The Dallas Mavericks managed to barely squeak past the Los Angeles Lakers with a 104-101 victory, despite fumbling a 20-point lead in the last quarter. Wednesday night at Staples Center showcased Kyrie Irving's ice-cool nerves as he sank a decisive 3-pointer with just 22 seconds left on the clock.
The fourth quarter was a roller coaster for the Mavericks, who at one point seemed to summarily have the game in the bag. They had roared into the final quarter with a commanding 91-71 lead, only to almost give it away as the Lakers charged back. According to NBC Los Angeles, Dallas missed a staggering 16 of their 19 shots in the fourth quarter, opening the door for a Lakers comeback spearheaded by LeBron James, who scored 16 of his 26 points in what nearly became a stunning reversal.
It was a game where every basket counted, and missed opportunities loomed large. "We had a shot to win the game," Anthony Davis ruefully reflected on the Lakers' effort as he, together with the rest of his team, watched a potential triumph slip through their fingers. His lament was echoed in an interview obtained by ABC7, where he added, "We got back in it with our defense in the fourth quarter, and [we] made some big-time shots... We don't celebrate moral victories, but we're a resilient team that will be fighting 'til the end."
Even as James strove to stage a rescue, the weight of the games played over the last stretch of nine days seemed to drag upon the Lakers' heels, along with numerous injuries plaguing the roster. Irving unflinchingly delivered the final blow with his fourth 3-pointer of the night. Mavericks' coach, Jason Kidd, was all praise for his clutch players. "When you have quarterbacks like Luka and Ky, trust is high," he stated in an interview as described by NBC Los Angeles.