Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic reacts to a call during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Dallas, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

DALLAS – Luka Doncic is racking up minutes with fellow All-Star Kyrie Irving sidelined with a foot injury.

When his back cooperates, Tim Hardaway Jr. feels the responsibility to rack up points when Irving isn't there.

Doncic had 33 points and 17 assists, Hardaway scored a season-high 32 points, and the Dallas Mavericks beat Los Angeles 127-125 on Tuesday night in the Lakers' first game since winning the season's first tournament. of the NBA.

Anthony Davis finished with 37 points and 11 rebounds, while LeBron James had 33 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, ending the Lakers' season-best four-game winning streak. LA erased a 15-point deficit early in the third quarter to set up an entertaining finish.

Dante Exum scored a season-high 26 points with a career-high seven 3-pointers on nine attempts, going 5 of 7 in the fourth quarter to help the Mavs stay ahead. Austin Reaves had 22 for the Lakers.

Playing a night after back spasms caused him to suffer a late injury at Memphis, Hardaway performed well in Irving's second game since injuring his foot. He was 10-of-21 from the field, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range and 7-of-8 on free throws.

“Knowing how they’re defending Luka, I had to just try to put a stamp on the game,” said Hardaway, who had missed three of the previous five games with back problems. “When any shooter has some kind of daylight and you see the first shot go up and go in, the basket looks like an ocean.”

Grant Williams scored 19 points for Dallas in his return from a three-game absence due to a right knee injury, but the Mavericks were still without two starters, Irving and Derrick Jones Jr.

Dallas was without rotation players Josh Green (elbow) and Maxi Kleber (toe), and Seth Curry joined them when he was ruled out at halftime with an ankle injury.

Doncic recorded his eighth consecutive 30-point game in his third straight game of at least 40 minutes. The four-time All-Star hasn't done that since the 2021 playoffs.

Doncic, 24, played the entire second half last night to help Dallas hold on for a 120-113 win at Memphis, then played 23 of the first 24 minutes against the Lakers.

The only real rest came late in the third quarter, when the six-point lead disappeared, and he still had enough to put up eight points and six assists in the fourth quarter, finishing at 43 minutes a night after playing 44.

“I don’t know how I played,” Doncic said. “Today I slept very little and everything hurts. I'm getting old. But we got two wins in a row, which is incredible, especially against a team like the Lakers.”

The Lakers took their first lead since early in the first quarter with Davis' first three-pointer since Oct. 29 for a 95-93 lead with 0.1 seconds left in the third.

Doncic and James traded go-ahead plays and tied the score twice midway through the quarter before James was called for an offensive foul. Doncic's 14th assist resulted in an Exum 3-pointer for a five-point lead.

The Mavs, who won for the fourth straight time, led by five before James hit a 3 at the buzzer for the final margin as Dallas held on for the second night in a row. The Lakers had two days off after their NBA Cup victory over Indiana in Las Vegas.

The Lakers were down by three in the final minute when Exum hit a 3. A first, in the fourth minute, came when Doncic got past one L.A. defender and through the hands of another.

“It was definitely impactful,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said of Exum’s second-highest scoring game behind a 28-point outing for Cleveland nearly four years ago. “In trying to put extra bodies in front of Luka, you decide who you’re going to play a little harder with, but these guys are professionals.”

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Lakers: In San Antonio on Wednesday to end a back-to-back in the first game of a back-to-back against the Spurs, who just set a franchise record with their 17th straight loss.

Mavericks: Minnesota at home on Thursday.



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