A pair of the Dallas Mavericks’ ‘energy’ players had major contributions in the team’s sluggish 90-82 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night at American Airlines Center.
Zaza Pachulia had team highs of 18 points and 16 rebounds, and Dwight Powell (10 points, career-high 12 rebounds) came off the bench to register his second career double-double. Their efforts helped the Mavs finish this short homestand 2-0.
It was a huge shot and one of the biggest shots of the year.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle on a late shot from the corner by Zaza Pachulia
Having beaten the Lakers nine times in a row, the Mavs (5-4) now open a three-game road trip at 7 p.m. Saturday in Houston against the Rockets.
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But before they hit the road, the Mavs were singing the praises of Pachulia and Powell, their two centers who have steadily made solid contributions this season.
“Both of those guys are playing big on the inside,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Zaza’s position defense on some of these guys has been great; he’s been tremendous.
“Powell had a couple of big rebounds on the last couple of possessions, because in those situations, that’s where the ball, if it’s a miss, it gets kicked around and somebody gets a wide open 3. So coming up with those is big.”
When the game was still up for grabs, Pachulia left his imprint all over the court. The Mavs led 76-72 when Pachulia made four free throws, a jumper from the corner, and then he added another free throw that put Dallas ahead 86-82 with 45.8 seconds remaining.
“Zaza made a huge shot on the right baseline which was a read that [Deron] Williams made,” Carlisle said. “It was a huge shot and one of the biggest shots of the year.
“They [Pachulia and Powell] both do their job, which is to go out and play hard and keep the game simple and play within the system.”
After Pachulia’s last free throw, Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace each missed 3-point shots. Powell then grabbed a defensive rebound, was fouled, and made a pair of free throws.
Raymond Felton finished the scoring with two free throws with 14.8 seconds left.
Because the Lakers only play one game at AAC this season, this likely was Bryant’s final game in Dallas if he retires after this year. The NBA’s third all-time leading scorer had 19 points, five rebounds and six turnovers, and was 7-of-15 from the field.
L:akers forward Julius Randle finished with six points, 10 rebounds, four turnovers and was 2-of-9 from the field.
Bryant had eight points in the first quarter when the Lakers built a 19-9 lead. But the Mavs kept chipping away and eventually carried a 29-24 lead into the second period.
“Our energy guys had good numbers tonight as far a plus-minus,” Carlisle said. “We lacked energy early in the game and we picked it up and we did better as it went along.
“We weren’t shooting the ball well, so we had to make up for it with some grit. We had a lot of guys contribute in little ways to help us win.”
One of those players was small forward Chandler Parsons, who played parts of both halves in a game for the first time this season. Parsons finished his 18-minute outing with nine points on 4-of-6 shooting, and three rebounds.
“He’s going to look more comfortable,” Carlisle said. “He’s making strides, there’s no question about it. It’s not an easy deal for anybody. No one loves it, but we got to make the best of it, and he’s working hard, so he’s got to stick with it.”
The Mavs shot just 36.6 percent from the field, but their stingy defense held the one-win Lakers to 33 percent shooting.
“I think we’re making progress,” Carlisle said. “To be able to win ugly some nights, especially with a team with their kind of talent, is an important thing to be able to do.”