the Lakers, James and starting guard Avery Bradley were ill before entering Friday night’s game against NBA sensation Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.

Despite all that, the Lakers built a 22-point lead in the second quarter and rode a sterling performance by James to pull out an impressive 129-114 win before 20,542 fans. It was the final meeting of the regular season for the Western Conference contenders, with the Lakers winning three of four.

James came up three assists short of another triple-double, finishing with 35 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists. He played through flu-like symptoms, logging 32 minutes while shooting 14 for 25 from the field.

They Lakers also turned to Kyle Kuzma to start in place of Davis, and the third-year forward busted the Mavericks’ zone defense. Kuzma scored a season-high 26 points with six rebounds and two assists. He made nine of 22 shots and all six of his free throws.

Doncic had 25 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Tim Hardaway Jr. contributed 22 points and seven rebounds.

Davis sustained the injury in a hard fall against the New York Knicks during a win Tuesday night at Staples Center. He missed two games before this one, one with a shoulder injury against Golden State and one with an ankle injury against Indiana.

The Lakers finish the back-to-back game road trip on Saturday night at Oklahoma City, but Lakers coach Frank Vogel wasn’t willing to commit to having Davis in the lineup.

“He still has the injury and is not ready to play,” coach Frank Vogel said. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”

The Lakers ripped into the Mavericks’ defense from the start, scoring 45 points in the first quarter, a season high.

The Lakers continued their domination in the second quarter, dropping 79 points on the Mavericks by intermission, a season high for a half.

The Lakers promoted general manager Rob Pelinka to vice president of basketball operations, the team announced. He will remain the GM as well.

Pelinka, 50, joined the team as a first-time general manager in March 2017. People with knowledge of the promotion said Pelinka also received a contract extension.

Tim Harris, vice president of business operations, also received a contract extension. Terms of Harris’ and Pelinka’s extensions have not been disclosed.

UP NEXT

AT OKLAHOMA CITY

When: 5 p.m. PST, Saturday.

On the air: TV: Spectrum SportsNet; Radio: 710, 1330.

Update: The Thunder (22-16) have won eight of 10 and are a surprising seventh in the West. Oklahoma City has five players scoring in double figures, led by its trio of guards: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (19.8 points), Dennis Schroder (18.4 points) and Chris Paul (16.7 points, 6.4 assists).

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