LeBron James made a tiebreaking free throw with 2.1 seconds left, and the Los Angeles Lakers held on for a 114-113 win over the visiting Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.
The Mavericks tied the score after trailing by 19 points in the third quarter and by 14 points in the last four minutes of the game.
After James hit 1 of 2 free throws to restore Los Angeles’ lead, Dallas’ J.J. Barea missed a desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
James scored 14 of his 29 points in the third quarter as all five starters scored in double figures for Los Angeles, which ended a two-game skid. Kyle Kuzma scored 18 points for the Lakers, Brandon Ingram had 17 and JaVale McGee finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds for his first double-double in 18 months.
Wesley Matthews scored 21 points to lead the Mavericks, who lost their fifth straight. Harrison Barnes added 19 points, and Barea had 15 points and 10 assists off the bench.
The Lakers had a 14-point lead with 4:16 to play after James sank a layup. Dallas chipped away before Harrison Barnes sank a 3-pointer with 24.5 seconds left to cut the deficit to 112-111, and Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic scored off a drive to tie the score at 113-113 with 7.2 seconds remaining.
James was fouled away from the basket on the ensuing possession. He missed the first free throw but made the second.
Doncic came in averaging 20.4 points, tops among rookies, but didn’t score his first points until 4:50 left in the third quarter. He finished with 14 points and seven assists.
James made back-to-back 3-pointers early in the third quarter for a 76-64 lead, and the Lakers maintained a double-digit advantage the rest of the quarter.
The Lakers led by as many as 18 in the first half and shot 59.1 percent before taking a 66-59 advantage into intermission.
They built their 18-point lead while shooting 15-for-23 from the floor in the first quarter.
Los Angeles came into the day shooting 33 percent from 3-point distance, 23rd best in the NBA, but shot 6-for-9 in the first quarter before finishing 10-for-17 for the game.
Los Angeles took a 17-point advantage into the second quarter and traded baskets early on with Dallas before the Mavericks went on a 13-0 run to get within 46-42, but that was as close as they would get until the fourth quarter.
—Field Level Media